Category Archives: Pottery

Fiestaware 101: Part Six 1940 Promotional Campaign Refrigerator Set & Chop Plate with Metal Handle

Of the last two promotional items, one is very colorful and one is very dull. So let’s start with the colorful one, the refrigerator set. This standard Kitchen Kraft (a line of  kitchen wares produced by Homer Laughlin) item consisted of three bowls and a lid. This set is not easy to find today and complete ones command high prices. One sometimes finds the individual bowls for a good price. But the lid like most other Fiestaware lids is hard to find.


Promotional Fiestaware Refrigerator Set.

The way a collector dreams of finding any Fiestaware, mint in box. This set even has intact paper labels. These are the colors of the standard refrigerator set, bowls of yellow, green and cobalt with a red lid. Image from Pinterest.


The value of the individual bowls range from $40.00 – $50.00 and the much harder to find lid from $80 – $100. When purchasing a complete set expect to pay over $200.00 or more. The set pictured above with original box and intact labels will sell for nearly $500.00.


Kitchen Kraft Refrigerator Set.

The Fiesta Kitchen Kraft Refrigerator Set showing the unstacked individual pieces. Image from

The refrigerator set would be the last promotional item offered by Fiestaware. The penultimate item was the “exciting” chop plate with metal handle. The chop plate came in two sizes, 13 inches and 15 inches. The promotional campaign offered the 13 inch chop with an attached metal and raffia handle.

The chop plate with metal handle.

13 inch chop plate in old ivory with metal and raffia handle. Second to last promotional item, 1940. Image from the collection of the author.

According to the Schiffer book Fiesta, Harlequin & Kitchen Kraft Dinnerwares, these metal handles are quite rare and have a value that is almost equal to the plate. I find it hard to believe that the handle pictured above has a value around $40.00. I purchased the set above for less than $20.00, but I think that was a fluke. Since then I have never seen another chop plate with metal handle.

1940 Fiestaware ad.

1940 Fiestaware ad featuring promotional campaign items. Image from Pinterest.

The items offered in Fiestaware’s promotional campaign marked the end of new additions to the line until one last piece in 1959. Beginning in 1940, Homer Laughlin started to eliminate items. The next installment of Fiestaware 101 will look at these 1940’s deletions.

Anthony & Chris (The Freakin’, ‘Tiquen Guys)

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Breakfast Goes Modernistic

Royal Rochester label on the bottom of the batter bowl. 1928.

1928 Royal-Rochester label.


Back in 1999 at an antique store in Frankfort, Kentucky, I came across a very striking electric coffee pot. Painted in an abstract design in bold colors it almost bordered on the avant-garde. I had never seen anything like before, so the $110.00 price was not much of a purchasing deterrent. To me the it exemplified the exuberance of early Art Deco design of the late 1920’s. A crazy, optimistic style that produced Roseville Futura pottery and the Chrysler Building and wouldn’t last long once the Great Depression hit in 1930. Made by Robeson Rochester under their trade name of Royal Rochester, a company well-known for the manufacturing of kitchen appliances.


Royal Rochester coffee pot in the Modernistic pattern.

Modernistic Royal Rochester coffee pot. Ceramic body made by the Fraunfelter China Company.

Once I had the coffee pot, now I wanted to add more pieces and have a complete set. This wasn’t going to be easy because other pieces weren’t turning up. A couple of years later the teapot, creamer and sugar were up for auction on Ebay. The three-piece set ending up selling for over $500.00 and way out of my price range. And once that auction ended more pieces with the same design were not coming up. And I had never come across these pieces at any flea markets or antique malls. But I did learn from that Ebay listing that this pattern’s name is “Modernistic”.

The Fraunfelter China Company of Ohio produced the ceramic pieces purchased by Royal Rochester for their various lines. “Modernistic” is only one line that used these shapes. The lusterware tan stripe and lilac stripe pieces turn up a lot more often and even though they have the same shape those designs are nowhere near as striking as “Modernistic”


“Modernistic”, like all Royal Rochester lines had a full range of pieces to make any breakfast stylish and up to date. Beside the coffee pot and sugar and creamer, a smaller sugar and creamer came with the teapot. The center piece of the line was the large coffee samovar.  Small ceramic cups in metal holders were good for both coffee or tea. A waffle set included a syrup jug, batter bowl and ladle and of course the waffle iron. Completing the line a casserole and pie plate, both came with chrome stands.


