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 Ware Yellow Onion Soup Bowl With Lid 1936-1937Homer Laughlin Green Batter Riviera Jug Pitcher FiestaLilac Fiesta Relish / Corn On The Cob Tray--new!!Sapphire Fiesta Large Disk Pitcher--new In Box!Lilac Fiesta 60th Anniversary Beverage Set....new In Box!!!Fiesta GobletsFiesta GobletsVintage Fiesta Cobalt Demitasse CoffeepotRare Vintage Fiestaware Red / Orange 8 Inch Flared Flower Vase FiestaFiesta GobletsHomer Laughlin Riviera Fiesta Ware Orange Radioactive Red Salt & Pepper ShakersVintage Fiesta Cream Soup Bowl In Forest Green Fiestaware Dark Green HlcLilac Fiesta Stacking Cereal Bowl....new!!Fiesta Ware White Tall Vase New Not VintageFiestaware Fiesta Plum Cappuccino MugVintage Fiesta Green Nesting Mixing Bowl # 7 - Mint ConditionVintage Fiesta Radioactive Red Nesting Mixing Bowl # 1Vintage Fiesta PitcherFiesta 10" Dinner Plate Kiwi Pattern New 2nd Shamrock, Sunflower And BlackFiestaware Accessories - Night LightFiestaware Fiesta Cappuccino Latte MugsWhite Fiesta Goblet....new!!Fiesta Fiestaware Go Along Genuine Accessories Copco Paper Towel Holder Rare VtgVintage Fiesta Fruit / Dessert / Cereal Bowls 6 1/4" - Set Of 5Fiesta Ware Salt & Pepper Shakers Green & Turquoise & Cobalt BlueFiesta Fiestaware Homer Laughlin Children's Noah's Ark Yellow Tumbler New Vintage Fiestaware 6" Chartreuse Fruit Dessert Bowl And 7 1/4" PlateGenuine Fiesta Pottery Accessories Picture Frame Periwinkle BlueFiesta Ware Small White Vase New Not VintageRare Homer Laughlin Fiesta Magnet New Turqoise Water Pitcher Retired Free ShipVintage Fiesta Turquoise Nesting Mixing Bowl # 7 - Excellent ConditionVintage Fiesta Kitchen Kraft Stacking Set/3 Refrigerator Bowls Red Yellow Green Vintage Fiesta Green Sweets Compote ~10 1/4" Deep Dish Pie Baker Plate Lilac (hard To Find) Fiesta Fiesta Sunporch Mini Disk Pitcher Ltd Edition Limited Edition Of 500 Marked5 Pc Rare Fiestaware Coaster SetWhite Fiesta Mickey Mouse Disc Pitcher Fiestaware ContemporaryFiesta Fiestaware Small Disc Pitcher Sun Porch Design 28 OuncesVintage Fiesta Ivory Nesting Mixing Bowl # 2Red Fiesta Ware 11.5” Serving Platter + 7” Vegetable BowlVintage Fiesta Light Green Cream Soup Cup Bowl3 Vintage Homer Laughlin Fiesta Hawaiian Daisy Dinner Plates LotVintage Fiesta Radioactive Red Gravy BoatFiesta Prep Baking Bowl 2 Pc Set Sunflower Perfect Cond.Gray Fiestaware Dinner PlateSet 5 Fiesta Elegance 16 Oz Tumblers / Coolers Glassware ~fiestaware Bands/ringsVintage Fiesta Turquoise Nesting Mixing Bowl # 2Vintage Fiesta Green Large Ball S&p Shakers Kitchen Kraft ~ Set Of 2 ~Fiesta Napkin Dispenser Holder Sapphire Blue Fiestaware Hlc Homer Laughlin 1996Fiesta 2 Cup Tea Pot ChartreuseVintage Lot 4 Fiesta Ware Dinner Plates - Original Colors W/ Red (orange)Lot Of 6 Fiesta Ware Homer Laughlin Bowls Varied Size And ColorsVintage Fiesta Ware Water Pitcher Cream ColorFiestaware Napkin/utility Square Tray, LapisFiestaware 5 Pc Blue Teapot Canape Set ~cheeseSet Of 4 Vintage Fiesta Water Tumblers In 4 Of The Original Colors - FiestawareVintage Fiesta Cobalt Blue Nesting Mixing Bowl # 2Lilac Fiesta Jumbo 18 Oz Bowl Chili Soup-new Mint With Price StickerVintage Fiesta Yellow Relish Dish Insert - Mint ConditionWarner Bros. Fiesta 60th Anniversary Tweety Beverage Set....new In Box!!!