Fiesta® by Homer Laughlin
The following originally appeared on pages 84-86 of An Overview of Homer Laughlin Dinnerware ©2002,
and is being posted on www.laurelhollowpark.net with permission along with corrections and updates.

It would be very difficult to find a line more collected and recognized than Fiesta. It has become so familiar to the general public that when any line of solid colored dinnerware is encountered by a non-collector, he or she almost always calls it Fiesta when it may have not even been made by Homer Laughlin. Both vintage (1936-1973) and contemporary (1986-present) Fiesta have become part of American popular culture. Since so much has been written about it over the years with entire volumes dedicated to the subject, only the initial development will be covered here.

The first piece modeled was a 9-inch "Ring Plate for Colored Glazes" in February 1935. The name "Fiesta" would not be applied to the new line for several months. Interestingly, this shape was immediately accepted as the basic design for the flatware. With the development of lines of dinnerware, multiple designs of plates were often sketched, modeled, and after being reviewed, were subject to either being rejected or put into production. In Fiesta's case, there was very little debate as to its design. The second piece was listed as a "Modern Ribbed Teacup and Handles." The body was the standard Fiesta teacup and four versions of handles were considered. All four were rejected in favor of the open ring handle which collectors know today.

The four teacup handle models with the stick handles for the demitasse cup and creamer

On March 2, 1935, designer Frederick Rhead notes making sketches of possible additions to the new shape including steins, a French casserole, sugar, creamer, and a covered onion soup. Some interesting shapes listed in the log that didn't make it into production include the "ringed shape casserole, one handle" and a cracked ice bowl.

There were several names considered for Fiesta. On April 1, 1935, Rhead notes working on various colored glazes and wrote in the margin, Notes on Rhumba Ware. Four days later on April 5, he listed the possible names in his journal and Fiesta wasn't even under consideration:

  • Park Lane
  • Rhapsody
  • Plaza
  • Faience
  • Tazza
  • Tazza Faience
  • Chalet Faience
On April 9, Rhead wrote about merchandising for the "Faience line." He then makes another entry on the 12th, "...name for colored glazes DASHE Faience."Rhead kept referring to the line as, "colored glaze line" rather than committing to the Faience name. On April 15, 1935, he notes the name Flamingo. The next time he calls the line Flamingo is on April 26: J. M. Wells went over shape program for Flamingo line.

Finally, on May 14, 1935, the name "Fiesta" is applied to the new shape and on the 17th Rhead noted making drawings for the Fiesta marking.

Frederick Rhead's original sketch of the Fiesta marking.
Courtesy the Homer Laughlin China Co.

Window display of Fiesta from early 1936.

Over the years the color assortment for Fiesta changed and some pieces have become more valuable in certain colors. Below is a table of the standard eleven colors with their dates of production. The four colors made from 1951-1959 are commonly called the "50s colors."

Red 1936-1943, 1959-1973
Yellow 1936-1969
(Cobalt) Blue 1936-1951
(Light) Green 1936-1951
Old Ivory 1936-1951
Turquoise 1937-1969
Rose 1951-1959
Chartreuse 1951-1959
Gray 1951-1959
Forest Green 1951-1959
Medium Green 1959-1969

1939 advertisement

Fiesta 9" plates - with and without marking

Large teapot in red, medium teapot in turquoise

Carafe in Old Ivory

2-pt. jug in gray

Prototype French Casserole on display at HLC

11 3/4" Fruit bowl in cobalt

Old Ivory Fiesta grouping

Tom & Jerry mugs in red, gray, and chartreuse

Fiesta turkey plates

4 3/4" bowl in red, 5 1/2" bowl in old ivory

Experimental "Rose Ebony" glaze

Decaled Fiesta 9" plate

Egg cup in yellow

Forest green sugar (l) and Ironstone sugar (r)

Marmalades: Antique gold (l) and light green (r)

