Harlequin Animals by Homer Laughlin
LaurelHollowPark.net, an informative website created and
maintained by Mark Gonzalez. Copyright © 2009-.
A group of animals was made for Woolworth's and dipped in the four original Harlequin colors; maroon, spruce, blue (mauve), and Harlequin yellow. Seven were modeled, but only six went into production on October 25, 1939. The six standard animals in the order in which they were modeled are: lamb, penguin, cat, fish, duck, and donkey. A turtle was created after the donkey, but it wasn't released into production. (There are two unusual entries in the modeling log around the same time: "Indian Model" and "Indian Woman Model." Like the turtle, these are not noted as being officially made.)

The duck seems to be a copy from a set of three ducks made by another pottery in a pale green glaze with cold paint accents. The lamb looks very much like a scaled down version of a McCoy vase. In fact, all six animals may very well be copies or modified versions made by other potteries. One thing is certain, other companies had access to the same molds and produced animals that are almost identical in weight and size. The donkey and duck shown below are two such animals. They are identical in very way to HLC's versions except they are done in white. Most of the time they are found with gold accents. Authors Sharon and Bob Huxford have coined these as "Mavericks."

HLC probably produced these figures for only two or three years at the most. They were makers of dinnerware and kitchenware. Novelty items such as Harlequin animals were not the focus of their production.

In recent years, China Specialties has produced the animals in assorted glazes. They are marked with a special "Maverick Menagerie" backstamp.

Harlequin blue fish and maroon cat

"Maverick" donkey and duck

Lamb in rare light green and yellow penguin with gold
Courtesy The Museum of Ceramics

Underside of a Harlequin cat.
HLC's examples are glazed inside and out.

The pale green duck was made by another company. The other animals were made by HLC. There is also a green duck with its head bent upwards. Sometimes the pale green ducks can be found with orange cold paint.

Original models. Courtesy The Homer Laughlin China Company.

Rare medium green, yellow and turquoise animals on display at the Museum of Ceramics

Donkey and cart shakers and a cat bud vase: NOT by HLC.

Rare turquoise lamb on display at HLC.

Alternate versions of the penguin on dispaly at HLC in yellow and turquoise. Note the smaller head and feet.

A sampling of "Maverick Menagerie" animals made by China Specialties.

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