Category Archives: Fiestaware

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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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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Fiestaware 101: Part Three 1939 The Juice Set.

Fiestaware Dancing Lady Logo

By 1939 Fiestaware was the top-selling solid color dinnerware in the United States. To further stimulate sales, a special promotional juice set was offered at a suggested retail price of $1.00. The set consisted of six tumblers and a 30 oz. pitcher. This new pitcher was identical to the 71 oz. disc water pitcher except for the size.


The Fiestaware promotional juice set of 1939. Yellow pitcher and six tumblers in the original colors.

The Fiestaware promotional juice set of 1939. Yellow pitcher and six tumblers in the original colors.

As the  disc water pitcher was being developed in early 1938, several different sizes were modeled. In 1939, the smallest became the juice pitcher with Yellow chosen as the glaze color.  A good number of juice pitchers can be found in Harlequin Yellow (a brighter, more pure yellow than the Fiesta yellow). Harlequin, a sister line to Fiestaware, was sold exclusively through Woolworth stores and there are too many of the Harlequin Yellow pitchers to be an accident.  It must have been a deliberate choice by Homer Laughlin as a way to offer more options for the set. The standard Fiesta yellow pitcher has a book value of $45.00, while Harlequin Yellow juice pitchers are worth around $50.00 – $55.00.


Fiestaware juice set and carton.

Fiestaware juice set and carton.

A special order juice set was produced for Old Reliable Coffee a product of the Dayton Mills Spice Company. This was one of many promotional products offered by Dayton Mills and consisted of the same tumblers but with a red pitcher. Today the red juice pitcher is quite hard to find and has a value of over $500.00.


The Red Juice Pitcher made for the Old Reliable Coffee special promotion.

The Red Juice Pitcher made for the Old Reliable Coffee special promotion.


The juice tumblers had a long and somewhat painful production process. In 1935, Homer Laughlin was approached by Kraft-Phenix Cheese corporation. They were interested in having ceramic crocks made for their processed cheese products.  Creative designer, Frederick Rhead was able (after some trial and error) to mold a crock to Kraft’s satisfaction and 200,00 were produced.  In 1937, Kraft again came to Homer Laughlin for a new container. Rhead knew that there would be a lot of back and forth before an acceptable crock was created. He designed over 20 different models, all rejected, over a 14 month period. In the end, Homer Laughlin was unable to meet Kraft’s needs. As a side note Kraft had glass crocks made by the Hazel Atlas Glass Company. The glass crocks are almost identical to the Fiesta ones. What it boiled down to was economics. A ceramic crock filled with cheese would have to be sold at 35 cents each. Kraft could sell two glass crocks fill with cheese for the same price. The last ceramic crock designed for Kraft would go into production as the juice tumbler the next year.




The juice set tumblers were produced in all six original Fiesta colors.  There was a seventh color available, Rose. Rose was a recent color addition to the Harlequin line. While not as easy to find today as the other tumblers, there are enough out there to suggest that it was either made for a  special order or offered to add more variety to the juice set. Book values for tumblers in the original six colors range from around $45.00 for those in Red, Cobalt and Ivory and $40.00 in Green, Yellow and Turquoise. Rose tumblers have a value of $80.00. But with most Fiestaware since the recession these pieces can often be found for less.


Rose Juice Tumbler

Rose Juice Tumbler

The success of the juice set led to an all out special promotional campaign the next year. In our next Fiestaware blog post we will look at the Salad Set and the French Casserole.


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

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