When I first sat down to write my previous post on the cookbooks Abigail passed along, I intended to mention, but mostly skip over the fiestaware pieces in the box of goodies. I’ve collected fiestaware for probably close to twenty years and we’ve used it as our every day ware since we were married, having received a good amount of it as wedding presents. Knowing this, Abigail thought I would enjoy having a few pieces that belonged to her grandmother. In addition to a sugar bowl and creamer set in yellow, there was a sauce boat, large bowl and a large spoon in what we thought was orange. Being a fan of orange, I was quite excited about my new dishes.
As I began to write, I thought I’d google the pieces to see if I could get a feel for how old the pieces where. The orange certainly didn’t match my newer orange pieces and while neither the weird spoon thing nor the sauce boat were marked, they were the same color as the bowl, which was marked. As I fell down that particular rabbit hole, I stumbled upon a vintage Fiesta website, where I discovered the previously known ‘weird spoon thing’ was actually a Fiesta Kitchen Kraft Salad Spoon in the original red, otherwise known as Radioactive Red.
The color is now known as “Radioactive Red” because uranium-oxide was used to create the vivid orange-red color. The government took control of the company’s uranium stocks in 1944, when the color was discontinued until after World War II. The color wasn’t made again until 1959, but at least one of the pieces in question, the Salad Spoon, was only made in the years 1939 -1944, which leaves me wondering how old the other items are.
As I mentioned, the sauce boat is not marked, but as it sat on the dining room table next week next to my marked yellow sauce boat of later vintage, Edie commented on how the markings are EXACTLY the same. And somewhere on the internet, I found where not all early fiesta ware pieces are marked, so it could possibly be legit. We certainly think it is.
The bowl, the same size as what is now called the ‘large bowl’ is called a ‘nappy bowl’ on the vintage site. Along with the sauce boat, it’s in mint condition, while the spoon has the tiniest chip in the paint. I’ve read conflicting things about whether these pieces are safe to use – it seems if there are no cracks or chips, we should be okay. At any rate, I think the spoon will get hung on the dining room wall along with the sweet little mould Abigail also passed along, some berry prints I’ve had for eons and the vintage seed catalog page Edie & Pat got me for my birthday this year. I’m not sure how I feel about using the other pieces yet.
One thing I don’t have to worry about “to use or not use” is the yellow sugar bowl and creamer Abigail shared with me. Another piece of original fiesta ware, this color did not require uranium to make it. The finial on the top of the sugar bowl has been visibly repaired, but as I’m not a serious collector, just a serious user, that doesn’t matter to me. I like that it’s clearly been used and loved and we’ve already begun to continue that practice. I like to swap out my sugar bowl on a regular basis – always under the excuse of keeping them clean – and I frequently use creamers, especially at breakfast, to serve sauces and what not. I like having a little bit of Abigail’s family on my kitchen counter and at my breakfast table.
Thank you Abigail.