Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Radioactive Red Fiestaware Find

Last weekend was our community-wide yard sale. My son (aka "Eagle Eye") and I had been looking forward to this for weeks, and it didn't disappoint. We were up and at'em by eight and many people were still just setting up their stuff. Perfect- we didn't miss anything!

At the first group of sales (in the churchyard) I bought this flamingo pink Pyrex casserole for $1. I love this size and to find one in pink was sweet!


I also bought these two awesome light-up religious icons. (I seem to have cornered the market lately on religious kitsch!) They're headed to the antique store booth.

 So is this Stangl ashtray:

I bought this vintage ring box from the same lady. I paid $5 for both the ashtray and ring box.

These 2 sets of salt and pepper shakers were $1 for both.

Remember my Kustom bathroom scale project? I found another one to work on this winter. It's all there and works fine, and as you can see, the price was right. I'm thinking about doing this one black and silver. 

But this was the find of the day:

This orange pitcher caught my eye. Of course, I picked it up and turned it over and noted that it said "fiesta Kitchen Kraft" on the bottom. Now, I know next to nothing about Fiestaware. I have some, but it's modern. (And truth be told, I actually like the HLC Riviera line stuff better, if I was going to collect it.) But my instincts told me it was going to be worth a lot more than the $3 price the lady had on it. I immediately walked over with money in hand (didn't even try to haggle on it) and she asked me if I wanted the 2 little pitchers as well. She was asking $3 for all three

The 2 little guys are not Fiesta and aren't in the greatest of condition, but are cute. But once I got home and did some research on the pitcher I knew I had a gem. It is a 2 pint covered jug, produced a few years after Fiesta was first launched, in about 1938-39. As you can see it is a bright red-orange color. This color was produced by HLC in the late 1930s using uranium oxide to develop the color. It contains a radioactive isotope and there are a couple YouTube videos out there that prove it with a Geiger counter. (More info here.) It is safe to use, and certainly won't hurt me sitting pretty on its shelf. But apparently, once the radioactivity of these pieces became known in the 70s and 80s many of them were destroyed, which makes this quite rare. I'm happy with my find, and it's a perfect color for fall. I think I'll keep it a while!


  1. Good finds! I love that color pink on the Pyrex.

  2. I love fiesta ware. When I was a kid we had one of the old red pitchers and my mom wouldn't let us use it because we would get "lead poisoning". Nice to know the origins of that story! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great finds! I don't blame you for hanging onto the covered pitcher. It's a beauty!

  4. Cool finds! I have several vintage scales I need to do something with them! Hope you do show pix of your blo molds soon!