Williams Design, Fiestaware: We have a selection of vintage and newly manufactured pieces.
Fiesta, America’s Favourite Dinnerware, was introduced to the public in 1936 and is the most collected tableware with over one half billion pieces produced. Of the many pottery manufacturers that existed in the clay rich Ohio Valley area throughout the twentieth century like Roseville, McCoy, Shawnee and Hall, to name a few, Homer Laughlin’s Fiesta is the only one that has survived and grown to flourish once again. The deco styled dinnerware was designed by the talented and dashingly handsome, Frederick H Rhead who had already created a name for himself by producing some of the most beautiful Arts & Crafts pottery of that era.
Currently in stock, we have Fiesta teapots, sugar and creamers, pitchers, gravy boats, salt & pepper shakers, 10.5′ dinner plates, salad plates, bread plates, tea cups and saucers, mugs including those with traditional handles, rim bowls, large bowls, large and medium nappy bowls, berry bowls, ramekins, bread platters, vegetable platters, mixing bowls and probably more!
Our collected colours in the store include: black, poppy, flamenco, cobalt, turquoise, lapis, sunflower, marigold, shamrock, evergreen, plum, lemondrass ivory and periwinkle, among others. We are always seeking more and updating our stock. So, if you have a particular piece or colour that you are on the hunt for, let us know and we will try to find it for you.
The original 1936 Fiesta line was limited to just five colors — red (some call it uranium orange), cobalt blue, light green, yellow, and ivory. In 1937, turquoise was produced. These are referred to as the “original colours”
There were 34 pieces in that original lineup, from coffee pot to sugar bowls, candle holders to casseroles, dinner plates to carafes. Seventeen more styles of cups (including the Tom and Jerry mugs), marmalade’s, mustard’s, platters and vases were added before the end of the 1930’s. 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. Red is another more scarce colour as fears of radiation poisoning from rumours of uranium in the glaze spread, it was disposed of. It was not uncommon for housewives to bury their red Fiesta in the backyard for fear of contamination. It is true that the original red glaze did have some radiation in it, but it is a very miniscule amount.
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 earthy 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.
Many colours that were produced in the early re-startup years were eventually discontinued, creating a whole new collection of coveted and hard to find colours such as Seafoam green, lavender, rose and periwinkle.
Post 1986 Fiesta is oven and microwave proof in addition to having a lead free glaze.