Print | Back to e-WV The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Frederick Hurten Rhead


Ceramist Frederick Hurten Rhead (August 29, 1880-November 2, 1942) designed the famous Fiestaware line of tableware while working at the Homer Laughlin China Company in Newell, Hancock County. Born in Staffordshire, England, he came to America in 1902.

Rhead held responsible positions from age 19 in the Wardle Pottery in England, and later worked at potteries across the United States. He received a Gold Medal at the 1915 San Diego Exposition for his design of mirror black, a re-creation of the 17th-century Chinese K’ang Hsi glaze.

Rhead was at the top of his profession when he joined the Laughlin Company in 1927. He potted, taught, wrote, created glazes and shapes, and designed the Fiesta line in 1936. Rhead created other Laughlin tableware designs as well, including the popular Virginia Rose and Harlequin, a colorful successor to Fiesta. Rhead worked for the rest of his career at Homer Laughlin, moving to New York shortly before his death.

Written by James R. Mitchell


  1. Huxford, Bob & Sharon Huxford. Collector's Encyclopedia of Fiesta. Paducah: Collector Books, 1992.