Founded in 1881 by Swedish glassblower Petrus Magnus Abrahamsson, Iittala initially hired Swedish workers and became known for its high quality wares. The A. Ahlström firm acquired the Karhula and Iittala glass factories in 1915 and 1917 respectively, after which the combined company became known as Karhula-Iittala. During the 1930s, the firm sponsored design competitions, two of them won by the modernist architects (and husband and wife) Alvar and Aino Aalto. In 1946, Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala won the company’s glass design competition, and subsequently became its chief designer, helping the firm, and modern Scandinavian design, gain international kudos in the post-war years. Major designers... more.