This month we feature a pattern that has become an American icon, Homer Laughlin’s Fiesta . This pattern, offered in a very large selection of colors and with a wonderful art deco influence, is in fact THE best-selling dinnerware in American history. Fiesta was designed by Homer Laughlin’s art director, Frederic Rhead, in 1936. Beginning at age 19, Rhead took a number of jobs around the world that included working as art director for Wardel Pottery, Roseville Pottery, and as professor of ceramics and pottery at University City Pottery in St. Louis. Rhead became a huge success within the ceramics and pottery industry owning to his ability to adapt to changing tastes and new forms of art. Whether art nouveau, arts and crafts, naïf, art deco, or modern international, Rhead could produce aesthetically pleasing pottery seemingly at will.
Fiesta was designed for the "modern America" of the mid-1930s and featured concentric circles and an array of solid, brightly colored pieces that were meant to be mixed and matched. The pattern’s very popular design broke with tradition by shedding the formality of floral motifs on bone china. Five colors were initially introduced in 1936 - Red, Cobalt Blue, Light Green, Yellow, and Ivory, with Turquoise being released in 1937. Ironically, Homer Laughlin developed hundreds of colors with varying tones and hues to be tested on Fiesta molds. The final colors were picked by arranging sets of plates on a table, with Homer Laughlin himself noting consumer’s reactions to each set. The original six colors and those later added in the 1950’s are referred to as original or vintage Fiesta. On August 27, 1997, Homer Laughlin celebrated the manufacture of the 500 millionth piece of Fiesta. To celebrate the occasion, Jope Geisse designed the collector presentation bowl. These bowls were produced in limited quantities and are extremely rare.
The Homer Laughlin Company has a longstanding tradition of excellence in tableware design and production. Our founder and CEO, Bob Page, has written a book entitled Homer Laughlin: Decades of Dinnerware. This extraordinary book has information on many Homer Laughlin patterns, including Fiesta. Click here to view and purchase this book. If you are interested in reading an online history of the Homer Laughlin Company, then click here. An informative Fiesta history, including a table of Fiesta colors, can be accessed here. The table below provides you with all of the Fiesta patterns that Replacements, Ltd. carries. For your convenience, these patterns have been separated into pre-1986 patterns and post-1986 patterns.