Founded in 1881 by Swedish glassblower Petter Magnus Abrahamsson, Iittala was initially staffed by Swedish workers and became known for its high quality wares. In 1915 and 1917 respectively, the Ahlström firm acquired the Karhula and Iittala glassworks, and the company became known as karhula-Iittala. By the 1930s, karhula-Iittala sponsored design competitions, two won by the husband and wife modernist architects/designers, Alvar and Aino Aalto. The company became the largest utility and art glass producer in Finland. Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala won its 1946 competition, and subsequently became chief designer at the company, helping the firm, and modern Scandinavian design, gain international... more.