1904. Marseille. Félix ROFRITSCH, Master Mariner, refuses to return to Alsace, his birthplace, in the hands of the Germans since 1871. He decides to make the Phocaean city his home, with its large commercial port which he knows well. He opens a boutique in the Rue des Fabres, in the center of Marseille, where he sells what were called at the time “articles from Paris”. He also makes an item typically marseillais: boules! There are in wood, and covered with nails which Félix puts in one by one. He makes only 2 pairs a day, but at this time boules don’t yet arouse the enthusiasm that they will starting in 1910, with the first official pétanque contest !
It is 1925, with the invention of the bronze/brass boule. The Rofritsch boules are already spoken about under the shade of the plane trees, at apéro hour. The business expands, and buys a new smelter. In 1937, Félix’s two sons join the business: Fortuné and Marcel. It is they who create, in 1947, the first boule made of Swedish tempered carbon steel. It’s an alloy, with blue hues caused by the heat treatment, and tempering. This feature attracts attention to Rofritsch boules where ever they are played. The Rofritsch society naturally takes on the name La Boule Bleue (The Blue Boule), and moves to a new, spacious location, near the Saint Charles train station.
BOULES THAT WIN
La Boule Bleue stays there until 1974, when they yet again need more space and move to the east of Marseille. In the meantime in 1960, Maurice, Marcel’s son, joins the business. La Boule Bleue continues to innovate, and in 1961 creates their first boules in stainless steel, and their first annealed boules in 1963. Numerous champions, such as Lovino, Locatelli, and Charly de Gémenos prefer them to other brands. It must be said that the Boule Bleue boules are the only ones to have a 5 year guarantee (proof of their robustness and reliability), and give to major players and amateurs alike what they’re looking for: the win!
Hervé Rofritsch, the 4th generation, is at the head of the company, which he joined in 1994. Just like his father Maurice, he is very attached to their artisanal quality: Boule Bleue boules are the only ones made in Marseille, and the family factory. Proud to have been alongside his father in 2004 to celebrate the centennial of the company, he continues the tradition of quality and made to measure boules played on terrains worldwide.