Destination WV

Colorful West Virginia made tableware still the nation’s most popular after 85 years

Destination WV

NEWELL, WV (WTRF) – The Homer Laughlin China Company opened in 1871 and introduced their Fiesta line in 1936.

People loved it.

“The intention was to give people something bright and colorful to lift their spirits during the Depression,” said Katie Bricker, director of marketing.

Now, 85 years later, people still love the Fiesta ware and the company brings out a new color each year. The latest is a deep blue color called “Twilight.”

They also have a decorated line for people who love the seashore.

“Our Coastal line has been really popular with people at the beach, or people who just want to be at the beach,” Bricker said.

The company says their most popular color at the moment is turquoise, surpassing scarlet, which held the top spot for many years.

Fiesta Tableware Company, Newell, W.Va.

Twice a year, the company holds a tent sale, bringing in bargain hunters by the thousands.

“They’ll camp out so they can be the first ones in line,” Bricker noted. “I was working in the tent this year and I met people from Missouri, Arkansas, Denver and Florida.”

But every day, people come to the Outlet Store.

“Both my daughters collect Fiesta ware and I need a birthday present for July,” said Nancy Shehata, a customer from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. “So this is the place to come.”

The family’s dog was there, too, to make his own choices. Fiesta now even has a pet ware line, including dog and cat bowls and treat jars.

Fiesta is durable, the company says. They have heard many from people who say they dropped a dish, and damaged the floor but not the dish.

“The cup or the plate is still intact, but the floor can’t say the same,” said Bricker. “We’ve heard of people chipping and breaking tile and slate flooring!”

Homer Laughlin’s food service operation has been sold—along with the Homer Laughlin name—to Steelite International in England. Now, their Newell operation is called the Fiesta Tableware Company.

The 53 vibrant solid colors can be mixed and matched, bought by the set or by the piece, to brighten up any space.

“I’ve been collecting the small disc pitchers in all the different colors that are produced,” said Nancy Shehata, whose kitchen is all stainless steel. “And they just liven up the kitchen a bit.”

The Fiesta Tableware Company is the largest pottery producer in the country. The New York Times has called Fiesta “the most collected brand of china in the United States.”

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