Homer Laughlin Pottery
Homer Laughlin Pottery is a U.S pottery manufacturer.
Brief History and Description
Homer and Shakespeare Laughlin were two brothers who set up the Homer Laughlin Pottery factory in East Liverpool, Ohio in 1871. It was initially known as Ohio Valley Pottery. Shakespeare quit the business to pursue other interests in 1877.
Later, in 1897 Homer Laughlin also sold his shares in the company to the new owners, W. E. Wells, Louis I. Aaron, and Aaron's sons, Marcus and Charles I. Aaron. Homer then relocated to Los Angeles but remained a corporate board member for several years. Although Homer sold his shares, the factory continued to function under the name, Homer Laughlin China Company which continues to this date.
Today, the Wells family owns and operates the Homer Laughlin China Company. The new owners expanded their production capacity rapidly to open three new factories in East Liverpool by 1903. The fourth plant was opened in 1907 in Newell, followed by the fifth plant in 1914. The next two plants were built in 1923, followed by the eighth plant in 1929, which was set up to make products for Woolworths alone. However, all the production facilities in Ohio were closed down during 1929.
The 105 year old partnership between the Wells and Aaron families ended during 2002, when the Wells family purchased the shares of the Aarons. The two families had worked as partners for over four generations.
In June 2002, Joe Wells, the Executive Vice President and General Manager, was elected as the new President of Homer Laughlin Company.
Guide for Collectors
Collectors should make note of HLCCA or the Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association. It is a non-profit organization that consists of historians, antique dealers, collectors and others who share an interest in Homer Laughlin dinnerware and pottery products that have been made from 1873 to date.
There are also books that have been written on Homer Laughlin, two of them being Collector’s Guide to Homer Laughlin's Virginia Rose - Identification and Values by Richard G. Racheter and Collectors Encyclopedia of Homer Laughlin China by Joanne Jasper. While the former is more of an exhaustive reference guide to Homer Laughlin's Virginia Rose, it also provides information on their other products. It also gives information on where to pick up rare antiques and at good prices. The other book, Collectors Encyclopedia of Homer Laughlin China by Joanne Jasper shows the evolution of the Homer Laughlin designs throughout the years.
Notable Auction Sales
A 1930s Homer Laughlin glazed earthenware 92 piece dinner service comprising of two covered serving dishes, two open serving dishes, two sauce boats, three graduated platters, eleven cups and twelve saucers, bread and butter plates, side plates salad/luncheon plates, fruit bowls and soup dishes, each with the firm's stamp was auctioned off for a premium price of $488 at Bonhams, Los Angeles.
A Homer Laughlin earthenware 72 piece dinner service, which consisted of three platters, twenty-two salad plates, twelve dessert plates, two gravy boats, four creamers, fourteen tea cups, and fifteen saucers was auctioned off for a premium price of $120 at Bonhams, New York
A Homer Laughlin plate was auctioned off at a premium price of £115 (which was estimated between £20 and £100) at the 20th Century Continental Decorative Arts Auction held at Christie’s, London on 5th December, 1997.
A Homer Laughlin Fiestaware nesting bowl set consisting of five Fiestaware ceramic nesting bowls was auctioned off for $120 at Pacific Galleries.