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Iittala started in 1881 when a glass factory was established in a village of the same name in southern Finland. In its early years Iittala produced blown, pressed, polished, painted and etched glass according to continental models. In the early 20th century dinnerware was heavily decorated, Iittala was one of the first companies to make the transition from decorative dinner sets to functional, aesthetically pleasing objects infused with progressive Scandinavian design. The breakthrough came in the early years of modernism and functionalism during the 1930s and 40s. At that time it was pioneers like Alvar Aalto, Aino Aalto and Kaj Franck who led the development of the Iittala brand. Their belief was that objects should always be designed with thought and should be available to everyone. Iittala still believes this and that quality design never goes out of fashion and their current collection includes not only new pieces but also items that have been made continuously for more than 80 years.