10 Things You Didn’t Know About The HLC Factory

Factory-4

Have you ever wondered where Fiesta Dinnerware is made? You probably know that our dinnerware is 100% made in the USA, but what you might not know is that our factory is located in the small, single stoplight town of Newell, WV. Another little known fact is that our dinnerware has been produced in the same factory for over a century. It is impossible to have a building that old without a few quirks and a lot of history, so without further ado, we present our favorite fun facts about the Homer Laughlin China factory.

  1. Something old, something new. The Homer Laughlin China factory in Newell, WV is 108 years old! Although 108 is very old for a pottery factory, this is actually our new factory. Our original headquarters were located across the Ohio River in East Liverpool, OH from 1877 to 1907. The reason for the move was that the company was growing rapidly and there was not enough room in East Liverpool to accommodate the growth. Therefore, in 1902, a tract of land was purchased (from the Newell family) across the river and development began on the town of Newell. During 1905 and 1906, the company constructed plant #4, which at that time, was the largest pottery plant ever built in the world.East End Plant Shot BW
  2. Trolley Line. The construction of the new factory, though necessary, posed somewhat of a problem. The factory workers were still living in East Liverpool and needed an easy way to commute to work. Thus, a trolley line was built to transport workers across the river. Workers were let off their shifts 5 minutes early every day to catch the trolley back to East Liverpool. The trolley line was such a valued tradition at Homer Laughlin, our present day workers still leave work 5 minutes early, like they are off to catch the trolley, too. 
  3. Haunted HLC. We’re sure that it will not come as a shock to hear that a factory as old as ours has its share of ghost stories. Many workers in the factory have reported hearing footsteps when no one was around, garbage cans being moved, and even experiencing their hair being pulled when they were alone. Other employees have sworn that they’ve seen white figures darting around the showroom. Some have pictures of footprints in the factory that start and stop out of nowhere. Once, a worker even witnessed a clay mold being thrown across a room while completely alone. Are these just made up ghost stories? Or is it really Homer Laughlin checking up on his factory?
  4. HLC Showroom. The showroom in the Homer Laughlin China factory is where our products are put on display for clients and visitors to view. The showroom that we use today opened in January 1922 and has undergone little change. Though it is almost a century old, the showroom has a certain elegance that can’t be replicated by modern architecture.Show Room 1921
  5. Mile long factory. In order to produce so much dinnerware, we require quite a lot of space! Luckily, our factory is a mile long in order to house all of the equipment needed. Imagine the workout our factory workers get!
  6. Museum. With all of the history housed in the factory, we needed a place to show it off. That’s why we added a museum to our factory to give visitors a better look into the history of our product. In the museum, you can find vintage dinnerware, retired patterns, and old photographs of workers in the factory from as far back as the 1920s!
  7. museumshotTours. Want a closer look at the machinery used in making Fiesta Dinnerware and Homer Laughlin China? Tours of the factory are available for those who sign up. Get a first hand look at the process from clay to cup and learn some more history along the way. You can call 1-800-452-4462 (Option #1) to set up your tour!
  8. The best potters. We pride ourselves on bringing you the best dinnerware in the world, and for that we need the best potters in the world. As workers enter the factory they walk beneath this sign, which serves as a constant reminder of our dedication to excellent service:
  9. Portals pass the best pottersProduction. Don’t have time to come for a tour of the pottery? Don’t sweat it! We have several videos on our YouTube channel that show highlights of how our dinnerware is made. Check out this one made by Manufacturing Marvels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvM54kmKLH0
  10. Morgue. This sounds depressing, but hang with us. Ever wonder where the rejected prototypes go that don’t make it to production? Or where some of the old Homer Laughlin ware is stored that isn’t displayed in the museum? They are housed in a room in the factory known as the morgue that is kept locked at all times. Could we have come up with a more lighthearted name for it? Maybe.

 

 

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