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You are here: Home China Homer Laughlin China Brief History on the Homer Laughlin China Co.

Brief History of the Homer Laughlin Company

Information on Homer Laughlin China Company.

the homer laughlin plant in liverpool   Homer Laughlin China Company
  By: Dave Strum

The original Homer Laughlin China Company was founded in 1871 in East Liverpool, Ohio by Homer Laughlin and his brother Shakespeare Laughlin. It was a two kiln pottery. The business grew very slowly until 1876 when the merits of the ware were recognized at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here the ware received the highest award possible.

The pottery continued to expand until 1897 when Homer Laughlin withdrew from the business. Homer Laughlin purchased a farm from the Newell family in Newell, West Virginia. Mr. Laughlin, along with W. E. Wells, Sr., then founded the Homer Laughlin China Company at its present site in Newell, WV. The growth of the company was remarkable. The first unit was built in 1906.

homer laughlin china company

The first pottery was the largest single pottery unit in the world. It consited of 30 kilns under one roof. In 1914 another unit was built and a 3rd unit in 1924. Two more units were bulit in 1927 and 1931. The kilns in plants #4 and #5 were completely remodled and tunnel kilns were built to replace the old beehive type kilns. With the pottery moving to Newell, it was necessary to construct a suspension bridge across the Ohio River between Newell and East Liverpool, Ohio, as well as a street car line to make it possible for the many skilled workers to get back and forth to work. It took about 2 1/2 years to build the bridge, which today is still owned and operated by the Homer Laughlin China Company as a toll bridge.

W. E. Wells, Sr. was a supervisor of this operation. Mr. Wells was considered one of the best business minds in America. Homer Laughlin China Company is the largest producer of dinner ware in the United States. It produces decorated ware, colored glazed ware and white ware. The Fiesta Ware is the most popular. The Homer Laughlin China Company continues to be one of the largest employers in Hancock County.