Petrus Regout (1801-1878) descended from a Maastricht merchant family that since the seventeenth century had been active in the glass and earthenware trade. After his father's death Petrus had to leave school at the age of fourteen to help his mother in the business. In 1836 he founded the pottery that was to flourish. In addition to being a versatile and energetic entrepreneur, Regout was a member of the Senate (Eerste Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament and the author of a number of brochures on social and economic issues.
When Petrus Regout died in 1878 his sons continued his industrial activities. The eldest, also called Petrus (Pierre), was to become notorious for his performance before the inquiry committee surveying the working conditions in the Dutch industry in 1887. His hard and cynical statements about the working conditions in his own factories shocked many people. About boys working night shifts in the glassworks, he remarked: "Oh well, I know that students sometimes don't go to bed at all, without falling ill as a result."
Father and son Regout have often been confused, contributing to the vilification of Petrus Sr. in the course of the twentieth century. While in 1905 his statue was still carried around town on a float, by the thirties Regout had become the personification of the capitalist exploitation of the working classes.
Although in contemporary historiography a balanced view of Regout Sr. prevails, with him being portrayed as a child of his time, even in 1993 it proved politically infeasible to name a street after him in the prestigious new Maastricht housing estate Céramique.