Identifying dinnerware is all about shapes (designs), not decorations (patterns)
Homer Laughlin China assigned names to every one of the shapes of the china they produced, but the decals were not always given names. Some decorations were named; some were not. Identifying a dish by it's pattern is made even more difficult by the fact that there were many, many decals and many of them were used on multiple designs. And sometimes a named pattern was given that name not by Homer Laughlin China, but by the retailer. But all of the designs produced by Homer Laughlin China were named.
Molds for dishes were sometimes re-used! For example, Skytone, Suntone, and Debutante designs all borrowed from Jubilee. The Celeste design is made up of shapes borrowed from two different designs (Cavalier and Brittany). The well-known Riviera design is really Century, but with bright solid-color glazes, but since the Century design didn't have a butter dish, the Riviera butter is borrowed from the Jade design. Amberstone is today sometimes called "brown Fiesta" since it used the Fiesta shapes and a brown glaze. And sometimes just some of the pieces in a set were created using molds from another design. Charm House is a design that has no plates (flatware); it consists just of holloware (cups, bowls, shakers, etc.) to be borrowed by other designs.
Much of the pottery made by Homer Laughlin China (HLC) has their name or logo on the back, but a surprising amount is not marked, and much bears a mark other than Homer Laughlin China, and even names other than the shape name. Amberstone pieces were marketed to retailers as Sheffield and they bore the Sheffield mark.
Some distributors applied their own mark. The distributor Cunningham and Pickett did so; in the early years of their relationship their mark appeared along with Homer Laughlin's, but eventually the HLC mark was omitted and only Cunningham and Pickett's backstamp was applied.
Some companies purchased pieces from HLC and then applied their own decoration. These pieces may have HLC's backstamp, the decorating company's backstamp, or both.
the backstamps you might find on dishes manufactured at HLC include:
Designs produced by Homer Laughlin China
Company (HLC) include:
A great many decals were used to decorate dishes.
Some of the decals have names, but many were not named.
Homer Laughlin dishes have not only been sold to the public, but also were used as supermarket promotions, free items inside products like oats and detergent, and also have a strong history as restaurant ware. The dishes were used for a variety of other items such as calendar plates. Many companies commissioned HLC to create advertisement items such as ashtrays and mugs.
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