Haviland Porcelain was founded in 1842 by an American dinnerware merchant. David Haviland was working in New York at a company that imported English and French china. One day, a customer brought him a broken tea cup to match, and he was struck by the quality and color of the old porcelain piece. Filled with curiosity, he went to France to find the factory where the cup had been made. He placed several orders, but he was not satisfied with the design of the finished products. In 1841, he moved to Limoges to set up his own factory. Limoges was one of the only places in the world where the natural clay (or "kaolin") to make china could be found.
Traditional French dinnerware was usually produced in Limoges and sent to Paris for decoration. Haviland insisted on setting up a studio within his factory to have more control over the designs. This began a period of great innovation in Limoges porcelain. Renowned artists, including Cocteau, Dali, and Kandinsky have played a role in the company's designs.
In time, Haviland became one of the premier names in French porcelain dinnerware, sought by collectors all over the world. Clients have included the White House, Empress Eugenie, General de Gaulle, Jacques Chirac, the Emperor of Japan, and the Royal Court of Morocco. Today, Haviland continues to be prized for its classic and modern designs.