Product Information - Maastricht Ceramics
Maastricht was the first city in the Netherlands where the industrial revolution took hold. Maastricht ceramics were an important industrial product. In the first half of the eighteenth century, Englishman Josiah Wedgwood succeeded in producing ceramics that were whiter and harder than ever before. To achieve this he used a type of clay dug from near the granite cliffs of Cornwall and Devon. Mass production was made possible by the use of plaster moulds. In the nineteenth century, factories emerged in Europe which produced cheap ceramics based on the English examples. Such factories also opened in Maastricht. The ceramics industry figuratively and literally served as a ‘garrison and stronghold’ here, providing the city with centuries of employment. The ceramics manufacturing process and the art of ceramics ornamentation flourished here for over a century.
Members of the Regout family have been active in Maastricht as pipe makers and pottery and porcelain dealers for centuries. Carolus Regout settled on Boschstraat in the late seventeenth century, where the first factory would be founded by Petrus Regout in 1834. This was initially a crystal cutting and polishing workshop. Petrus Regout bought a steam engine in 1834 and, in the following years, opened a nail factory, a ceramics factory, a glass factory, a rifle factory and a gas factory. All of these initiatives made him the first large-scale industrialist in the Netherlands.
The ceramics factory that Petrus Regout established in 1836 became one of the biggest ceramics producers in the world. Regout originally produced bowls and plates made from soft white ceramics. Around 1850 he succeeded in matching Wedgwood’s hard white product. After his death in 1878 his four sons continued to run the company, but now as a corporation under the name Petrus Regout & Co. The image of the recumbent Sphinx was also introduced at this time and the name of the company was changed to De Sphinx in 1899. After merging with Société Céramique, the N.V Sphinx-Céramique company produced the last ceramics on Boschstraat in 1969. De Sphinx, now Royal Sphinx , currently focuses only on producing tiles, bathroom fixtures and other side products.
In 1851 Société Céramique was founded by Maastricht native W.N Clermont and his brother-in-law C. Chainaye. This factory would become a major competitor of De Sphinx. Société Céramique produced sturdy and high-quality domestic ceramics combined with artistic design. The company thrived for many years after 1945. Thus it came as a surprise to many when the company merged with their archrival De Sphinx in 1958. Production of domestic ceramics on the grounds of the former Société Céramique came to an end in 1963.
In 1853 the industrialist N.A. Bosch established a ceramics factory in Wijck. After a fire and the death of the owner in 1866, however, the company was not rebuilt. Few of pottery factory N.A. Bosch products have survived. Known are a few bowls and plates of earthenware with blue or lilac transfer sets with Arcadian scenes in typical Victorian style of the mid-19th century.
Disputes arose among the directors of De Sphinx, which led to one of Petrus Regout’s sons, Louis, establishing a factory of his own in Meerssen in 1883. The company, which would later be renamed Mosa, focussed on the production of porcelain and was therefore not in competition with De Sphinx initially. Mosa porcelain sets are still popular items to collect in the Netherlands.
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