Homer Laughlin China's Fiesta Has Unique History And A New Color - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Homer Laughlin China's Fiesta Has A Unique History And A New Color

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It's the nation's largest domestic producer of dinnerware.

Homer Laughlin China of Newell is reportedly suing two other companies for selling what they believe are cheap Chinese knockoffs, imitating their legendary Fiesta.

Why is Fiesta allegedly being copied?

Its makers and collectors say it's a unique pattern that just gets better with time.

Homer Laughlin China has been making Fiesta for 75 years.

They're up to their 44th color.

But the one color people talk most about is the one they can't get--Fiesta Red.

The glaze was made with uranium oxide.

It was dinnerware that would literally set off a Geiger counter.

"People have called and asked if they should bury it in the back yard," says Dave Conley, Homer Laughlin's historian. "I tell them they can go ahead and use it all they want to, but what they really should do is put it on eBay and sell it because it's highly collectible and collectors will pay a lot of money for the original Fiesta Red!"

Fiesta came out in 1936 to brighten the lives of Depression-weary Americans.

Its bright colors caught the nation's fancy but it was the design that kept it popular through the years.

"At that time, Art Deco was very trendy, so it was popular immediately." says Conley. "By the third full year of production, we sold over 10 million pieces of Fiesta."

The most popular color of all time is Scarlet.

The newest color soon to be released is Lapis.

And the conventional wisdom about Fiesta?

You don't just buy it once.

"Probably Lemongrass is my all-time favorite," mused Pam Kammer of Kentucky, shopping at the Fiesta Factory Outlet. "But they just came out with a Lapis that is not available right now. So I think that's going to be my new favorite color."

Collectors go to an annual convention.

Fanciers to the giant tent sale twice a year, where hundreds stand in line for hours for legendary bargains.

"There are many folks who plan their vacations around the tent sale," says Don Williams, marketing manager. "We have one woman from Arizona, a school teacher, who comes every year to our tent sale."

Outside the factory is a colorful pile of smashed china.

Unlike glassware, they say, the mistakes can't be melted down and re-used.

But another business comes and picks it up by the truckload every week.

They make countertops out of it.