Le Creuset was founded in 1925 by Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq, who built their cast-iron cookware foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France, where Le Creuset casseroles, sauciers, and soup pots are still cast in wet sand today. Though not the first manufacturer to coat cast iron with a porcelain enamel glaze, Le Creuset was the first to popularize this technique for cookware, largely through the introduction of color. From the beginning, orange, or Flame, was the company’s signature color, said to echo the hue of molten cast iron in the cauldron, or creuset. The first sand-cast shapes included cocottes, which are known variously as French ovens and Dutch ovens.
After World War II, Le Creuset began exporting its wares to the United States and other countries. In 1958, Raymond Loewy, who designed everything from Lucky Strike cigarette packaging to locomotives for the Pennsylvania Railroad, created the angular Coquelle French oven for Le Creuset. Though notable now, the design was not as popular as the basic round lidded pot, which is still in production. More enduring was the 1972 redesign of the cocotte handles by Italian designer Enzo Mari.