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 Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware Pitcher & Glass Set, 5 Pieces W/ Original BoxVintage Fiesta Ware Homer Laughlin Red Demitasse Coffee Pot - ExcellentLilac Fiesta Pie Baker....new In Box!!!Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware Lilac Cake / Sandwich Plate - 7 1/8" Dia Green Fiesta Mustard Dish,no LidVintage Fiesta Demitasse Red Pot Rare Hlc Fiesta Stamp Great ConditionVintage Fiesta Ivory Kitchen Kraft / Ovenserve Refrigerator Bowl Unit Fiesta Ware Hlc Turquoise Royalty Vase No ReserveFiesta Yellow Teapot With Four Spreaders In BoxHlc Fiesta Ware Retired Scarlet 6" Bud VaseFiesta/pale Orange Teapot- 7" Tall, 5" Wide & 6" Long- Vgc- Unused, Wt. 3 Lbs.Fiestaware Fiesta Relish TrayFiesta® Paprika - 2 Cup Teapot - Discontinued ItemHomer Laughlin Fiesta Ware Tumblers Lot Of 3 Lilac Plum PersimmonHomer Laughlin Fiesta Ware Lilac Cereal Soup Bowl - 6 3/4" Dia Nice1940's Vintage Fiesta Sweets Comport Ivory Footed Candy Dish Beautiful!Homer Laughlin Fiesta Black Cat Ring Handled MugPair Of Fiesta Ware Tripod Candleholders Green By Homer LaughlinFiesta Fiestaware Halloween 9 Inch Luncheon Plates 2 Plum Haunted House NewDinner Plate *black Cat* Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware 10.5" New 1stVintage Fiestaware Tray With Handles Gotta SeeFiesta Ware West Virginia Wv 2007 Gator Bowl Yellow CreamerMy First Fiesta Children's Tea Set Discontinued Child's Fine China Original BoxFiestaware Scarlet Red Large Latte Coffee Mug With Coffee Pots And Vase DesignFiesta Fiestaware Ramekins Lot Of 5: 2 Lapis 2 Turquoise And 1 PeacockVery Nice Vintage Fiestaware Fiesta Light Green Ashtray Glossy Shine & Near MintFiesta Ware Green 7" Tea Pot Fiesta Ware Miniture PitcherSet Of 4 Vintage Fiesta Ware Cream Soup Bowl With Handles Fiesta Yellow Child's 3 Piece Noah's Ark Luncheon Set Fiestaware Peacock Covered Butter Dish Pearl Gray Fiesta Millennium Iii Vase--new In Box With Tags!!!Original Vintage Fiestaware Fiesta Usa Blue Nesting 6 3/4" Bowl 3 #3 NiceFiestaware ClockHomer Laughlin Fiesta Black Cat Ring Handled MugFiesta Accessories - Contemporary Magnet Collection - Limited ProductionFiesta Dinnerware Coffee Server YellowFiesta Cobalt Blue Lapis Snow Flake MugsVintage Fiestaware Red Demitasse Cup & Saucer Hairline Crack On Rim Of SaucerNice Vintage Fiestaware Fiesta Turquoise Blue Ashtray Glossy Shine & Nice & UsedFiesta Oval Divided 2 Section Vegetable Serving Dish Scarlet RedFiesta Homer Laughlin Fiestaware Mini Disc Pitcher – Green / JuniperFiestaware 4 Piece Swizzle Stick Set Nib Retired ColorsOriginal Vintage Fiestaware Fiesta Usa Green Nesting 8 3/4" Bowl 5 #5 NiceHomer Laughlin Fiesta - Lilac - Small Pitcher1936-44 Original Vintage Green Fiesta 6" Bud Vase Homer Laughlin Excellent Cond.Fiesta Fiestaware Halloween Luncheon Plate & Java Mug Tangerine Happy PumpkinRare Fiestaware Persimmon Small Butter Dish , Near MintFiestaware Teapot Clock In Retired Periwinkle Blue NibFiesta Ware Rose Bud Vase RetiredVintage Fiesta Ware Original Ivory AshtrayGenuine Copco Fiesta Accessories Tea Kettle Teapot Blue Aqua 1997 Wilston UnusedFiestaware 4 Piece Gourment Pick Set Nib Retired ColorsVintage Fiesta Yellow Egg Cup NiceFiesta Bud Vase Charteuse F 117 NibVintage Fiesta Relish Tray Bottom And Two InsertsVintage Fiesta Medium Green Harlequin 36s BowlFiesta Fiestaware Black Tall Cappuccino Latte Mug Homer LaughlinFiestaware Double Handle Bowl Original Vintage Red Cream SoupHolly & Ribbons Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware 2 Dinner Plates 10 1/2" + Cup, Saucer