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Thursday, November 4, 2010

I Found a Fiesta Ware Shop


It is a cold rainy day in NJ.  BRRRR.

I really like the bright colors of Fiesta Ware, but have never really known that much about this collectible, so I did a little research for myself and to share with you.  I also found a shop specializing in Fiesta Ware at the Tomato Factory Antique Center in Hopewell, NJ.  My photographs of Fiesta Ware were taken there, with permission.

A Brief History of Fiesta Ware

In 1936 the Homer Laughlin China Company introduced the Fiesta dinnerware line.  Five colors were available, including red, cobalt blue, yellow, green and ivory.  The colors were selected to blend well together in order to be able to mix pieces of different colors together.  Early in 1937, turquoise was added.

A cobalt blue gravy boat and bowl circa 1936.

A green creamer circa 1936.

An ivory sugar circa 1936.

A turquoise coffee mug circa 1937.

The most popular color is red, despite the higher cost due to the greater cost of producing this color.  Uranium oxide was added to the glaze to create the red color.  During World War II, the government confiscated the uranium because it could be used in atomic bomb construction.  The Fiesta red color was no longer available until 1959, when it was produced using depleted uranium in the glaze.  In 1981, the Food and Drug Administration determined that the radioactivity level was low enough not to be a health hazzard.  However, in 1994 it was determined that the red pieces were leaching radon into the air through cracks in the pottery glaze, so it is best to stay away from the vintage red pieces of Fiesta Ware.

In the 1950s, Fiesta Ware was produced in different colors, including forest greem, gray, rose, chartreuse, and finally medium-green.  Here is a rose bowl circa 1950.

By the 1960s the brighter colors were back in style.  Then trends moved toward the earth tones.  The entire Fiesta Ware line was retired in 1972.

In 1986, a new line of Fiesta Ware was developed.  The new line did not include the exact original colors.  One new color has been introduced each year and Fiesta dinnerware has become one of the most collectible items on the market today.

Pieces in the new Fiesta line are more angular/square in shape than the original round shape.  It is important to learn the difference in the original and newer lines so as not to be taken advantage of by an unethical dealer.

Three makers marks were used on the original line: “Fiesta/HLC USA”, “HLC/Fiesta/Made in USA”, and “Fiesta/Made in USA/HL Co.”.  Fiesta has been widely copied and since about 1940 the company also used the mark “Genuine”.   Color also helps determine the age of a piece of Fiesta Ware.  If you know when a specific color was made, then you know the age of the piece.

Knock-offs of original Fiesta Ware also have circles near the rim of each piece that are all equidistant from each other, rather than getting closer and closer together as on this true Fiesta Ware piece.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post.  Please share your comments and also share this blog with your friends.  They can find this blog at .



  1. I collect Fiestaware. It is very hard to find where I live, as well as very expensive! Great post!

  2. hello, I'm glad to find your blog, I've become very interested in fiestaware lately. I have a cobalt blue platter 11 5/8" I've been trawling the net tonight but i still cant figure out if my piece is new or old. The confusion lies in the fact that the marking has all lower case letters, it says HLG fiesta USA. What has me confused is that the letter f has a loop, I read that this could mean its a new piece, does this mean the piece is old or new? I would really appreciate your help if you could tell me?
    I would be very grateful because I cant seem to get a definitive answer.
    Thanks for your time.