Epicure by Homer Laughlin
The following originally appeared on pages 53-56 of An Overview of Homer Laughlin Dinnerware ©2002,
and is being posted on www.laurelhollowpark.net with permission along with corrections and updates.

In the very late 1940s and into the 1950s, there were to major groups of new shapes introduced by American pottery companies. The first consisted of very simple, plain round coupe shapes. In Homer Laughlin's case, there was Rhythm, Jubilee, Debutante, Skytone, and Suntone. The second group was made up of "biomorphic" designs. Such shapes have a fluid or stretched look. Iroquois' Casual China, Steubenville's Contempora, Hall's Tomorrow's Classic, and Roseville's Raymor are just a few of these free form lines. HLC's contribution to this modern movement in tableware came about in 1954 with the creation of Epicure designed by DonShrekengost.

In 1952 most of the Cavalier shapes were created. With production concentrated on Rhythm, Charm House, Skytone, Debutante and the new Cavalier line, there was no need to design a new shape for 1953. Several items in the modeling log at the end of 1953 are more than likely early Epicure pieces. They are listed in the most generic of terms such as "cup" and "plate" without any specific reference. From October to December they include: saucer - dropped edge, dinner plate, cup, handle, sugar with lid, and a bowl. There is a small sketch in the log beside the cup and a note the shape was, "released for production Nov. 17, 1954." This would coincide with the release dates for other Epicure items. In 1954 more itemes were modeled, but again there is no mention of the Epicure name.

One interesting to note regarding HLC's modeling records is the name Epicure is used in reference to Harlequin:

May 23, 1955 Harlequin Handle for Epicure Cup June 3, 1955 Larger Harlequin Handle for Epicure Cup
These specially made cups are commonly called Harlequin large cups by collectors. The corresponding 6 7/8" saucers were picked up from generic jumbo cups that had been in production for several years.

It should be noted the standard cup used for Epicure is a coffee cup. There were no teacups in the original assortment, but on October 14, 1955, there is an entry in the log for: Cup, Epicure Dinnerware Size. While none have been accounted for in Epicure glazes, the designer, Don Shrekengost, maintained the tea cups were put into production in the article, Epicure by Matthew Whalen (The Dish, Vol. 1, No 2., 1998).

There are two specially made items that are not found in vintage ads: the tid bit tray and the nut dish. The trays were made with two plates separated by a white plastic column. To date, only white trays have been found. The nut dishes were promotional pieces given out to buyers at trade shows. They were made in turquoise and can sometimes be found in their original bag with price list.

Epicure was made in four colored glazes; Snow White, Turquoise Blue, Dawn Pink, and Charcoal Gray. The blue, gray, and pink glazes have the appearance of small filings which gives a textured look. The body is heavier than other HLC lines. According to backstamps, the ware is oven proof.

Original sketchs of Epicure finials, plates and coffeepots. The "drop edge" finials for lided
items were not used in the final design. The basic shape of the coffeepot base remained the same.

Courtesy: The Homer Laughlin China Co.

Original sketch of the gravy with ladle

Epicure plates

Turquoise coffee pot

Creamer with cereal/soup bowls

Inividual and regular casseroles in pink

Casserole in turquoise

Epicure cup and saucer, plate, sugar, and creamer

Epicure gravy bowl and ladle
Both photos from the research files of Jo Cunningham

Coffee cup and saucer
in Charcoal Gray

The "Harlequin Large Cup" with Epicure
body and specially made handle.

Promotional 4 3/8" nut dish
in original packaging

Decaled Epicure saucer

Tid bit tray in white

left: Charm House, right: Epicure
The Charm House shape teacup (shown with an Epicure coffee cup) is one of a set recently found in the textured Epicure pink glaze. They were purchased along with matching Epicure saucers. Epicure was originally produced with a coffee cup but no teacup. While mold records indicate a teacup was eventually created for the line, there is no evidence it ever went into production. It may be that HLC used these Charm House shape teacups for special orders.

These are not to be confused with the plain pink Charm House teacups which were used with Dura-Print, Kenilworth and other lines of the 1950s.

Standard Epicure shape
coffee cup and saucer

Charm House teacup and saucer
in the Epicure pink glaze

1956 Ad featuring HLC's Epicure
Courtesy: Fran and Carl Stone

To the right is a picture of the original sketch by the art department at HLC to make the Epicure brochures. In a letter dated March 3, 1955 to Veritone, a printing company, Don Schreckengost writes:
We are in the process of producing an illustrated folder of our new casual dinnerware line EPICURE, and though you would be interested in the opportunity of quoting on this job. I am enclosing a dummy which will serve to illustrate our requirements. I am sorry to call you attention to the fact that this is an especially urgent job and we will need to hear from you at once. We are attempting to meet a dead line and are trying to have finished folders on store counters by the 15th of April, which is the date of our national advertising of this ware.
The letter goes on to specify type of paper, sizes, etc. The two images below show the finished result.

Original sketches for Epicure brochures, advertising, and backstamps.
Courtesy The Homer Laughlin China Co.

Assortment of Items:
  • 10" Plate
  • 8" Plate
  • 6" Plate
  • Coffee Cup
  • Coffee Saucer
  • Individual Casserole
  • 12" Platter
  • Pickle
  • Creamer
  • Covered Sugar
  • Coffee Pot
  • Covered Casserole
  • 8" Nappy
  • 8" Coupe Soup
  • Cereal/Soup
  • Sauceboat
  • Ladle
  • Salt Shaker
  • Pepper Shaker
  • Promotional Nut Dish
  • Tid Bit Tray

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