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Arabia history


Rörstrand got a permission to establish a daughter company in Finland on 25.11.1873 and  Arabia’s first factory buildings were erected in 1874.


TArabia’s first factory buildings, for the manufacture of porcelain, earthenware and other types of pottery, were erected in 1874 on a plot of land carrying the same name on the northern outskirts of Helsinki. Production started in the Arabia porcelain factory in October 1874.


In 1881, Gustav Herlitz from Rörstrand was appointed technical director of the factory, and he became Arabia’s managing director in 1893.


Arabia factory became a limited company, Arabia Aktiefabrik, with 90% of the shares being retained by Rörstrand. The rapid ”boom and bust” cycle of the late 1880s did not stop the factory from growing and developing.


A product range exclusive to Arabia was slowly taking shape and Arabia started the production of its own models of tiled stoves, vases and sets of tableware. Arabia’s collection was awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1900.


Rörstrand sold the entire share capital to Finnish buyers. Arabia's new director, Carl Gustaf Herlitz, drew up a programme of fundamental reform for the production facility, which was begun in 1919.


Herlitz's son, Gustaf, Carl-Gustaf Herlitz and CEO. 


Arabia acquired Teknillinen Posliinitehdas Oy, a factory in Turku where Arabia’s insulator production was later centralised.


The majority of shares are sold to a German Arnhold Group. 


Arabia’s share capital was successfully repatriated in 1927 in a deal which also saw the shares of the Swedish porcelain factory Lidköping and those of Arabia’s original parent company Rörstrand passing to Arabia, who held on to them until 1932.


Arabia illustrated progressive thinking in appointing an artistic director for the factory. Kurt Ekholm was appointed in 1932.  He built up Arabia’s renowned Art Department, but also influenced the design of utility ware by introducing new international trends.


The factory moves to Wärtsilä Corporation's ownership, elected following the resignation of Herlitz, President and CEO of the DI Gunnar Ståhle. 


The manufacture of sanitary porcelain was transferred to Tammisaaren Posliini in 1971. In the period 1971-1977, the Arabia trademark was also used by Nuutajärven Lasi (Nuutajärvi Glass) and Järvenpään Emali (Järvenpää Enamel).


Arabia was acquired by Hackman in 1990, which made Arabia one of the trademarks owned by Hackman Group. The other trademarks were Iittala, Hackman, Nuutajärvi and Rörstrand. In the 1990s, Arabia design was awarded numerous different prizes globally.


At the beginning of ALI Group to buy the Hackman Group, later the same year, the Iittala Group is sold to senior management and private equity AND AMRO Capital. 


The senior management and ABN AMRO Capital's ownership is in force until 2007, when the owner of the Iittala Group in 1649, Fiskars Corporation. 


- You can also check what Arabia dishes we have for sale currently.