Modernistic in the 1928 Royal Rochester brochure

Royal Rochester 1928 brochure featuring Modernistic. Image from

Introduction of Royal Rochester's "Modernistic" pattern.

Advertisement for Bullock’s Department Store in Los Angeles and the introduction of Royal Rochester. November 21, 1928. Image from

The “Modernistic” pattern made its debut during the Christmas season of 1928. What we  now call Art Deco made its American debut only less than two years before. Modernistic styles proved to be popular with more well to do people living in major cities. To the average American the new style seemed as foreign as a martian. Traditional styles, like colonial revival, remained the most popular in the United States through the 1940’s. Radios or refrigerators tended to be the only moderne style pieces in the house. Because of this Royal Rochester’s “Modernistic” ended up being a huge flop. The company’s advertisements for the 1929 Christmas season no longer mentioned this bold and colorful pattern. Since it was only available for a year or less, it makes the pattern extremely rare and hard to find today.


Democrat & Chronicle advertisement 1928.

Christmas 1928, Sibley, Lindsay & Curr Company in Rochester, NY. Democrat & Chronicle advertisement, 12/14/1928. Image from


I never knew, until recently, how short a production time “Modernistic” had. This explained why it took eighteen years to find more pieces. Finally this summer in an antique mall in Wisconsin I found the large creamer, casserole in holder and pie plate. The dealer seeing a good customer told me she had more of this pattern in another mall nearby, just over the Illinois state line. There I picked up many more pieces, including the very rare waffle iron and batter bowl. Being very reasonably priced and 20% off, I took the plunge. I still need to get a few pieces, including the samovar, cups and the probably nearly impossible to find ladle. So the hunt continues!


Waffle iron, batter bowl, pie plate and casserole.

“Modernistic” waffle iron, batter bowl, pie plate and casserole in chrome holder, by Royal Rochester, 1928. Author’s collection.

Royal Rochester's "Modernistic" coffee pot and sugars and creamers.

The “Modernistic” coffee pot I purchased in 1999 with the sugars and creamers purchased in 2017. Author’s collection.


Anthony (A Freakin’, ‘Tiquen Guy).

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Fiestaware 101: Part Five 1940 Promotional Campaign Sugar Cream and Kitchen Sets


Sugar, Cream & Tray Set

The sugar, creamer and tray promotional set.

1940 promotional campaign sugar & cream set. Typical colors of yellow sugar and creamer on a cobalt blue figure 8 tray. Image from

The 1940 promotional campaign continues with a couple of sets to brighten up the table. This set is very sought after by collectors of Fiestaware. The last new pieces designed for the Fiesta line, until the individual salad bowl of 1959, were in stores by spring of 1940. Fredrick Rhead, creator of Fiestaware died from cancer on November 5, 1942. These items proved to be his last design. Consisting of three pieces, in standard colors of yellow for the sugar and creamer and cobalt blue for the tray. The values for these pieces are: Yellow Sugar $125.00, Yellow Creamer $75.00 and the Cobalt Figure Eight Tray $95.00.

As with anything Fiestaware, there are variations. Although rare, creamers in red and figure eight trays in turquoise turn up. These colors were probably used for special orders. The values of these pieces reflect their rarity. The red creamer has a book value of $315.00 and the figure eight tray in turquoise of $375.00.


Promotional creamer in red.

1940 – 1943 promotional creamer in Fiesta red. Image from

Turquoise figure eight promotional tray.

Promotional figure eight tray in turquoise. Image from


Sugar & cream set.

From the collection of the author the sugar & cream set with the red creamer.


The Kitchen Set


Promotional Kitchen set.

Promotional Kitchen Set. In the standard color combination. Image from


With some diligence and a bit of patience one can cobble together the promotional kitchen set as it is rarely found complete. It is a combination of pieces created for other lines. The Royal Metal Manufacturing casserole, first created in 1936, came in a variety of Fiestaware and Harlequin colors. For the promotional campaign the green casserole base came with a red lid and a yellow pie plate from the Kitchen Kraft line. This matched the yellow, green and red color combination of the promotional salad set. Today expect to pay around $200.00 for the complete set or $150.00 for the casserole and another $35.00 – $50.00 for the pie plate.


