The ceramic industry has played a prominent role in the economic development of Maastricht. Its pioneer was Petrus Regout, who in 1836 founded a modern, mechanised earthenware factory which - from 1899 onwards under the name of Sphinx - grew into the most important pottery in Maastricht. Justified or not, the name of Petrus Regout is still emotionally charged because of its association with capitalist exploitation of the workers.
In Regout's wake other entrepreneurs tried to get their share of the growing interest in earthenware products. The first followers were Winand Clermont and Charles Chainaye, who started a pottery in 1851 that was to become known as Société Céramique.
The smaller potteries of Nicolaas Bosch and Frederik Regout were granted only a short existence. The porcelain and tile factory established by Louis Regout in 1883 later transformed into Mosa.
On the eve of the First World War, Maastricht was a veritable ceramics town. The potteries' products found their way to every corner of the globe. In 1913, the peak year of the Maastricht potteries, they employed about 7000 people. This number comprised almost 70% of the town's total industrial employment. In the following period the companies ran into difficulties, finally resulting in a number of mergers after the Second World War. The most important of these was the merger of Sphinx and Société Céramique in 1958.
In 1969 the Maastricht potteries decided to terminate the production of household earthenware.