Tag 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 Vintageamericanpottery.com.

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 vintageamericanpottery.com

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 vintageamericanpottery.com

Turquoise figure eight promotional tray.

Promotional figure eight tray in turquoise. Image from vintageamericanpottery.com.


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 vintageamericanpottery.com


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 vintageamericanpottery.com

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 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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Fiestaware 101: Part Two 1937 – 1938.

Fiestaware Dancing Lady Logo


From 1937 – 1938 Fiestaware introduced new pieces, redesigned others, eliminated some and added a new color.


March 1937 Eliminations


12 inch Compartment Plate

12 inch Compartment Plate. Production Dates: January, 1936 – March, 1937


As mentioned in the first Fiestaware post, designer Frederick Rhead and Homer Laughlin executives listened carefully to suggestions from store owners. One being that the 12 inch compartment plate was too large and heavy for easy use. It was eliminated after being in stores for only 14 months. Even though it had a short production life and is a bit hard to find today, the 12 inch compartment plate only has a book value of $52.00 to $78.00 and can usually be found for less.


Mixing Bowl Lids.

Mixing Bowl Lids. Production Dates: August, 1936 – March, 1937


Removed from the Fiestaware line at the same time were the mixing bowl lids. These never sold well, probably because they cost almost as much as the bowls they were made for. Having been produced for only seven months the lids are among the rarest pieces of Fiestaware and have a corresponding high value. Mixing bowl lids sell between $900.00 for the smallest for the No. 1 bowl and $1,200.00 for the No. 4 bowl lid (the largest size in production). Lids for the three largest bowls were modeled and tested but never put into regular production.


March, 1937 Additions


Another rare piece of “Fiestaware” is the cake plate. I’ve used quotes around Fiestaware because there is speculation if it was produced for the line or for the Royal Metal Manufacturing company, to be sold with a chrome metal base. Lending credence to this confusion is the fact the cake plate was never listed on any Fiestaware price list.



The cake plate looks very much like the 10 inch dinner plate, except that it is completely flat and the underside has many more rings. In fact this piece has more rings than any other piece of Fiestaware. Introduced in March of 1937 and discontinued in less than a year, the cake plate is only found in the original five colors of Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and Old Ivory. I’ve only seen this piece for sale a couple of times since I started collecting vintage Fiesta and each time the it was over $1000.00.



The 101/2 compartment plate. Production Dates: March, 1937 - June, 1959

The 10 1/2 compartment plate in Blue (Cobalt). Production Dates: March, 1937 – June, 1959

To replace the 12 inch compartment plate, Homer Laughlin scaled it down to 10 1/2 inches and it proved to be a success. This version stayed in the Fiestaware line for 22 years. The book value for these plates which can be found in the original five colors, turquoise and the 1950’s colors, is between $40.00 and $95.00. With some hunting and luck most of these plates can be purchased for about $25.00.



Medium Teapot in Green. Production Dates: March, 1937 - July, 1969.

Medium Teapot in Green.
Production Dates: March, 1937 – July, 1969.


The medium sized teapot (6 cups) is another item that was introduced  thanks to suggestions from retailers and complaints that the 8 cup teapot was too big and hard to handle. It is called medium, because a smaller two cup teapot was modeled but never went into production. Characteristics of the medium teapot to differentiate it from the large teapot is the “C” handle, a more pronounced spout and a slip cast lid and finial (the same style finial found on the mustard jar). The medium teapot is found in all 11 vintage Fiestaware colors. Values for this piece $200.00 for the original five colors, $165.00 for the turquoise, $300.00 for the colors of the 1950’s and $1,600.00 for medium green (a color introduced in 1959 and is the rarest of all Fiesta colors).




Water Tumblers. Production Dates March, 1937 – November, 1946.

Water tumblers were only in production for 9 years which is the reason that they are somewhat hard to find. The book value for water tumblers range from $60.00 – $75.00. When they are found, the prices are not too much lower than the book values.


Yellow, Green and Blue Tumblers. Molded in Fiesta mark on the bottom.

Yellow, Green and Blue Tumblers. Molded in Fiesta mark on the bottom.


Striped Fiestaware


Fiestaware is famous for its solid, bright colors, but in 1937 Homer Laughlin brought out a line with stripes. Using pieces only in the ivory color, they were decorated with either red or blue stripes. Since the stripes were applied before the final glaze, when found today they show very little signs of wear. This line of Fiesta apparently was not popular and discontinued within a year. These pieces are very rare and have a correspondingly high price when or if found in antique stores or at auctions. For example, ivory tripod candle holders have a book value of $650.00, but the pair with red stripes, pictured below, recently sold at auction for just over $13,000.00.

Red stripe tripod candle holders.

Red stripe tripod candle holders.

Personally I have never run across any, but I would love at add a few of these striped pieces to my collection.




January, 1938 Additions


Turquoise becomes the sixth Fiestaware color. Back in 1935, Turquoise was in the running but  from the line up. In the fall of 1937 it was decided to add it and by January of 1938 it was in the stores. Turquoise had the second longest run of any Fiestaware color, 32 years. It was only surpassed by yellow, but just by one year. As a result Fiesta items in these two colors are the most easily found.


