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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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