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Fiesta® by The Fiesta® Tableware Company
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It would be very difficult to find a line more collected and recognized than Fiesta. It has become so familiar to the general public that when any line of solid colored dinnerware is encountered by a non-collector, he or she almost always calls it Fiesta when it may have not even been made by Homer Laughlin. Both vintage (1936-1973) and contemporary (1986-present) Fiesta have become part of American popular culture. Since so much has been written about it over the years with entire volumes dedicated to the subject, only the initial development will be covered here.

The first piece modeled was a 9-inch "Ring Plate for Colored Glazes" in February 1935. The name "Fiesta" would not be applied to the new line for several months. Interestingly, this shape was immediately accepted as the basic design for the flatware. With the development of lines of dinnerware, multiple designs of plates were often sketched, modeled, and after being reviewed, were subject to either being rejected or put into production. In Fiesta's case, there was very little debate as to its design. The second piece was listed as a "Modern Ribbed Teacup and Handles." The body was the standard Fiesta teacup and four versions of handles were considered. All four were rejected in favor of the open ring handle which collectors know today.


The four teacup handle models with the stick handles for the demitasse cup and creamer

On March 2, 1935, designer Frederick Rhead notes making sketches of possible additions to the new shape including steins, a French casserole, sugar, creamer, and a covered onion soup. Some interesting shapes listed in the log that didn't make it into production include the "ringed shape casserole, one handle" and a cracked ice bowl.

There were several names considered for Fiesta. On April 1, 1935, Rhead notes working on various colored glazes and wrote in the margin, Notes on Rhumba Ware. Four days later on April 5, he listed the possible names in his journal and Fiesta wasn't even under consideration:

  • Park Lane
  • Rhapsody
  • Plaza
  • Faience
  • Tazza
  • Tazza Faience
  • Chalet Faience
On April 9, Rhead wrote about merchandising for the "Faience line." He then makes another entry on the 12th, "...name for colored glazes DASHE Faience."Rhead kept referring to the line as, "colored glaze line" rather than committing to the Faience name. On April 15, 1935, he notes the name Flamingo. The next time he calls the line Flamingo is on April 26: J. M. Wells went over shape program for Flamingo line.

Finally, on May 14, 1935, the name "Fiesta" is applied to the new shape and on the 17th Rhead noted making drawings for the Fiesta marking.


Frederick Rhead's original sketch of the Fiesta marking.
Courtesy the Homer Laughlin China Co.


Window display of Fiesta from early 1936.

Over the years the color assortment for Fiesta changed and some pieces have become more valuable in certain colors. Below is a table of the standard eleven colors with their dates of production. The four colors made from 1951-1959 are commonly called the "50s colors."

COLOR PRODUCTION DATES
Red 1936-1943, 1959-1973
Yellow 1936-1969
(Cobalt) Blue 1936-1951
(Light) Green 1936-1951
Old Ivory 1936-1951
Turquoise 1937-1969
Rose 1951-1959
Chartreuse 1951-1959
Gray 1951-1959
Forest Green 1951-1959
Medium Green 1959-1969



Fiesta 9" plates - with and without marking

Large teapot in red, medium teapot in turquoise


Carafe in Old Ivory

2-pt. jug in gray


Prototype French Casserole on display at HLC

11 3/4" Fruit bowl in cobalt


Experimental "Rose Ebony" glaze

Decaled Fiesta 9" plate

Egg cup in yellow


Forest green sugar (l) and Ironstone sugar (r)

Marmalades: Antique gold (l) and light green (r)


