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Retro: April 15

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Don’t you love the vibrancy of Retro design? Red and white dominated in kitchens on surfaces that were meant to be very easy to keep clean and very functional. Dishes got colorful. Even the gasoline pumps were vibrant. We’d like to thank Ellie for sharing this photo with our Dusty Old Thing community on Facebook. Her family used to have a gas station and she rescued the vintage pump globes from their barn and put lights in them. Just love it!

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Luis collects vintage Fiesta, focusing on the six original colors: Red (orange red), Blue (cobalt), Green (light green), Yellow (deep golden), Old Ivory (yellowish cream), and Turquise (robin’s egg blue).

Fiesta, introduced by the Homer Laughlin Company in 1936, was a pronounced move away from the standard type of china that was frequently Victorian, that came in matching sets and all had the same decal design. Although Fiesta was radically new, it was not the first line of colorful dinnerware. Bauer in California had created their Ringware 7 years before. But Fiesta’s early marketing made it into a middle-class status symbol. It highlighted COLOR (in all-caps) as “the trend today” and FUN, the way to give a hostess the opportunity to create her own table effects. The lines were Art Deco and it was very popular in middle-class households in that period before WWII.

Sales of Fiesta fell during and after WWII. The company tried many changes in colors, glazes and shapes but finally stopped production in 1973. Almost immediately it became desired by collectors; some scoured newly popular garage and yard sales to buy up the pieces. Prices for rarer pieces and colors skyrocketed. Homer Laughlin, seeing the craze, reintroduced the line in 1986 marking the 50th anniversary of Fiesta. It has remained popular.

Today collectors need to know about clay, glazes, colors, shapes and sizes in order to know when a piece really was produced. Fortunately there are books and online resources to assist. It is one of those symbols of “retro”.

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Stoves, as this one posted by JoeVintage, carried more features after WWII as manufacturing transitioned to peacetime production and marketing promoted the newest in kitchen appliances.

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And, as Sandra shows, Chenille wasn’t just for bedspreads.

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Yes, polka dots, the use of wrought iron after WWII, and red and white are all perfect Retro. Glassware sets in metal baskets appealed to families who may have put in their first patio and outdoor bbq. Thanks, Dottie, for this photo!

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And from Sonny…the best car in the world ever. 55 Chevy. Remember those summer vacations in cars like this? Kids in the back, no AC, sleeping in the floor and sometimes even on the back window ledge, packing a picnic lunch. You thought you could go forever…

We’d like to thank all our readers who upload their photos of antiques and vintage items to our Facebook page. We love hearing the descriptions and family stories. Social media allows us to learn from each other and to share parts of the cultural history of days gone by.

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