The history of the “Manufacture de céramiques décoratives de Hasselt” begins in 1893 with an attempt to start a porcelain factory in Hasselt. After the disastrous and quick ending of this experiment, some shareholders of this short-lived company, together with a few local distillers, took the opportunity to start a new ceramics factory in the same premises. The key to success was the arrival of an experienced ceramist from Brussels called Henry Baudoux. Baudoux himself was in search for opportunities to enlarge his production capacity and brought to Hasselt not only the knowledge, but also the tools and the necessary moulds.
It was 1895, a year the Art Nouveau grew to maturity in our country. The Hasselt factory immediately grabbed the opportunity and created a large assortment of decorative ceramics of an exceptional quality in that new style using “drip glazes”.
The factory developed different sorts of products: next to decorative ceramics, also building ceramics (decorative tiles, tile panels, glazed bricks and architectural ornaments of all sorts) and a selection of promotional ceramics. An important part of the production was reserved for the local distilleries. An attempt was also made to produce household ceramics but these met with little success so this production line was soon abandoned.
When Art Deco became popular, the general public lost gradually its interest in products in the Art Nouveau style and production of decorative ceramics became minimal after the First World War. During the Second World War, the production was probably negligible. In the inter war period only a few decorative products were continued. The factory had completely switched to the production of building ceramics. The many deliveries to steel factories in the region of Liège and in the North of France and to the different mining companies in the province of Limburg in which the walls of sanitary installations were totally covered with tiles from the Hasselt factory, are proof of a huge production.