1940 promotional Kitchen Set.

Promotional Kitchen Set, 1940 – 1943. Image from

These two sets add a colorful Deco touch in any vintage kitchen. The next installment on Fiestaware will look at the final two items available in the 1940 promotional campaign.


Anthony & Chris (The Freakin’, Tiquen Guys)


Fiestaware 101: Part Four The Salad Set & French Casserole.

Fiestaware 101: Part Three 1939 The Juice Set.

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Fiestaware 101: Part Four Promotional Campaign 1940 – The Salad Set & French Casserole

Fiestaware Dancing Lady Logo


The success of the promotional juice set in 1939 led to an all out Fisetaware promotional campaign. From 1940 – 1943 a total six promotional items, all costing $1.00 were offered. This article will look at two of the items – the Salad Set and the French Casserole.


The Salad Set


Fiestaware salad set, 1940.

Fiestaware promotional salad set. Yellow bowl and green and red Kitchen Kraft fork and spoon.


This salad bowl was the first piece specially designed for the promotional campaign. The Fiesta line already had two large bowls in production, the footed salad bowl and the fruit bowl. Because both these bowls were too big to be sold as a dollar promotion Frederick Rhead designed this new one. First modeled in November, 1939, a month later it underwent a revision that added a half-inch in-depth. The final bowl had a diameter of 9 3/4 inches and a depth of 3 9/16 inches. Production started in January of 1940 and the set became available soon there after. As a set, the new yellow bowl came with the Kitchen Kraft fork in green and spoon in red. Fiestaware yellow is the basic color of most of the promotional pieces. The outside of the bowl employs Fiesta’s ring motif, but there are no rings on the inside of the bowl.


Fiestaware salad set.

The 1940 promotional Fiestaware salad set, with the red and green Kitchen Kraft spoon and fork.

Today this bowl is rarely found with the fork and spoon that came with it originally. Because this bowl has not been found in any Homer Laughlin documents and not found on any vintage price lists, it is known by collectors as the “unlisted salad bowl”.  In production for only about three years, it is not easy to find. The value of this bowl in yellow is around $100.00. Though yellow is the official color for this bowl a few exist in cobalt blue. Being very rare, cobalt bowls have a much, much higher book value and if found will carry a price tag of around $3,000.00.


Cobalt promotional Fiestaware salad bowl.

The very rare cobalt promotional salad bowl.


French Casserole

Hands down the most elegant piece created for the promotional campaign, the French casserole is not easy to find today. First modeled for the Fiestaware line in 1935 and named ring shaped casserole (one handle) with a hand applied foot, it did not go into production.  A few trial pieces, in ivory were made. In 1939 Rhead returned to the ring casserole as a piece for the promotional campaign. The elimination of the foot is the major difference between the casserole that went into production in early 1940 and the 1935 design.


Prototype casserole

Prototype ring casserole (one handle). The Homer Laughlin Museum, Newell, West Virginia.


The French casserole has a hand applied stick handle that is similar to the one used on the after dinner coffee pot. The straight sided finial is unusual, as most Fiestaware lids have flared finials. The finial is another indication that its design dates back to the Fiestaware’s earliest design period. Like the “unlisted salad bowl” the casserole does not have inside rings. Also like the salad bowl the French casserole had a yellow glaze, though some trial pieces in cobalt blue exist.


French casserole in yellow.

Fiestaware promotional yellow French casserole, 1940.


Like all the promotional items, the French casserole had a production life of barely three years. This is not an easy piece to find and especially to find in excellent condition. The book value for a French casserole in mint condition is between $290.00 – $310.00. I’ve personally only seen three or four of them over the last 15 years, all with chips, and all with a price tag of over $100.00. I’ve never come across a cobalt one. Cobalt ones are exceedingly rare and have a value that is correspondingly high, around $4,500.00.


Cobalt blue French casserole.

The very, very rare French casserole base in cobalt blue.


The next Fiestaware entry will continue with items from the promotional campaign and will examine the sugar, creamer, tray and the kitchen sets.


Anthony & Chris (The Freakin’, Tiquen’ Guys)


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