Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, November 15, 2010

Collections, part one

I have heard if you have two of something, it's a pair, but three or more makes it a collection. There must be several collections in my house but only a few that make the list. In the next few posts I'd like to share with you some of my better collections, beginning with Homer Laughlin china. The Homer Laughlin China Company was started in Ohio in 1871; the location was probably chosen because of the clays which produced a type of pottery known as "yellow ware". The company is one of the largest in the world and still manufactures today with the popular "Fiesta" line. Many patterns were sold in the Sears and Wards catalogs. I can remember page after page of dinnerware sets in the catalogs, but of course had no knowledge of its origin. Mama was never able to purchase pretty dishes; however, in her advanced years, one of her sisters-in-law gave her a set of china. When I got interested in HLC and looked at the stamp on the back of those dishes, imagine my surprise to learn what she had.

The first dated entry of my collection was in October, 1997. The little notebook contained dates of purchase, the amount I paid for the item, the name of the pattern, the date on the item, and the store where I found it. Most of my purchases were made at flea markets. I didn't do yard sales; maybe there would have been more choices if I had. One woman who ran a local market had a reference book on the counter, so I wasn't going to get something for nothing from her. Christmas gifts in 1997 from the girls were pieces of china they had found for me.

The platter (below) was one of my first finds. It is in excellent condition. That's another thing: when I first started, anything with an HLC stamp on the back, was a temptation for me to buy regardless of condition. As a result I have some pieces that have nicks or chips and some have a lot of crazing (I call them age marks).

Below is a covered dish, or casserole, which is probably the oldest piece I have with a date of 1906. It's really in good condition considering its age. The plate is so neat with the "Colonial Kitchen" pattern. It's a little faded.

No collection is complete without a blue willow plate. The covered casserole dish has the "Apple Blossom" pattern and is like new. Both of these pieces are dated, 1945.

This covered dish sat on top of the refrigerator at Mama's for years, never used. It is in the "Autumn Gold" pattern; these were probably distributed as grocery store promotional items. The plate is known as a commemorative because it has a picture of a special place. This one happens to be a picture of the chapel at the University of the Ozarks where Noel and I were married almost 50 years ago.

The following picture is just so cute; I'd like to have a whole set like this. It's pattern is called "American Provincial", a Pennsylvania Dutch design. I guess is depicts our farm life pretty well.

And last, but not least, is the pattern, "Jean", which was given to Mama. Its pattern color is a very soft one. The guide book says these must have been sold in large quantities because they are easy to find.

I haven't bought any pieces of china in several years; there's just no place to set anything else. Some of my plates are behind glass in the china cabinet and the rest are down in the bottom shelves. Every now and then I take out a couple of plates for us to eat from. I like the idea of mismatched dishes; must have been how we ate when I was a child. I'd like to buy more (I love the feel of stoneware). I wish I had only collected platters or sugar bowls and creamers instead of snatching up any and everything. I hope you'll look in your cabinets, look on the bottom of any old plates you have, and see if there's an HLC hiding there. You might be surprised.



  1. I remember getting that china for you...I thought I had found a treasure trove at that one store and felt really silly when I found out the plates weren't really even collectable :(

    But I guess they've made good plates and saucers to use for every day!

  2. Thanks for an interesting history lesson on Homer Laughlin China. You display your pieces so beautifully!

  3. I love Homer Laughlin and have many pieces of it. I have the wheat covered casserole dish. I got it at a yard sale. You will have to post your Fiesta some day for all to see.