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Arabia factory steps


  • On 25th of November 1873 Rörstrand received a permission to establish a Finnish daughter company.
  • n October 1874 the factory was completed in Helsinki on a plot called Arabia, from which the company inherited its name.
  • he company produced undecorated earthenware, sanitary products and copperplate patterns dish sets (Fasaani 1876-1950). Designs and patterns came from Rörstrand.


  • In 1884 Arabia became nominally a Finnish company, but Rörstrand retained the majority of the shares.
  • The company started producing tiled stoves, porcelain and majolica pottery.


  • In 1893 Gustav Herlitz was appointed as the CEO. The first catalog in Finnish was published.
  • In 1896 architect Jac Ahrenberg was hired as an artistic advisor and Thure Öberg became the company's first artist. A sales exhibition was held with G.F. Stockman.
  • Several new copperplate patterns were produced.


  • In 1900 Arabia won the gold medal at the Paris World fair.
  • Arabia produced its own models of tiles stoves, vases and dish sets.
  • New items: multi-colored transfers in domestic ware and luster marbling in decorative objects.


  • In 1912 the first design competition was arranged, which was won by Eric O.W. Ehrström.
  • In 1916 Arabia became wholly Finnish owned company and Carl Gustaf Herlitz was appointed as the CEO. An extensive reform program was introduced and electricity was installed in the factory.
  • Sculptors Ville and Viivi Vallgren, Emil Cedecreutz and Bertil Nilsson designed porcelain statuettes.

  • In 1922 laboratory, first truck, the company started producing electrical insulators.
  • In 1923 Arabia acquired a porcelain factory in Turku, the shares of Arabia and Turku porcelain factories were sold to Arnhold Group until year 1927.
  • In 1927 Arabia acquired a porcelain factory in Lidköping and the majority of Rörstrand's shares.
  • In 1929 the world's longest tunnel kiln was built, which was 112 meters long, a once-firing method was introduced for sanitary - and house ware.
  • More artists, Friedl Holzer-Kjellberg, Svea Granlund, Olga Osol.


  • In 1932 Arabia sold all the shares of the factories in Sweden, Kurt Ekholm was hired as an art director.
  • New artists: Toini Muona, Aune Siimes, Michael Schilkin, Birger Kaipiainen.
  • In 1937 new factory was built, which included a new tunnel kiln, over 30.000 individual products. The company's art department made an international breakthrough at the Paris World Fair.
  • Several new designs and patterns including LB/EP and ML (Greta Lisa Jäderholm-Snellman in 1933 and 1935), AR-Sinivalko (Kurt Ekholm in 1935) and AS-Maisema (Reinhard Richter in 1936).


  • During 1942-1947 the factory on Hämeentie (street) was expanded (architects Erik and Elma Lindroos).
  • In 1942 the company started manufacturing rice porcelain (Friedl Holzer-Kjellberg).
  • In 1947 Wärtsilä Group acquired Arabia.
  • In 1948 Arabia Museum was opened.
  • New artists: Rut Bryk, Kaj Franck, Kaarina Aho, Ulla Procopé, Kyllikki Salmenhaara, Sakari Vapaavuori, Annikki Hovisaari, Raija Uosikkinen, Hilkka Säynäjärvi, Ritva Kaukoranta.
  • Olga Osolin became the lead of the Department of Industrial Art.


  • Arabia's artists won numerous prizes at the Milan Triennials in 1951, 1954 and 1957.
  • In 1950-1951 the factories started using oil in tunnel kilns and introduced open firing technique, In 1955 cast irons were installed in the kilns for sanitary porcelain.
  • In 1952 Kilta (Kaj Franck), which was launched 1953. A showroom and a store was opened at Esplanadi in Helsinki.
  • Other novelties: AR-Heini (Kaarina Aho/Raija Uosikkinen 1957), Liekki -dishes (Ulla Procopé 1958).
  • In 1959 the Department of Industrial Art was changed to Studio Department and Richard Lindh was appointed as the head of the department.
  • New artists: Liisa Hallamaa, Gunvor Olin-Grönqvist, Oiva Toikka, Francesca and Richard Lindh, Esteri Tomula, Brita Heilimi, several international guest artists.


