Fiestaville

Author: Beverly C. Lucey
 
My mom owned Fiestaware while I was little. Our glass cabinets showed them off, bright and colorful. Happy dishes. Except my mom was a klutz. Which meant that gradually we had fewer and fewer Fiestas, until one day, the cabinet was filled with crummy off white platters and cups that were shatter proof.

Drat. Someone had invented Melmac.

A pre-cursor to Corningware, and other miracle laminates, this purchase of Melmac my mom made meant that for the rest of my growing up we had cheesy looking plates with brown and blue flowers on them. They were frighteningly indestructible.

People in the Fifties, still recovering from the Depression and the rationing from WWII could not believe their luck. Plates that wouldn't break? Who could ask for anything more?
 
Me.

I wanted the color back in our kitchen. I had to wait until 1986 for the Great Return of Fiestaware.

The Homer Laughlin China Co. created six original colors in the 1930s.  The company itself has been around since 1871, and produce other dinnerware lines.  What weíve come to know as Ďoriginal Fiestaware colorsí are:
 
Red, Light Green, Ivory, Cobalt and Yellow were the first five original Fiestaware colors. 
 
Other colors were added and retired at regular intervals, so that their collectibility has continued.
 
Rose   Gray   Chartreuse  Forest Green (looks like a fresh pepper)   Medium Green

http://www.mediumgreen.com A Collectorís Site: Medium Green
 
Some of the newer, hard to get colors, such as lilac and sapphire , are even more valuable than some of the originals. http://www.fiestawarefiesta.com/ Discounted  New Fiestaware
 
BEWARE
 
If you are at a flea market or poking around ebay when looking for Fiestaware, youíll be amazed at the prices some pieces fetch. Donít buy on impulse. If you care about the dates and value, do your homework ahead of time, or have the price book handy. 
 
There are some easy ways to tell vintage from new. 
 
If there are rings inside the mugs or cups...itís old.
 
If the bottom of the cups are flared and worn....itís old; itís hand turned.
 
The Art Deco look of it comes from original molds, however, no matter when it is produced. Itís the color that makes the difference in value.
 
NOW
 
But, if you just want to create a happier look behind your glass cabinets, go nuts on line or in factory outlets. http://www.hlchina.com/ The Homer Laughlin Home Page

With casual entertaining, this low stress look of mix and match, allows you to create so many different kinds of color palettes, that your table will always look perky, instead of forbidding.
 
If someone breaks something...no big deal. Thereís more where that came from, now, since Homer Laughlin is back in a big way.
 
Since I donít hang out with the china and crystal crowd, Iíve got safety and color, and happy happy plates. 
 
I am happy too.
 
But for every person who remembers fondly the distinctive look and palette of Fiestaware, you just know there are folks longing for the good old days, when there was Melmac. 
 
They should try this site as a start for tracking down old memories: 
 

 

 

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