Jan

Homer Laughlin Question

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Please help. I have several pieces of my grandmother's Homer Laughlin china from the 1930s, at least I believe that's when she obtained them. They have a pale yellow background with flowers around the edge. The flowers are either a dark orange (maybe red) and yellow, each design with two flowers, one of each color. The small plates and saucers are square as are the small dishes. The small dishes have four sets of the flowers around the edge. The back says HOMER LAUGHLIN, MADE IN U.S.A. Then there are numbers, on the little dishes, F 34 N 8, and on the plates what looks like E 3 N 6 (maybe 8). Can anyone help, please. The flowers look rather like poppies. I checked a Red Poppy pattern for Homer Laughlin and that's not it. Thank you so much.

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Trying to identify Homer Laughlin dishes can be frustrating. First of all, there are two distinct elements that make up a "pattern." The first is the shape, and the second is the decorative decal. Since the 1920s (although the company goes back to 1899), it has produced many (60 or 70 at least) different shapes and used hundreds of different decals and parts of decals in endless combinations. It is estimated by Homer Laughlin officials that this practice has resulted in as many as 35,000 patterns in the more than 100 years they have been in operation. Some of those patterns have names, but many, many pattern names have been lost to antiquity. For example, I have an almost complete set of Century (that's a shape) C41 (that's the decal).

Okay, that said, from your description I think your dishes are the Century shape since that's the only truly square shape they made. Actually, Century dishes are square with three little rounded scallops in each corner. I am really at sea about the decal, however. Homer Laughlin: Decades of Dinnerware is the most complete book I know of for identifying HLC dishes. It pictures hundreds and hundreds of patterns. I looked through all the Century shapes pictured and did find one that uses red and yellow flowers. The decal shows a red flower and a smaller yellow flower and a few green leaves, and it appears in each of the four corners of the plate. It is identified as MS43. How's that for a pattern name! Of course, without seeing a photo of your pattern, I cannot be certain.

Now the backstamps. F 34 N 8: "F" is the sixth letter in the alphabet, so that means your dish was made in June. The next number is the year of manufacture, 1934, and N-8 means that the dish was produced in Plant No. 8. Your second backstamp, E 3 N 6, is a mystery. HLC used a single digit to identify the year of production during the 1920s, but began using double digits in 1930. However, the problem with that is that HLC did not begin production of the Century shape until 1931. I cannot explain that one. Perhaps an old backstamp found its way into production. Who knows.

Even though this is not exactly the definitive information you are seeking, I hope that it sheds a little light on the subject. If you have any questions, ask away.

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You describe the pieces perfectly. When my scanner gets to working, I'll post a picture that will help. Well, perhaps. With 35,000 patterns, I'm not very optimistic at more specific information. But what you gave me is fantastic. Thanks so much!!

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