  • In 1960 Birget Kaipainen's Helmilinnut received the Grand Prix at the Milan Triennial.
  • In 1956-1961 roller-molding machines for plates were installed.
  • In 1967 fully automated molding units for cups were installed.
  • Household range included stoneware.
  • New arrivals: Ruska and Valencia (Ulla Procopé 1960), Palapeli (Kaarina Aho 1963), SN-flower pots (Richard Lindh 1964).
  • GB restaurant dish sets (Göran Bäck 1968).
  • In 1967 Birget Kaipiainen's Orvokkimeri participated the Montreal World Fair.
  • Copper printing was discontinued, screen-printing was started.
  • New artists: Heljä Liukko-Sundström, Inkeri Leivo, Anja Jaatinen-Winquist, Peter Winquist, numerous guest artists.


  • In 1971 sanitary porcelain manufacturing was relocated to Tammisaaren Posliini.
  • In 1971-1977 Arabia's trademark was used by Nuutajärven Lasi and Järvenpään Emali.
  • Between 1974-1977 Arabia collaborated with Rörstrand using the name Oy Arabia Rörstrand, corporate restructuring, Arabia concentrated on manufacturing stoneware.
  • 1976, an annual plate (Raija Uosikkinen until year 1999)
  • In 1979 a new kiln-hall was put into service, which included two tunnel kilns, Francesca Lindh: Elämänpuu
  • New dishware: BK-Paratiisi (Birger Kaipiainen 1970), M-Karelia (Anja Jaatinen Winquist 1970), EH-Faenza (Peter Winquist 1973), Tea for Two (Gunvon Olin-Grönqvist 1978).
  • New artists: Paul Envalds, Pauli Partanen.


  • 1981-1983 new chamber and decorating kilns.
  • In 1984 Wärtsila acquired Rörstrand, Arabia's museum and gallery were opened for the public.
  • 1985, Rut Bryk's Kevään tulo Pohjolaan -wall art piece for the New Delhi embassy.
  • 1988 first Pro Arte - collection.
  • 1989 Arabia Cultural Foundation was founded, dry-press process for plate manufacturing.
  • New products: Arctica (Inkeri Leivo 1980), Tuuli (Heljä Liukko-Sundström 1983), Saaristo (Inkeri Leivo 1985), Microset (Göran Bäck 1986), Teema (Kaj Franck 1987), Domino (Kati Tuominen/Pekka Paikkari 1987), Harlekin (Inkeri Leivo 1989).
  • New artists: Kati Tuominen, Pekka Paikkari, Dorrit von Fieandt, Fujiwo Ishimoto, Kristina Riska.
  • Guest artists: Rudy Autio, Howard Smith, Minni Lukander, Jun Kaneko.


  • 1990 Hackman acquired Arabia.
  • Pressure casting was introduced in 1993.
  • In 1995 Kristina Riska's installation in the Washington Embassy.
  • In 1996 bone china was taken back to manufacturing.
  • New arrivals: Savoie (Camilla Moberg 1991), Moreeni (Heikki Orvola 1992), Storybirds (Kati Tuominen 1993), 24h (Heikki Orvola 1996).
  • In 1998 Arabia celebrated its 125th birthday.
  • Pekka Paikkari was awarded at the Faenza Biennial.
  • New Arrivals: Illusia (Heikki Orvola/Fujiwo Ishimoto), EgO (Stefan Lindfors), ABC (Pekka Harni).
  • In 1999 Kati Tuominen won the first prize at the Mino international ceramics competition.


  • In 2003 the company was named as Iittala oy ab, Arabia's Art Department was separated from the factory's organization as its own independent Arabia Art Association ry.
  • In 2004 the current executive team and an international investment company became the new owners.
  • New artist: Heini Riitahuhta
  • Guest artists: Kim Simonsson, Heikki Rahikainen, Caroline Slotte.
  • New arrivals: Koko (Kristina Riska/Kati Tuominen-Niittylä), Nero (Pekka Harni), Oma (Harri Koskinen), Aika (Heikki Orvola).
  • In 2007 Fiskars acquired Iittala Group.