Jade by Homer Laughlin
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In early spring of 1931, the art department at Homer Laughlin began producing a triangular shaped line. By March, a triangle plate, cup, and saucer were modeled and samples were made, however, development on the new shape stopped soon after. With the success of Century and similar square shapes by other potteries, it was decided to instead create a second square shape.

The Jade shape was first produced in late 1931. It was developed along with the "Clair de lune" glaze - a special vellum glaze with a green cast. In August of 1931, after vacationing in Toronto, Frederick Rhead notes in his journals on checking up on the "square shape." A definite design and name hadn't been decided upon, but by mid-August, it was determined that the shape should be simply a convex square shape with narrow rim. Before modeling actually began on any of the shapes, trials were being made of the Clair de lune glaze. Pieces from other lines were given the special color, but none of the samples were acceptable. It would take two more months and several more tests until Clair de lune was perfected.

After the initial tests for Clair de lune, Rhead made sketches of the various shapes. Development of the new line was put on hold for almost two weeks while work temporarily shifted to another new shape, Ravenna.

In early September 1931, the name "Jade" was being used to refer to the line and Rhead had finished several sketches. These were then turned over to Al Kraft for modeling. The first pieces made were the 9" plate, teacups, and sugars. Samples of these three pieces were made in the Clair de lune glaze and were approved by J. M. Wells in early November. With the general shapes and special glaze finally in place, production began and more items were added.

Jade was also made in the then one-year old Vellum glaze, however, at the Pittsburgh show in January of 1932, only Jade in Clair de lune was introduced to the public. Clair de lune, French for "moonlight," has a texture similar to vellum and in certain lighting even looks like the ivory glaze. Jade with Clair de lune was often advertised as, "moon light captured in dinnerware." The "moon ware" was obviously not well received. Records indicate that in 1932, it did have moderate success in terms of sales falling behind the best sellers of the year: Yellowstone Ivory, Yellowstone Vellum, Century Vellum, Ravenna, and Orleans. The company must have realized early that Clair de lune was not going to have the success they had anticipated. With the exception of few embossed OvenServe pieces, the Clair de lune glaze was not officially used on any other shape. During 1933, Jade Clair de lune was still being offered, but more attention was given to patterns on Jade Vellum. To the right is a Jade soup bowl in the Clair de lune glaze with the Minuet decoration. Behind it is a Yellowstone shape plate in vullum to show the difference between the two glazes.

The last time Rhead mentions altering any of the Jade shapes is in July of 1932 when he notes remodeling the dinner plate to have a circular center. To date, only square wells have been found so the circular version may have not been put into production.

By 1934, the clean and formal shape Jade was overshadowed by embossed lines such as Orleans, Virginia Rose, OvenServe, and Marigold and was eventually discontinued.

1932 trade advertisement for the Jade shape and Clair de Lune glaze.

Jade Vellum
batter jug

Jade Vellum

Jade teapot - red over ivory
Courtesy Fran & Carl Stone

Jade Clair de lune with Clematis a.k.a. "Red Beauty" decals.
Photo courtesy Richard G. Racheter.

Jade Clair de lune nappy with Clematis decals

Jade Clair de lune gravy fast stand with apple blossoms (J-106)

Jade vellum casserole with pattern J-214.

Jade vellum baker with decals and gold stamps.

Jade Clair de lune examples.
Photo courtesy Richard G. Racheter.

An assortment of Jade.
Photo courtesy Richard G. Racheter.

on Jade Vellum

"Black Tulip" (J-224)
on Jade Vellum plate and handled tray

Concept art for a Jade decoration
Courtesy HLC

Jade Clair de lune, Spanish Wall, J-7

Jade gravy boats

Jade 9" plate with pattern J-209

Jade oatmeal bowl with tulip decal
Left: platinum stamp decorated sugar, Medallion sugar (J-59), 6" plate and fruit cup with J-9.
Right: Jade plates: 10" with platinum stamps, 9" with decals, and 8" with gold bands

Jade covered casserole and gravy with pattern J-49, "Flowers of the Dell"

J-224, "Black Tulip"

Jade platter with roses and gold stamps

The following two photos of Jade come from the research files of Jo Cunningham

Jade tea set

"Spanish Wall" on a Jade platter (J-207)

Jade shop sample plates from the collection of the Fiesta® Tableware Company.
These last three shop samples did not go into production.

Although the Jade shape was proudced for a brief period of time, the covered butter continued well into the 1950s. It was picked up and added to several decaled shapes such as Century, Marigold, Virginia Rose, Nautilus, Brittany, and several others. It was also used with at least two solid color lines; Harlequin and Riviera.

Sketches for proposed Jade and Clair de lune backstamps. Such markings were never used.
Jade was marked with either the Wells peacock or a general HLC backstamp. Courtesy: HLC

Concept art for Jade Clair de lune brochure. Couresty HLC

Assortment of Items:
  • teapot
  • covered sugar
  • creamer
  • covered casserole
  • covered butter
  • cream soup
  • cream soup liner
  • teacup
  • saucer
  • demitasse cup
  • demitasse saucer
  • cake plate a.k.a. handled tray
  • 15" platter
  • 13" platter
  • 11" platter
  • 10" baker
  • 9" baker
  • 36s bowl
  • 42s jug (syrup jug)
  • 24s jug (batter jug)
  • 10" plate
  • 9" plate
  • 8" plate
  • 7" plate
  • 6" plate
  • gravy boat
  • gravy liner
  • gravy fast stand
  • 7" nappy
  • 8" nappy
  • 9" nappy
  • soup bowl
  • 5" fruit cup
  • 6" oatmeal bowl
  • 9" baker
  • 10" baker

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