A LEGENDARY NAME IN AMERICAN CHINA
THAT STOOD THE TEST OF TIME.
A great partnership begins when strong meets strong. Butch and Sundance. Lewis and Clark. Fred and Ginger. The brothers Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin. These names are associated with American culture—informal or formal, casual or one-of-a-kind, Homer Laughlin in particular. Today, when we hear the name Homer Laughlin, we think of classic, sturdy, signature American china from decades past. For generations, Homer Laughlin has been a leader in the production of restaurant and hotel grade china, used throughout the country. Headquartered in West Virginia, the company has miraculously survived as the last privately owned, original restaurant ware company still operating and producing all their wares in the United States.
The origins of the Homer Laughlin China Company can be traced back to 1871 when brothers Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin formed a partnership to sell pottery ware produced in factories located in their hometown. The Laughlin Brothers quickly gained a reputation for quality and, in 1876, their white granite ware won an award at the United States Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. In 1897, Homer Laughlin retired, selling the business to William Edwin Wells who partnered with Louis A. Aaron of Pittsburgh as a financial partner. From the new ownership came accelerated growth, with a second plant opening within two years, and several additional plants to follow through the 1920s.
MARKS OF EXCELLENCE
While the company flourished throughout the twenties, the 1930s and 40s marked the most prolific period of product introductions in the company’s history. Frederick Hurten Rhead was hired as design director in 1927 and his most famous accomplishment was the introduction of Fiesta. With Fiesta leading the way, Homer Laughlin continued to prosper and flourish until the onset of World War II. During the war years, production was shifted to the creation of china for the armed forces. Following the war, the company reached it’s peak production in 1948 with more than 3,000 workers producing over ten million pieces of ware.
The company experienced challenges during the sixties and seventies, as low-cost imports began to cut into the marketplace. Homer Laughlin’s hotel china became a prominent player in the food service industry, eventually replacing retail dinnerware in sales volume. Today, Homer Laughlin remains a leader in commercial china with lead-free wares. Fiesta was reintroduced in the 1980s and regained its role as a top seller in the retail marketplace once again.
HOMER LAUGHLIN AND YEARBOOK
When Yearbook opened in 2011, we began a working relationship with the Homer Laughlin China Company to produce limited reissues of classic patterns previously discontinued by this iconic manufacturer of American tableware. Patterns such as Grey Spray, American Rose, and Maroon Tides are among Homer Laughlin classics available at Yearbook. In 2014, we also re-introduced Classic White rolled edge china from Homer Laughlin. The whites, a standard pattern, are interchangeable with almost any style of china—contemporary to traditional—as well as any pattern of silver or silver plate. Still in production, white rolled-edge china is a classic in homes, restaurants, and private clubs which pride themselves on understated elegance.
Yearbook has partnered with Homer Laughlin to produce our exclusive private designs as well. Our original Service Series plates, inspired by transportation of the 1930s and 40s, are regularly produced by Homer Laughlin for Yearbook. The iconic Swim Club mug and snack plate, as well as the Kickoff plate, have become Yearbook classics. All have been produced by Homer Laughlin exclusively for Yearbook since 2012. And of course our signature Yearbook Megaphone mug is a YB standard—always in stock.
Look for new exclusives in the future, designed by Yearbook and produced by Homer Laughlin. Still made in the U.S.A.