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Homer Laughlin Fiestaware: The Fiesta Colors

Cut to the chase; see the Fiesta production years by color.

1936  
Fiesta, or Fiestaware, was first presented in 1936, at which time there were five colors: green, yellow, ivory, blue, and red. It should be noted that the red is quite orange, the green is often called "light green", the yellow is brilliant, and the blue is deep, often called "dark blue" or "cobalt".
 
1937  
Turquoise was added to the colorful line-up of Fiestaware.
 
1943  
The production of red Fiesta was suspended because the manufacture of the red glaze required uranium oxide and the government had taken control of all uranium oxide in support of the war effort. Production of red Fiesta would resume again, but not until 1959. For more information, see Radioactive Red Fiesta.
 
1946  
According to company literature, the colors available were green, yellow, ivory, blue, and turquoise.
 
1951  
Ivory, light green, and dark blue were retired. The available colors were turquoise, yellow, chartreuse, rose, gray, and forest green. The four added colors are often referred to as the "50s colors".
 
1959  
Fiesta red returned. At about the same time, the "50s colors" were retired and a new color, medium green, was added. So the Fiesta color line-up became red, yellow, turquoise, and medium green. Because medium green was a later addition, not as many were made, making it in general the most valuable color to collectors in the 21st century. (Wondering if your piece of Fiesta is medium green? See How to Tell if Fiesta is Medium Green)
 
1962  
Fiesta Casuals were introduced. Some people will remember them from the Plaid Stamp catalog as these designs were offered there. Two designs were presented: Hawaiian 12-Point Daisy, and Yellow Carnations. An Hawaiian 12-Point Carnation Fiesta  plate had a white background with a circular arrangement of turquoise and brown mod-looking daisies and a turquoise band around the rim. The cups and bowls were solid turquoise. A Yellow Carnation plate had a white background with a circular arrangement of yellow and brown flowers and a yellow band around the rim. The cups and bowls were solid yellow. These designs were Fiesta in both molds and in name. They were not very popular, making them hard to find today.
 
1967  
The Homer Laughlin China Company created a new dinnerware known as Amberstone. Amberstone was sold under the name "Genuine Sheffield", but since many of the pieces used the same molds as Fiesta, Amberstone is often referred today as "brown Fiesta" (though it was not called that at the time). It was available to the public through store promotions only. The color is always brown and the plates, saucer, and the butter lid display a black decoration under the brown glaze. Fiesta was still being made while Amberstone was in production. Not all of the pieces used the Fiesta molds, and many of the handles were different, but the Fiesta molds for plates were used (and bear the tell-tale Fiesta rings), so a discussion of Fiesta would be incomplete without mentioning Amberstone, even though it was not really "Fiestaware".
Amberstone Dinner PlateAmberstone Sugar Bowl
 
1968  
Production of Fiesta Casuals ceased.
 
1969  
Fiesta underwent a big change: Fiesta Ironstone was born. The colors available in Fiesta Ironstone were Antique Gold, Turf Green, and Mango Red. Mango Red was actually just the ever-popular red, but with a snappy new name. Fiesta was restyled, but in reality, this more modern-looking Fiesta used the same molds as Amberstone. See more about Fiesta Ironstone.

This was the end of Medium Green, Yellow, and Turquoise.
Turf Green Dinner Plate
 

1972  
The production of Mango Red ceased.
 
1973  
The Homer Laughlin China Company added a second dinnerware line (in addition to Amberstone) to become supermarket promotional items. It was called Casualstone and was sold under the name Coventry. Casualstone looked like Antique Gold Fiesta Ironstone, but sometimes with the addition of a dark gold decoration. Casualstone, like Amberstone, was not marketed as Fiesta, but the shapes are the same as the Fiesta of the day.
Casualstone Dinner PlateCasualstone Cup and Saucer
 
1973  
Production of Fiesta ceased.
 
1986  
Fiesta was re-introduced. The colors were white, black, apricot, cobalt, and rose. The apricot can be described as a peachy beige, the cobalt is deeper and darker than original blue, and the rose is not dusty, but is simply pink. Original Fiesta had been made of semi-vitreous china, but the new Fiesta is made of vitreous china, making it more heavier, more durable, less porous, thereby more suitable for restaurant use. New molds were needed for use with vitreous china, but the new Fiesta does strongly resemble the original, though some items were restyled and many sport different finials.
 
