Known for its vibrant colors and ribbed edges, Fiesta® Dinnerware graced many a table in the midcentury and on until today.
Fiesta traces its origins to a parent company founded by two brothers, Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin. Their ambitions turned entrepreneurial rather than literary, and in 1871, the two started a business producing ceramic dinnerware in East Liverpool, Ohio. Shakespeare left the company in 1877, but Homer continued the business—which is why the company bears the name the Homer Laughlin China Company. According to company historian Dave Conley, the company became a major producer of ceramic dinnerware within its first 20 years of existence.
After Homer’s retirement, the company continued to enjoy success and accompanying expansion. By 1920, it became the largest pottery producer in the world. In 1936, the company introduced its most famous, and perhaps most beloved, line, Fiesta® Dinnerware.
Fiesta’s distinctive ribbed design, “is made of various types of clay, being formed in plaster molds or by automatic forming machines, then fired in kilns at temperatures of nearly 2,400 degrees. The ribbed design, or ‘rings’ are carved into the original block molds by hand, and then transferred to production molds.”
Several designs produced beginning in the 1940s are still in production, such as the 10” Medium Vase, Large Disk Pitcher, Sauceboat, Bud Vase, Tripod Candleholder, and Salt & Pepper Shakers. Some are slightly smaller due to changes in the firing methods.
If you collect vintage Fiesta ware, Dave notes, “Since Fiesta® was introduced before microwave ovens existed, we don’t recommend microwaving vintage Fiesta® or any other semi-vitreous dinnerware.”
For identifying vintage Fiesta ware, Dave advises, “The most accurate method of differentiating Vintage Fiesta® from the modern product is by identifying the colors. Some of the shapes have changed over time, but other items have remained unchanged for more than 75 years.”
To learn more on caring for vintage Fiesta ware, visit alwaysfestive.com.
Fun fact: Fiesta ware has recently appeared on the cover of Atomic Ranch. Do you know which one? (Click here to find out.)