Did you know that Fiesta Dinnerware is 79 years old? Wow! In all of those years, we have certainly collected some interesting facts and stories. Here are 10 of our favorites:
1. Reintroduction. As some of you may know, Fiesta was discontinued in 1973 and reintroduced in 1986 with the new colors Rose, Black, White, Cobalt Blue, and Apricot. However, these were not the only glazes that were created for Fiesta’s reintroduction. The 5 colors that were selected were based on the opinions of retailers who unanimously agreed on Rose, Black, White, Cobalt Blue, and Apricot. Had they been drawn to the other colors we presented, you might have ended up with these in your P86 collection:
2. Production. By the time it takes you to read this sentence, another piece of Fiesta will have been made. Based on production capacity, HLC produces one piece of Fiesta every four seconds. Not too shabby!
3. Hostess Bowl. We’ve recently seen a lot of collectors thinking outside the box when using their Fiesta, which we love! One piece in particular that is often used in Fiesta hacks is the Hostess Bowl flipped upside down, which makes sense, as it was originally designed to be used that way. J. C. Penney’s approached us in the 90’s asking for a base for large pillar candles. We presented an item that used design components from the bottom of the Raspberry Bowl, but Penney’s buyer wasn’t sold on it. That is, until he turned it upside down; thus, the Hostess Bowl was born! Coincidentally, that JCP buyer is now our Vice President of Retail Sales!
4. American Fiesta. Maybe you’ve heard of this one. In 2007, a play was produced called “American Fiesta” and was based on, you guessed it, collecting Fiesta dinnerware. Although there were other themes in the play than just collecting Fiesta, we were still flattered that we made it onto the stage!
5. Uranium. As some of you might already know, the Homer Laughlin China Co, along with the other top potteries in the US, used to use scant amounts of uranium in glazes to achieve the vivid colors associated with vintage Fiesta. We have long since eliminated uranium from our dinnerware, but not before we got an interesting visit during WWII from US government officials, demanding our storage of uranium. We were just making glazes, Mr. President!
6. Fiesta Proposal. We have heard many a Fiesta love story over the years, but we think this one might just take the cake: In September of 2011, a man and woman visited the outlet together for a shopping trip while on their vacation. Little did she know that he had contacted us prior to their trip to request a custom Marigold plate with the words “Will you marry me?” written on it. The plate was set out in front of the store when the couple arrived. When she saw it, he got onto one knee and proposed. How could you say no to that!
7. Famous Fiesta. Fiesta is the star of our kitchens, but did you know it has also appeared next to stars on the big screen and television? You can see our colorful dinnerware in A Christmas Story, The Mentalist, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, and more! Are we forgetting any of your favorites?
8. The #1 Color. Of course we don’t have a favorite color (we love them all!), but as far as sales go, there is one color that reigns supreme: Scarlet. Ever since Scarlet’s introduction to the Fiesta line in 2004, it has topped the charts in sales. Even when a new color is introduced, it always falls short to our ravishing red.
9. Museum. With all of the fascinating history behind HLC, it seemed selfish of us to keep it to ourselves! There is a Ceramics Museum located across the river from the factory, honoring all of the potteries that originated in the area, but if you’re looking for something a little closer to the factory, then look no further than our personal museum located in our outlet store. Factory tours end with a venture into the museum, and with all of the retired colors and vintage pieces on display in our museum, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to Fiesta heaven!
10. Rhead & Wells. As you might already know, Frederick Hurten Rhead is credited with the design of Fiesta. However, the idea for the bright colors actually came from Joseph M. Wells, Sr., the general manager and 2nd generation family member of the company. Wells had seen colored glazes at a houseware show in California and brought the idea back to West Virginia. It was his philosophy that brightly colored dinnerware would, in turn, brighten everyone’s spirits. They certainly needed it, as the introduction of Fiesta occurred during the Great Depression. The idea, as you might have guessed, stuck, and 79 years later, we continue to be charmed by our colorful Fiesta.