Made in Newell, West Virginia
Yesterday we visited Homer Laughlin (Fiestaware) and Hall China companies. These guys are the biggest ceramic producers left in the US, and to see their history and current production was amazing. Homer’s offices are in an unbelievably completely original turn of the century building. The plant covers something like 36 acres. Hall is just across the river and housed in a 1930’s structure also very much trapped in time, and equally remakable in many ways. There are lots of fancy new production machines at both plants, but they live along side relics from the past (which are a lot more like Heath’s production). Everyone we meet was warm, interesting, and seemed to love their work and ceramics. They were happy to share their history and process with us. We were amazed by the size of these places and the blend between the past and present. Homer Laughlin was founded in 1871 and still is family owned, last year they bought Hall. Most other US potteries got bought up by larger companies over the years, and closed down as the parent company’s spreadsheets looked better when they outsourced the manufacturing and discarded the infrastructure. Both Homer Laughlin and Hall have an amazing story and make beautiful products, I hope people realize that they can still get their products so they have the support they need to continue to produce here where they started.
A few pictures from the 100’s we took are below, the last two are examples of some of the classic ceramics that have come out of these plants.
One plant entry.
The gigantic original office building complete with castle details.
The turn of the century showroom!! Showing current and past products everything is in amazing condition.
Lots of white cups for restaurants.
The endless sea of buildings at Hall.
Left over signs from the days (before lots of lawsuits) when people could take a self tour of the plant.
So many rows of carts of finished ware. Many larger pieces of Homer Laughlin’s Fiestaware line and produced at Hall.
Ceramic Hall refrigerator pieces (came with Westinghouse refrigerators I think).
Eva Zeisal’s mid-century shapes produced by Hall.