Medium Teapot, Bud Vase and Marmalade in Turquoise.

Medium Teapot, Bud Vase and Marmalade in Turquoise.



Another retailer suggestion was a smaller sized fruit bowl and  the 4 3/4 inch bowl was the answer. Stylistically is matches its larger counterpart the 5 1/2 fruit bowl and the 8 and 9 inch nappy bowls. The small fruit bowl remained in the Fiestaware line for almost 22 years, being discontinued in November, 1959. These bowls can be found for around $20.00 – $25.00 (and sometimes for even less) in the 1930’s – 1950’s colors. The 4 3/4 inch fruit bowl was only in production for five months after the medium green color was introduced in June of 1959 and the value jumps significantly to about $600.00.


4 3/4 inch Fruit Bowls. Production Dates: January, 1938 - November, 1959.

4 3/4 inch Fruit Bowls. Production Dates: January, 1938 – November, 1959.


The 11 3/4 inch fruit bowl was originally planned for Homer Laughlin’s Kitchen Kraft line as a salad bowl. The switch to the Fiesta line required a slight change of design and instead of being plain on the inside, the familiar concentric rings were added to the bowl and the Fiesta molded in mark was placed on the bottom.



Even though this piece was in production for nearly 9 years, it is not easy to find today. And as such has a correspondingly high book value, $305.00 for a yellow one on the low-end up to $360.00 on the high-end for a red or cobalt.




The sauce-boat is one of the few serving pieces that once it made it into production was always part of the line. After Fiestaware became Fiesta Ironstone in 1970 the sauce-boat was still being produced, but in only three colors and minus the molded in mark on the bottom. It has also been part of the post ’86 Fiestaware line. Since 1997 an “H” was added to the mark on the bottom of pieces to help them from being confused for vintage Fiestaware. But knowing your colors will be your best defense from buying a new piece at vintage prices. Most sauce-boats are found in the $40.00 – $75.00 dollar range with the elusive medium green one selling for over $200.00.


January, 1938 Elimination


The one piece eliminated from the Fiestaware line at the beginning of 1938 was the covered onion soup bowl. This bowl must have been just too formal for the casual dining atmosphere that Fiestaware and the other solid color dinnerware lines were striving to create. The combination of not selling well to begin with and a short production life has made the covered onion soup a very hard to find and very expensive piece to add to a collection. The value of this piece in the original five colors usually ranges between $400.00 – $700.00. Because of being discontinued around the same time that turquoise glaze was introduced, very few onion soups are found in this color. The book value for turquoise onion soup is $6,000.00 – $7,000.00 and some have sold for over $10,000.00.


The very rare turquoise covered onion soup.

The very rare turquoise covered onion soup.



July, 1938 Elimination


The stick handle creamer was the only item eliminated from the line in July 1938 being replaced by the ring handle style creamer. One reason that was given for the change was that the stick handle creamer was somewhat difficult for left-handed people to use. The book value ranges from $43.00 (yellow) – $65.00 (red, cobalt & ivory). Because turquoise stick handle creamers were only in production for 7 months it has a higher value at $79.00.



July, 1938 Additions


Fiestaware Green Ring Handle Creamer. Production Dates: July, 1938 - July, 1969.

Fiestaware Green Ring Handle Creamer. Production Dates: July, 1938 – July, 1969.



The stick handle creamer was restyled using the same body but having the iconic ring handle applied.  This piece is available in all 11 vintage Fiestaware colors and is easy to find between $25.00 – $40.00. The exception is medium green; expect to pay around $100.00 for that one.



Ring Handle Creamer in Red.

Ring Handle Creamer in Red.



12 inch oval platter, yellow. Production Dates: July, 1938 - July, 1969.

12 inch oval platter, yellow. Production Dates: July, 1938 – July, 1969.


In production for 31 years the oval platter is easy to find in all colors. As with all medium green pieces, expect to pay a premium price of around $165.00. The other colors are in the $35.00 – $60.00 price range.


Green 12 inch platter.

Green 12 inch platter.




Perhaps the most iconic piece of Fiestaware, the “disc water pitcher” was not originally part of the line. Added to the line in July of 1938, it is still in production today and is available in all Fiesta colors, vintage and post ’86. Aside from color one way the easiest way to distinguish a vintage disc pitcher from a modern one is to look inside where the handle joins the upper rim, vintage ones are smooth whereas the newer pitchers have a distinct dimple. Although a relatively common piece values range from $110.00 – $165.00 for the original six color. The fifties colors range $230.00 – $255.00 and the medium green top them all at $1,550.00.



The Iconic Fiestaware Disc Pitcher.

The Iconic Fiestaware Disc Pitcher.



Only 31 years to go (you lucky people). Part three of Fiestaware 101 will look at the 1939 – 1943 promotional campaign.


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


For Part One click here.

Photos: Personal collection, Vintage American Pottery, Strawser Auction, Replacements and Pinterest.

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