1987  
Yellow was added. It was a very pale pastel yellow, quite different from yellow in the original line. Yellow had a long run - until 2002.
 
1988  
Turquoise was added. This turquoise is substantially more green than the turquoise in the original line.
 
1989  
Periwinkle, a soft light blue, was added.
 
1991  
Sea mist, a pale green, was introduced. This green is reminiscent of the color of jadeite. This color would continue to be produced until December 31, 2005.
 
1993  
Lilac, a deep lavender, was added and it was announced that this color would have a production time limited to two years.
 
1996  
Persimmon, a reddish-orange, was added.
 
1996  
Lilac production had ceased.
 
1996  
Sapphire, a brilliant blue not as dark as cobalt, was introduced and was limited to 180 firing-days during the winter 1996-1997. Not all pieces were made in this color. These pieces were produced exclusively for Bloomingdales.
 
1997  
Another color limited to a two-year run was introduced. The color name is chartreuse and it's much like the chartreuse from the 50s colors.
 
1997  
The 500-millionth piece of Fiesta was manufactured. To celebrate, 500 Fiesta Presentation Bowls were glazed in Raspberry glaze and auctioned for charity. These 500 bowls are the only known pieces in that color.
 
1999  
Pearl gray and Juniper were added. Pearl gray is a bit lighter than 50s gray. Juniper is a dark teal green.
 
2000  
Cinnabar was added. Cinnabar is another dark color - brownish maroon. Chartreuse production had ceased.
 
2001  
Sunflower, a bright yellow, was added.
 
2002  
Plum and Shamrock were introduced. Plum is a very dark, deep purple. Shamrock is different from any of the previous greens. It is a tad olive. Juniper production had ceased, and Yellow was also retiring.
 
2003  
Tangerine, a light bright orange was added.
 
2004  
Much to the delight of consumers and collectors, primary red was finally added. HLC named this bright color Scarlet.
 
2005  
Peacock was added. Peacock is a bright blue that might more accurately be described as like turquoise than Fiesta's current Turquoise can be.
 
2006  
Heather was added. Heather is another purple. It's relatively easy to distinguish the purples, though (except in photos where lighting can have a big effect). Heather is much lighter than Plum and "dustier" than Lilac. Periwinkle scheduled to be discontinued on December 31, 2006.
 

 

Fiesta Ware Production Years by Color

Red   1936 - 1943 & 1959 - 1971 (known as Mango Red 1969-1971)
Blue (Cobalt)   1936 - 1951
Green (Light)   1936 - 1951
Yellow (Old)   1936 - 1969
Ivory   1936 - 1951
Turquoise (Old)   1937 - 1969
Forest Green   1951 - 1959
Rose (Old)   1951 - 1959
Chartreuse (Old)   1951 - 1959
Gray   1951 - 1959
Medium Green   1959 - 1969
Antique Gold   1969 - 1972
Turf Green   1969 - 1972
White   1986 -
Black   1986 -
Rose (New)   1986 - 12/31/2005
Apricot   1986 - 1998
Cobalt   1986 -
Yellow (New)   1987 - 2002
Turquoise (New)   1988 -
Periwinkle   1989 - 2006*
Sea Mist   1991 - 12/31/2005
Lilac   1993 - 1995
Persimmon   1995 -
Sapphire   1996 - 1997 (only 180 firing-days, all were that winter)
Chartreuse (New)   1997 - 1999
Pearl Gray   1999 - 12/31/2001
Juniper   1999 - 12/31/2001
Cinnabar   2000 -
Sunflower   2001 -
Plum   2002 -
Shamrock   2002 -
Tangerine   2003 -
Scarlet   2004 -
Peacock   2005 -
Heather   2006 -

*Periwinkle is scheduled to be retired at the end of 2006.

The designer of these revolutionary dishes was Frederick H. Rhead, who held the position of art director at Homer Laughlin China Company from 1927 until his death in 1942.
 

 

 


Please send any comments, corrections, questions, or concerns to TwistedDisher@gmail.com.