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]

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]

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]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Nesting Set Of 7 Signed Fiestaware Fiesta Mixing Bowls In Red Blue Yellow GreenHomer Laughlin Kitchen Kraft Fiesta Sunporch Covered JugLilac Fiesta Ware Gravy BoatVintage Fiesta Yellow Demitasse Stick Handle Coffee PotRare Fiesta Lilac Medium 10" Vase Vintage Fiesta Marmalade JarBeautiful Fiesta Refrigerator Set (aka Nesting Bowls) With LidsVintage Fiesta Pitcher Black With Halloween Orange Cat Face 5x5 1/2 Inches Fiesta Ware Gray Disc Pitcher Christmas Ornament Kitchen Kraft Fiesta 6 Piece Stacking SetFiesta Cobalt Blue Syrup With Lid - WowFiesta Ware Lilac Dinner Plate 10.5" Retired Homer LaughlinHlc Fiestaware 2-cup Teapot (discontinued) - Persimmon (retired) - New, UnusedRare Cobalt Blue Fiestaware Syrup Pitcher With Drip Cut Lid, Damage On LidHomer Laughlin Fiesta Lilac Dinner PlateFiestaware Sugar And Creamer Set With Tray Shamrock Green 4 Piece SetFiesta Ware Lilac PitcherHomer Laughlin Fiesta Halloween Happy Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mugs Set Of 4 NewVintage Fiesta Fiestaware Hlco Side Relish Tray Insert Cobalt - Nice !Fiestaware Homer Laughlin Mini Disc Pitcher Grey 3 1/4 Tall 5oz W/original BoxHomer Laughlin Fiesta Black Cat 10.5 In. Dinner Plate New *halloween* Vintage Sunshine Yellow Fiestaware Deep Mixing Bowl-7.5x5 InchVintage Fiesta Ware Fiestaware Side Relish Tray Insert Turquoise - Nice !Vintage Fiesta Sweets Comport Compote In TurquoiseVintage Fiesta Sweets ComportVintage Fiesta Relish Tray Center Insert - GreenVintage Fiesta Large Light Green TeapotFiestaware Small Shamrock VaseVintage Fiesta Ware Nesting Mixing Bowl #6 Cobalt BlueRadioactive Red Fiesta Homer Laughlin Small Teapot Lid  fiestaware MdVintage Fiesta Ware Nesting Mixing Bowl Light Green - Excellent!2 Vintage Fiestaware Compartment Plates 10.5in. Turquoise/light GreenHlc Fiestaware Large Disc Pitcher (67 Oz) - Persimmon (retired) - New, UnusedVintage Fiesta Fiestaware Manual Metal Juicer Reamer 1 Homer Laughlin Fiesta Fiestaware Halloween Nights Mug *new Retired*T502) Fiesta Relish Tray Complete Yellow Green Off White Blue Orange TealVintage Fiesta Relish Tray Side Insert - Red New FiestaFiesta,fiestaware 1939 Price ListFiestaware Cinnabar Disk Pitcher And Range Top Salt & Pepper ShakersRetired Fiesta Marigold Jumbo Chili Bowl/cup 1st QualityFiesta Turkey Day Thanksgiving Bread Tray 12"l Mint RetiredFiesta Ware Lapis "macy's" Snowflake Luncheon Plate 9 Inch NwtLilac (1995) Retired Fiestaware Dinner Plate. Homer Laughlin6 Vintage Fiesta Tab Handle Cream Soup Bowl OriginalsVintage Fiesta Sweets Comport Compote, YellowVintage Fiesta Sweets Comport Compote, IvoryExcellent-vintage Chartreuse Ring Top Fiesta 2 Pint Jug Pitcher With Ring HandleVintage Fiesta Fiestaware Hlco Center Relish Tray Insert Ivory - Nice !Homer Laughlin Fiesta Sapphire Dinner PlateVintage Fiesta Fiestaware Hlco Side Relish Tray Insert Green - Nice !Homer Laughlin Fiesta Lilac Tumbler Fiestaware "peacock" Canister Set & Cookie Jar New 1st Quality Fiesta HlcHomer Laughlin Sapphire Fiesta Disk PitcherVintage Fiesta Yellow Coffee Server With CoverFiesta Ware Nesting Mixing Bowl #7 Orange Radioactive Red 7" By 11" Fiesta Ware White Disc Pitcher Christmas Ornament Fiesta,fiestaware 1954 Price ListFiestaware-vintage-relish Tray-divided -variety Of Early ColorsHlc Fiesta Great Color Lilac 5 Piece Place Setting New