In early spring of 1931, the art department at Homer Laughlin began producing a triangular shaped line. By March, a triangle plate, cup, and saucer were modeled and samples were made, however, development on the new shape stopped soon after. With the success of Century and similar square shapes by other potteries, it was decided to instead create a second square shape.
The Jade shape was first produced in late 1931. It was developed along with the "Clair de lune" glaze - a special vellum glaze with a green cast. In August of 1931, after vacationing in Toronto, Frederick Rhead notes in his journals on checking up on the "square shape." A definite design and name hadn't been decided upon, but by mid-August, it was determined that the shape should be simply a convex square shape with narrow rim. Before modeling actually began on any of the shapes, trials were being made of the Clair de lune glaze. Pieces from other lines were given the special color, but none of the samples were acceptable. It would take two more months and several more tests until Clair de lune was perfected.
After the initial tests for Clair de lune, Rhead made sketches of the various shapes. Development of the new line was put on hold for almost two weeks while work temporarily shifted to another new shape, Ravenna.
In early September 1931, the name "Jade" was being used to refer to the line and Rhead had finished several sketches. These were then turned over to Al Kraft for modeling. The first pieces made were the 9" plate, teacups, and sugars. Samples of these three pieces were made in the Clair de lune glaze and were approved by J. M. Wells in early November. With the general shapes and special glaze finally in place, production began and more items were added.
Jade was also made in the then one-year old Vellum glaze, however, at the Pittsburgh show in January of 1932, only Jade in Clair de lune was introduced to the public. Clair de lune, French for "moonlight," has a texture similar to vellum and in certain lighting even looks like the ivory glaze. Jade with Clair de lune was often advertised as, "moon light captured in dinnerware." The "moon ware" was obviously not well received. Records indicate that in 1932, it did have moderate success in terms of sales falling behind the best sellers of the year: Yellowstone Ivory, Yellowstone Vellum, Century Vellum, Ravenna, and Orleans. The company must have realized early that Clair de lune was not going to have the success they had anticipated. With the exception of few embossed OvenServe pieces, the Clair de lune glaze was not officially used on any other shape. During 1933, Jade Clair de lune was still being offered, but more attention was given to patterns on Jade Vellum. To the right is a Jade soup bowl in the Clair de lune glaze with the Minuet decoration. Behind it is a Yellowstone shape plate in vullum to show the difference between the two glazes.
The last time Rhead mentions altering any of the Jade shapes is in July of 1932 when he notes remodeling the dinner plate to have a circular center. To date, only square wells have been found so the circular version may have not been put into production.
By 1934, the clean and formal shape Jade was overshadowed by embossed lines such as Orleans, Virginia Rose, OvenServe, and Marigold and was eventually discontinued.
1932 trade advertisement for the Jade shape and Clair de Lune glaze.