Vintage Fiesta

The history of Homer Laughlin China Company’s (HLC) Fiesta dinnerware is fascinating and complex. According to published accounts, it seems that much of the information about the Fiesta line has been gathered from many different sources, including the designer himself.

Fiesta was designed by Fredrick Rhead and the glazes used were developed by Dr. A.V. Bleninger and H.W. Thiemecke.

Fiesta was introduced at the Pottery and Glass Show in Pittsburgh, PA in January 1936. The original colors were Red, Cobalt (Blue), Green, Yellow, and Ivory and we call those the “original 5 colors”. Turquoise was added in 1937. Red was dropped in 1943 due to WWII and the government’s control of the supply of uranium oxide, one of the main ingredients in the red glaze. Many people think of this color as orange, but the official name is “red”.

So yes, it really is “Radioactive Red”. But don’t worry, your dishes won’t have a meltdown in the china cabinet.

The Fiesta colors in 1944 were now Turquoise, Cobalt (Blue), Green, Yellow, and Ivory.

In 1951, Cobalt (Blue), Green, and Ivory were discontinued and replaced with Chartreuse, Forest Green, Gray, and Rose. These four colors are referred to as the 50s colors.

And then, in 1959, Red was back – with substantially less uranium oxide in the mix. Chartreuse, Forest Green, Gray, and Rose were dropped in 1959 and the famous Medium Green was added to the line. This left Turquoise, Yellow, Medium Green, and Red as the remaining Fiesta colors until 1969 when all the colors except Red went out of production. Red remained in the Fiesta Ironstone line with newly introduced (1969) Antique Gold and Turf Green until 1972.

No Fiestaware was produced between the years 1973 and 1985. But for Fiesta’s 50th anniversary, the line was newly introduced on February 28, 1986. The new Fiesta is commonly called “Post ‘86” Fiesta.

It can be confusing to differentiate between the “old” Fiesta and the “new”. Some of the colors have the same name, for instance Yellow, Turquoise, and Cobalt (Blue) and many of the shapes are similar. The Post 86 markings are different and once a collector is aware of the shape changes, it is fairly easy to spot the new pieces.

At this time, we do not offer any Post ’86 Fiesta. We guarantee that any item we sell is true vintage Fiesta that dates to 1972 or earlier.

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