compartment plates in red and light green

Nested bowl lid in red


Decaled Fiesta chop plate


Fiesta Tablescape

1937 HLC advert with Fiesta

Left: Desert bowls in chartreuse, yellow, rose, light green, old ivory, medium green, turquoise, and forest green
Right: Demitasse pots in red and yellow, demitasse cups in cobalt and ivory, stick-handled creamer in turquoise, and a #1 nested bowl and lid in light green.
Left: Creamers in rose, cobalt, gray, and yellow
Right: Stick-handled and regular creamers in Fiesta® glazes
Left: 5 1/2" fruit bowls, dessert bowl, cups and saucers, 9" plate, individual salad bowl, and platter in medium green Right" Sugars, stick creamers, and trays in the first six colors.
Left: Water and juice tumblers with Harlequin shakers in a donkey frame (originally designed for Tupperware shakers)
Right: 12" flower vase in light green, sweets compote in turquoise, egg cup in ivory, #1 nested bowl in red, and a #4 nested bowl in yellow
Left: Sauceboats in turquoise, gray, brown (from Amberstone), turf green (from Ironstone), red, light green, old ivory, and cobalt
Right: Sweets compotes in yellow, old ivory, cobalt, turquoise, red, and light green
Left: Ashtrays in brown (from Amberstone), yellow, turquoise, and light green
Right: Amberstone coffee server, regular coffeepots in turquoise and ivory, demitasse pots in yellow and red
Left: Red bulb candlesticks and an ivory comport
Right: Turf green from Fiesta Ironstone; sauceboat and stand, 10" plate, covered sugar, creamer, and serving bowl
Left: Ice pitcher in cobalt, disc pitcher in light green, and stick-handled creamer in turquoise.
Right: Rose shaker, mug, disc pitcher, deep plate, juice tumbler, covered casserole, 4 3/4" fruit bowl, and a Harlequin individual salad bowl
Left: Gray creamer, covered casserole, 10" plate, deep plate, 4 3/4" fruit bowl, mug, teacup and saucer
Right: Yellow French casseroles
Left: Ice pitchers, creamers, carafes, and mugs
Right: Covered onion soup (l) and Covered sugar (r)
Left: Sugar and creamer in yellow, teacup and saucer in gray and forest green, water tumbler and 5 1/2" fruit bowl in turquoise, rose juice tumbler and mug, and medium teapot in chartreuse
Right: 9 1/2" nappy in yellow, 8 1/2" nappy in turquoise, disc pitcher in light green, Harlequin service jug in maroon, covered onion soup and syrup in red, and a creamer in gray



Vintage store dispaly for Fiesta.
From the research files of Jo Cunningham


Assortment of Items:
Original six: red, yellow, old ivory, blue (cobalt), light green, and turquoise Original six plus rose, gray,
chartreuse, and forest green
All eleven glazes
  • 12" Flower vase
  • 10" Flower vase
  • 8" Flower vase
  • Demitasse coffeepot
  • Teapot, large
  • Carafe
  • Ice pitcher
  • Bud vase
  • Tripod Candlestick
  • Bulb Candlestick
  • Marmalade
  • Mustard
  • Footed salad bowl
  • 11 3/4" Fruit bowl
  • Nested bowls
  • Dripcut syrup
  • Covered onion soup
  • Relish tray
  • Comport
  • Sweets compote
  • 9 1/2" nappy
  • Water tumbler
  • Utility tray
  • Coffeepot
  • Egg cup
    (At least one exists in medium green)
  • 2-pt jug
  • 15" Chop plate
  • 10 1/2" Compartment plate
  • Demitasse cup and saucer
  • Teapot, medium
  • Disc pitcher
  • Sauceboat
  • Covered sugar
  • Regular creamer
  • Shakers
  • 13" chop plate
  • Platter
  • 10" plate
  • 9" plate
  • 7" plate
  • 6" plate
  • Teacup
  • Saucer
  • 6" Dessert bowl
  • 5 1/2" Fruit bowl
  • 4 3/4" Fruit bowl
  • Covered casserole
  • Cream soup cup
  • Deep plate
  • 8 1/2" nappy
  • Tom & Jerry mug
  • Ashtray
  • French casserole, standard yellow, non-standard cobalt
  • Promotional (unlisted) salad bowl, standard yellow, non-standard cobalt and red
  • Figure-8 tray, cobalt and turquoise
  • Individual creamer, red and yellow
  • Individual sugar, yellow
  • Individual salad, yellow, turquoise, red, and medium green
  • 12" Compartment plate, yellow, red, ivory, cobalt, light green
  • Nested bowl lids (sizes 1-4 officially offered), yellow, red, ivory, cobalt, light green
  • Royal Metal Cake plate, red, yellow, ivory, cobalt, light green
  • Juice pitcher, yellow, red, Rhythm gray, Jubilee celadon green
  • Juice tumblers, yellow, red, light green, old ivory, turquoise, rose, Harlequin yellow, chartreuse, forest green, gray, and Jubilee pink, beige, and gray.

  • More Fiesta® Dinnerware web pages

    1936 Announcement

    Markings

    Store Display 1936

    Development Article 1936

    Dripcut Syrups

    1938 Ad

    1938 Kitchen Kraft

    1939 Ad

    1939 Ensemble

    1940 Ad


    1940 Ad with Lu-Ray Pastels

    1941 Ad

    1944 Price List

    1944 Catalog Ad

    1950 Price List

    1953 Price List


    1954 Advert

    1968 Price List

    1969 Ironstone

    1986 Reintroduction

    1986 Article

    1986 Ad

    1988 Ad

    Willow Compartment Plate

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