The Homer Laughlin China Company
The Homer Laughlin China Company owes its origin to a two-kiln pottery on the banks of the Ohio River in East Liverpool, Ohio. Built in 1871 by Homer Laughlin and his brother Shakespeare, the Laughlin Pottery was one of the first whiteware plants in the country.
In 1897, Mr. Laughlin sold his interest to William Edwin Wells and Louis I. Aaron. Since then, successive generations of the two families have continued to manage the company. With the success of the company came rapid growth. Three new plants replaced the original facility. In 1907, the headquarters and a new 30-kiln plant were built across the Ohio River in Newell, West Virginia, the present manufacturing and headquarters location. At this time the company operated 62 production kilns and 48 decorating kilns, providing a capacity of 30,000 pieces of finished pottery per day-- a full 10% of the dishes purchased in the United States.
The turning point in the artistic focus of the company came in 1927 with the addition of noted ceramist Frederick Hurton Rhead. His design vision would culminate in the 1936 introduction of FiestaŽ, Homer Laughlin's bestselling line, and today one of the most collected china products in the world.
Until 1959, Homer Laughlin made only semi-vitrified earthenware products for the consumer markets. With the introduction of a new, fully vitrified china line, the company was now able to participate in the restaurant/hotel markets.
The hotel/restaurant introduction was such a success that Homer Laughlin concentrated its efforts on the foodservice market and continued to add new shapes, patterns and decorating techniques throughout the 60's and 70's. The reintroduction of FiestaŽ in 1986 as a high-fire, fully vitrified, lead-free product redefined the standard for both food service and retail china products.
Pictures and information were provided by the Homer Laughlin China Company
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