compartment plates in red and light green

Nested bowl lid in red

Decaled Fiesta chop plate

Turquoise creamer

Ivory casserole

6" dessert bowls in turquoise, yellow, and ivory

Deep plate in cobalt

Fiesta Tablescape

1937 HLC advert with Fiesta

Left: Desert bowls in chartreuse, yellow, rose, light green, old ivory, medium green, turquoise, and forest green
Right: Demitasse pots in red and yellow, demitasse cups in cobalt and ivory, stick-handled creamer in turquoise, and a #1 nested bowl and lid in light green.
Left: Creamers in rose, cobalt, gray, and yellow
Right: Stick-handled and regular creamers in Fiesta® glazes
Left: 5 1/2" fruit bowls, dessert bowl, cups and saucers, 9" plate, individual salad bowl, and platter in medium green
  • Right" Sugars, stick creamers, and trays in the first six colors.
  • Left: Chartreuse 5 1/2" fruit bowl, 7" plate, covered sugar, disc pitcher, medium teapot, creamer, dessert bowl, teacup and saucer, and mug
    Right: Yellow covered sugar, juice pitcher, ice pitcher, carafe, tumbler, individual sugar, and covered casserole
    Left: Water and juice tumblers with Harlequin shakers in a donkey frame (originally designed for Tupperware shakers)
    Right: 12" flower vase in light green, sweets compote in turquoise, egg cup in ivory, #1 nested bowl in red, and a #4 nested bowl in yellow
    Left: Promotional (unlisted) salad bowl and a covered onion soup in red
    Right: Teacups and saucers in the eleven standard Fiesta® glazes
    Left: Red individual creamer, covered sugar, tumbler, sweets compote, 4 3/4" fruit bowl and a Kitchen Karft spoon.
    Right: Amberstone blank chop plate and a Casulastone 10" plate with non-standard design
    Left: Sauceboats in turquoise, gray, brown (from Amberstone), turf green (from Ironstone), red, light green, old ivory, and cobalt
    Right: Sweets compotes in yellow, old ivory, cobalt, turquoise, red, and light green
    Left: Light green water tumbler, carafe, ice pitcher, covered sugar, demitasse cup and saucer, and a Harlequin individual salad bowl
    Right: light green sweets compote and ashtray, ivory 2-pt jug and sauceboat, #1 nested bowl in yellow, gray and forest green mugs, and a Harlequin spruce green 22-oz. jug
    Left: Ashtrays in brown (from Amberstone), yellow, turquoise, and light green
    Right: Amberstone coffee server, regular coffeepots in turquoise and ivory, demitasse pots in yellow and red
    Left: Red bulb candlesticks and an ivory comport
    Right: Turf green from Fiesta Ironstone; sauceboat and stand, 10" plate, covered sugar, creamer, and serving bowl
    Left: Ice pitcher in cobalt, disc pitcher in light green, and stick-handled creamer in turquoise.
    Right: Rose shaker, mug, disc pitcher, deep plate, juice tumbler, covered casserole, 4 3/4" fruit bowl, and a Harlequin individual salad bowl
    Left: Gray creamer, covered casserole, 10" plate, deep plate, 4 3/4" fruit bowl, mug, teacup and saucer
    Right: Yellow French casseroles
    Left: Ice pitchers, creamers, carafes, and mugs
    Right: Covered onion soup (l) and Covered sugar (r)
    Left: Sugar and creamer in yellow, teacup and saucer in gray and forest green, water tumbler and 5 1/2" fruit bowl in turquoise, rose juice tumbler and mug, and medium teapot in chartreuse
    Right: 9 1/2" nappy in yellow, 8 1/2" nappy in turquoise, disc pitcher in light green, Harlequin service jug in maroon, covered onion soup and syrup in red, and a creamer in gray
    Left: Fiesta Ironstone turf green 10" plate and saucers in original packaging
    Right: Ice pitcher in turquoise and disc pitcher in cobalt
    Left: Assorted shapes in Fiesta® glazes
    Right: Footed salad bowl in turquoise, disc pitcher in cobalt, ice pitcher in red, bulb candlesticks in turquoise and light green, Kitchen Kraft fork in light green, deep plate in rose, stick-handled creamers in light green and yellow, regular creamer in yellow, cup and saucer in forest green

    Vintage store dispaly for Fiesta.
    From the research files of Jo Cunningham

    Assortment of Items:
    Original six: red, yellow, ivory, turquoise, yellow, light green Original six plus rose, gray,
    chartreuse, and forest green
    All eleven glazes
    • 12" Flower vase
    • 10" Flower vase
    • 8" Flower vase
    • Demitasse coffeepot
    • Teapot, large
    • Carafe
    • Ice pitcher
    • Bud vase
    • Tripod Candlestick
    • Bulb Candlestick
    • Marmalade
    • Mustard
    • Footed salad bowl
    • 11 3/4" Fruit bowl
    • Nested bowls
    • Dripcut syrup
    • Covered onion soup
    • Relish tray
    • Comport
    • Sweets compote
    • 9 1/2" nappy
    • Water tumbler
    • Utility tray
    • Coffeepot
    • Egg cup
      (At least one exisits in medium green)
    • 2-pt jug
    • 15" Chop plate
    • 10 1/2" Compartment plate
    • Demitasse cup and saucer
    • Teapot, medium
    • Disc pitcher
    • Sauceboat
    • Covered sugar
    • Regular creamer
    • Shakers
    • 13" chop plate
    • Platter
    • 10" plate
    • 9" plate
    • 7" plate
    • 6" plate
    • Teacup
    • Saucer
    • 6" Dessert bowl
    • 5 1/2" Fruit bowl
    • 4 3/4" Fruit bowl
    • Covered casserole
    • Cream soup cup
    • Deep plate
    • 8 1/2" nappy
    • Tom & Jerry mug
    • Ashtray
  • French casserole, standard yellow, non-standard cobalt
  • Promotional (unlisted) salad bowl, standard yellow, non-standard cobalt and red
  • Figure-8 tray, cobalt and turquoise
  • Individual creamer, red and yellow
  • Individual sugar, yellow
  • Individual salad, yellow, turquoise, red, and medium green
  • 12" Compartment plate, yellow, red, ivory, cobalt, light green
  • Nested bowl lids (sizes 1-4 officially offered), yellow, red, ivory, cobalt, light green
  • Royal Metal Cake plate, red, yellow, ivory, cobalt, light green
  • Juice pitcher, yellow, red, Rhythm gray, Jubilee celadon green
  • Juice tumblers, yellow, red, light green, old ivory, turquoise, rose, Harlequin yellow, chartreuse, forest green, gray, and Jubilee pink, beige, and gray.
  • © 2009-2017