Fiesta was introduced in 1936 by the Homer Laughlin Pottery Company, discontinued in 1972, and went back into production in 1986. It was casual and inexpensive tableware whose colors could be mixed and matched, exuding a sunny, California sensibility even though its Art Deco aesthetic was the brainchild of an Englishman, Frederick Hurten Rhead, and the company was based in Newell, West Virginia.

The original 1936 Fiesta line was limited to just five colors — red (which resembles orange), blue (these days it’s known as cobalt), green (sometimes called light or original green), yellow, and old ivory (“old” was dropped). A year later, turquoise hit the shelves. Some Fiesta collectors acquire pieces only in these six colors.

There were 34 pieces in that original lineup, from coffeepots to sugar bowls, candle holders to casseroles, dinner plates to carafes. Seventeen more styles of cups (including the Tom and Jerry mugs), marmalades, mustards, platters and vases were added before the end of the 1930s. For collectors, two pieces in particular are among the most prized: a 12" compartment plate and a covered onion soup bowl, both of which were dropped in the first year, thus severely limiting their supply.

Fiesta was not the only, or even first, line of colorful dinnerware sold in the United States. Bauer Ringware preceded Fiesta by about seven years. Indeed, Homer Laughlin itself produced several other Fiesta-like dinnerware lines, including Harlequin, Riviera, and Kitchen Kraft.

All of these have their followings, but Fiesta remains king. Maybe it’s because of the line’s simple look, with its concentric rings circling the edges of all its pieces. Or it could be other design masterstrokes, like the seven sizes of mixing bowls that could be collected in any color and create a flat surface across their rims when nested. A complete set of nesting bowls, with no chips, is one of every serious Fiesta collector’s Holy Grails, as is a striped piece, if you can even find one.

In 1943, World War II forced Homer Laughlin to discontinue its red items due to government restrictions on the radioactive uranium in the glaze used to produce the vibrant color. The glaze reappeared in 1959. In the meantime, the company replaced cobalt, green, and ivory with forest green, chartreuse, rose, and grey. Some of these later colors are actually quite prized due to Fiesta’s slumping popularity (introduced in 1969, its Ironstone line never took off) and eventual demise in 1972.

Dating a piece of vintage Fiesta is relatively easy. Some old pieces have a stamp on their bottoms; others are marked with pairs of numbers or letters. Vintage nesting bowls made in Fiesta’s first year have rings on the inside of the bowl at the bottom; subsequent pre-World War II pieces do not. Newer pieces don’t contain those exact clues, but they do offer others. For example, new water pitchers use the same molds as the originals, but a dimple on the inside of the handle tells you it’s post-1986.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Art of the Table: Fiesta Pottery

Art of the Table: Fiesta Pottery

Heidi Kellner’s colorful tribute to vintage Fiesta Ware pottery, with great pictures and historical information. … [read review or visit site]

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Fiesta Turquoise Relish Tray, Early Hlc Marks, Great Cond, Classic 1930sVintage Fiestaware VaseVintage Fiestaware Harlequin Animal Figurine Set 3 - Duck Cat & GoldfishFiestaware Lilac Mini PitcherVintage Fiesta 10" Vase In GreenOriginal Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware 6 Piece Relish TrayVintage Genuine Fiesta Fiestaware Turquoise Large Serving Pedestal Bowl 12"Original Vintage Green Fiesta Relish Tray InsertsFiesta Fiestaware Dancing Lady Cookie Press Mold Unused New In Box Vtg Fiesta Ware Green Covered Casserole Dish Lid Scroll Handles Homer LaughinVintage Fiestaware Green Sweets Comport Candy Dish Fiesta Fiestaware Genuine Green Disc Pitcher Shaped Egg Timer Clock DecorationHomer Laughlin Fiesta " Lilac " Cup & Saucer Fiestaware Vintage 1937 Yellow Fiesta Mustard Jar Lidded Rare Fiestaware Free ShipFiesta Seamist St. Patricks Day Bud Vase - Rare, Discontinued FiestawareLot Fiesta Fiestaware Blue-gray Service Pieces : Salt & Pepper Gravy Cream SugarVintage Fiesta Relish YellowFiesta Monarch Vase - 9 1/2" Retired - *seamist* Nib *discontinued*Vintage Homer Laughlin Fiesta Cobalt Syrup Jar BaseFiesta Carafe Retired Rose 60 Ounce FiestawareLilac Fiesta Pair Mib Bulb CandleholdersFiestaware Homer Laughlin Fiesta Wall Clock Pink? Flamingo? You Decide!Fiestaware Millenimin Vase PersimmonVintage ? Fiesta Ware Orange Plate Serving PlatterFiestaware Medium Flared Vase 9 1/2" - Retired Color - Never Used FlamingoGenuine Fiestaware Homer Laughlin Set Of 5 Magnets - Vintage/retired AccessoriesVintage Fiestaware - 2 Teapots, 1- Coffee Or Wine DecanterFiestaware Butterdish Butter Dish Lilac Fiesta Homer Laughlin China CompanyVintage Fiesta Ware Tom & Jerry Mug In Original Medium Green Glaze Vintage Fiesta Homer Laughlin Ashtray In TurquoiseVintage Homer Laughlin Fiesta Fiestaware Retired Lilac Salad Dessert Plate Fiestaware Looney Tunes Porky Pig Serving BowlVintage Fiesta Homer Laughlin Ashtray In YellowVintage Fiesta Fiesta Ware Pitcher Yellow Vintage Fiesta Fiestaware Turquoise Blue Carafe W Stopper / Cork – Very Nice Vintage Fiesta Ware # 7 Yellow Nesting Bowl Retired Fiesta Ware 10" Dinner Plate Lilac Purple Homer Laughun Fiesta Dinner Plate Wall Clock Battery Operated PersimmonFiesta Fiestaware Turquoise P86 12" Handled Cake Plate With 5 1/2" Center BowlFiesta Ware Lilac Coupe Soup/cereal Salad Bowl 6 7/8" Retired Homer LaughlinVintage Fiestaware Blue Bud Vase Exc CondFiesta Mini Disc Pitcher - Periwinkle *limited Edition* Collectors Pitcher Nib Vintage Fiesta Teapot In Forest GreenVintage Fiesta Ware Dessert Bowl In Original Chartreuse Glaze 8 Vintage Homer Laughlin Fiesta,fiestaware Coffee Cups-5 Colors-nice!-l@@k!Lilac Fiesta Teapot! Mint In Box!Fiesta Seamist St. Patricks Day Set - 5 Piece Set -tray, Teapot, Lid, 2 Teacups Vintage Fiestaware Yellow Sweets Comport Candy Dish Vintage Fiesta Ware Original Green Medium TeapotLilac Fiesta Cereal BowlVintage Fiesta Ware Original Green Sugar Bowl Base With Lid Genuine Fiestaware Homer Laughlin Set Of 5 Magnets - Vintage/retired AccessoriesFiestaware Juniper Spoon Rest Homer Laughlin FiestaFiesta-fiestaware Lilac Lg. Tea Pot W/lid,cup&saucer- Retired 1995~price ReducedVintage Fiesta Cobalt Tea Pot, MediumLot Of Fiesta Ware~gray~yellow~juniper~persimmon~plates~mugs~bowls~11 Pc~retiredVintage Fiesta Fiestaware Yellow Sugar Bowl LidFiestaware Turquoise 11" Handled Cake Plate, Serving Tray Serving Chop TabFiesta Ware Latte Mug Juniper Homer Laughlin Vintage 16oz MugHomer Laughlin Fiesta ~ Halloween Candy Corn White Bulb Salt & Pepper Shaker Set