François Boch and his three sons set up a pottery company in the village of Audun le Tiche in the Duchy of Lorraine (now in France) in 1748.
In 1766, one of François’ sons, Pierre-Joseph, received authority from Empress Maria Theresia of Austria to set up a “Manufacture Impériale et Royale” in nearby Luxembourg to manufacture porcelain.
In 1809, Jean-François Boch, François’ grandson, bought a former Benedictine abbey in Mettlach, in Germany, and set up an extensively mechanised system of tableware production. In the 1820’s, Jean-François, developed a type of earthenware which was bright white and extremely hard. It looked like porcelain but could be supplied considerably cheaper.
In 1791, Nicholas Villeroy and two partners had purchased a faience manufactory at Wallerfangen in the Duchy of Lorraine (now in Germany). In 1797, Nicholas Villeroy became the sole owner. Villeroy was one of the first ceramics manufacturers to use coal as fuel.
In 1836, the Jean François Boch company merged with that of Nicolas Villeroy to became Villeroy & Boch. The new company made tiles and fine plumbing fixtures, as well as tableware. In 1843, they expanded their range to glasses designed to accompany their crockery. By the 1890s the company had become the supplier of crockery to may of Europe’s ruling houses and of architectural products to famous building including the Bolshoi Theatre and Cologne Cathedral.
In the 1920s and 30s, Villeroy and Boch produced crockery in the Art Deco style and in the 1960s colourful tableware, increasingly aimed at export to America and Asia, as well as Europe.