1998 Frank S. Child Award

SGCDpro Honors Homer Laughlin China Company

Marcus Aaron, President of Homer Laughlin China Co., (left) accepts Frank S. Child Award from Dave Ulmer, SGCDpro Immediate Past President.

SGCDpro presented the annual Frank S. Child Award to the Homer Laughlin China Co., Newell, WV, at the organization's annual banquet in September. The SGCDpro Board of Directors selected Homer Laughlin Co. to honor its long history of outstanding design and product innovation related to Fiestaware.

The Child Award is generally given to an individual; however, a company award was presented this year to honor the many people — both living and dead — who were involved in the development of Fiestaware. Marcus Aaron, Homer Laughlin's President, accepted the award. Homer Laughlin China has been owned and managed by the Aaron and Wells families since 1897 with Joe Wells III serving as company CEO.

The Fiestaware line was launched in 1936, and it is now among the most collected tableware patterns in the world. Fiesta was discontinued in 1973 and reintroduced in 1986 using original molds and contemporary colors. Homer Laughlin celebrated production of its 500-millionth piece on December 5, 1997, and it is believed that no other product in dinnerware history has been produced in such quantity.

To commemorate the event, the company produced a special art deco centerpiece bowl using a special raspberry glaze which was developed exclusively for the occasion. Production was limited to 500 numbered pieces which were distributed to company shareholders and members of the Aaron and Wells families. In addition, 15 of the commemorative raspberry bowls were sold at auction to collectors with proceeds benefiting charities. A bowl was also presented to SGCDpro by Marcus Aaron during the Child Award presentation for display at the organization's headquarters in Washington, DC.

Fiestaware's status as an American cultural icon is further enhanced by the existence of the Fiesta Club of America which holds annual meetings to promote collecting opportunities. Homer Laughlin Co. remains one of the largest potteries in America employing 1,100 skilled worked at a 37 acre facility. The company was first founded in 1871 by Homer Laughlin and his brother Shakespeare in East Liverpool, OH. Operations were moved across the Ohio River to West Virginia in 1907.

The Frank S. Child Award is presented in honor of Frank Child — SGCDpro's first executive secretary. Carl Strutz Jr., president of Carl Strutz & Co., was the Child Award recipient in 1997. The honoree is selected by the SGCDpro Board of Directors after nominations are accepted from any member.

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reprinted from Ceramic Industry Magazine