Jean Mantelet, 90, the French industrialist who vowed to free women from cooking chores and who, beginning with a potato masher, built a giant industrial complex. Mantelet became famous overnight in France 58 years ago when he invented a machine to help his wife mash potatoes. The masher proved an instant hit and Mantelet founded Moulinex, one of the world’s most successful household appliance companies with sales of $1 billion a year and 12,000 employees. He coined the slogan “Moulinex frees women” and launched a range of electrical appliances to grind, chop, mince and slice. The company later produced hair dryers and vacuum cleaners. In the United States, Moulinex bombarded the television airwaves with fast-talking pitchmen to promote its appliances. In Paris on Monday.