In 1584 the first potters established themselves in the Dutch town of Delft. In just over fifty years, these potters had secured a reputation for excellence and the city of Delft had become famous as the place of characteristic blue-and-white earthenware. The industry flourished for a time, but with success came competition. By 1725 the Delft industry had begun to decline and many potters went broke. By the latter part of the 19th century only one earthenware factory survived in Delft: De Porceleyne Fles (the Porcelain Bottle). And today, this factory, established in 1653, still produces the famous blue Delftware.
The Porceleyne Fles has not escaped difficulty over the years. The factory was already experiencing problems when Joost Thooft became its owner in 1876. In order to revive the factory as a major producer of earthenware, he experimented with new shapes, new decorations and new glazes. In producing beautiful, porcelain objets d'Art, dinner-services and tiles, Thooft transformed the market. With his guidance, and the designs of his artistic advisor, Adolf le Comte, De Poceleyne Fles became a success once again, not only with the classical Delft earthenware but also with completely new products. Joost Thooft teamed up with Abel Labouchere in 1884.