How to Identify Chinese Patterns by Homer Laughlin

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Homer Laughlin is a renowned American pottery company known for its beautiful and intricate Chinese patterns. These patterns are highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. However, identifying authentic Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin can be a challenging task for the untrained eye. In this article, we will guide you through the process of identifying and understanding these patterns in detail.

1. History of Homer Laughlin

Homer Laughlin was founded in 1871 in East Liverpool, Ohio. The company initially produced white ware, but later expanded its offerings to include various decorative patterns, including Chinese-inspired designs. Understanding the history and background of Homer Laughlin is crucial to identifying their Chinese patterns accurately.

1.1 Origins of Chinese Patterns

The inspiration for Homer Laughlin’s Chinese patterns can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Chinese porcelain became popular in the Western world. Many Western pottery companies, including Homer Laughlin, started creating their own interpretations of Chinese designs to meet the growing demand.

2. Characteristics of Chinese Patterns

Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin typically exhibit certain characteristics that distinguish them from other designs. Understanding these characteristics will help you identify and differentiate Chinese patterns from other styles.

2.1 Intricate Motifs and Designs

Chinese patterns often feature intricate motifs and designs such as dragons, pagodas, flowers, and landscapes. These designs are meticulously hand-painted and exhibit a high level of detail and craftsmanship.

2.2 Vibrant Colors

Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin are known for their vibrant color palettes. Traditional Chinese colors such as red, yellow, blue, and green are commonly used to create visually striking patterns.

2.3 Geometric Patterns

Geometric patterns, such as lattice work or intricate borders, are frequently seen in Chinese designs. These patterns add depth and complexity to the overall design.

2.4 Oriental Influence

Chinese patterns often incorporate elements of traditional Chinese culture and art, such as calligraphy, symbolism, and auspicious motifs. These elements give the patterns an unmistakable Oriental charm.

3. Identifying Chinese Patterns

Now that we have discussed the characteristics of Chinese patterns, let’s delve into the process of identifying these patterns by Homer Laughlin.

3.1 Manufacturer’s Markings

Start by examining the bottom of the piece for any manufacturer’s markings. Homer Laughlin’s Chinese patterns often include the company’s name or logo, which can help authenticate the piece.

3.2 Pattern Names and Numbers

Homer Laughlin typically assigns unique names and numbers to their patterns. Research and familiarize yourself with the names and numbers associated with Chinese patterns. This knowledge will aid in identifying specific designs.

3.3 Reference Books and Catalogs

Consulting reference books and catalogs on Homer Laughlin pottery can provide valuable insights into the various Chinese patterns produced by the company. These resources often include detailed descriptions, photographs, and historical information.

3.4 Comparison with Authentic Examples

Studying authentic examples of Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin can greatly enhance your ability to identify them accurately. Compare your piece with known examples, noting similarities in design, colors, and motifs.

3.5 Seek Expert Opinion

If you are still unsure about the authenticity of a Chinese pattern by Homer Laughlin, consider seeking expert opinion from collectors, appraisers, or reputable antique dealers. Their expertise can provide valuable guidance in identifying and confirming your piece.

4. Caring for Chinese Patterns

Once you have successfully identified a Chinese pattern by Homer Laughlin, it is essential to understand how to care for and preserve these delicate pieces.

4.1 Handling and Storage

Handle Chinese patterns with care, as they are fragile and can easily chip or break. Use padded storage containers or display cabinets to protect them from dust and potential damage.

4.2 Cleaning Techniques

When cleaning Chinese patterns, avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can harm the delicate surfaces. Use mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth to gently clean the pottery.

4.3 Displaying Chinese Patterns

Display your Chinese patterns in well-lit areas that are free from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, or high humidity. Regularly inspect and dust the pieces to maintain their beauty.

5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: Are all Homer Laughlin patterns considered Chinese patterns?

No, Homer Laughlin produced a wide variety of patterns, and not all of them are Chinese-inspired. Chinese patterns are a specific category within their repertoire.

FAQ 2: Can I use online resources to identify Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin?

Yes, there are numerous online resources available, including websites, forums, and collector communities, that can help you identify and learn more about Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin.

FAQ 3: Are Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin valuable?

Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin can be valuable, especially if they are rare, in excellent condition, or part of a sought-after collection. The value of each piece depends on factors such as rarity, demand, and overall condition.

FAQ 4: Can I use the same identification process for other pottery brands?

While the identification process may share some similarities, it is essential to research and understand the specific characteristics and markings associated with each pottery brand. Different brands may have unique features that distinguish their patterns.

FAQ 5: Can I find Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin in antique stores or online marketplaces?

Yes, Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin can be found in antique stores, online marketplaces, and auctions. However, it is vital to ensure the authenticity and condition of the piece before making a purchase.

FAQ 6: Can I collect Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin as an investment?

Collecting Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin can be a rewarding hobby, but it is important to note that the value of collectibles can fluctuate over time. While some patterns may appreciate in value, others may not yield significant financial returns.

FAQ 7: Are there any reproductions or fakes of Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin?

Yes, reproductions and fakes of Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin do exist. It is crucial to educate yourself about the characteristics and markings of authentic pieces to avoid purchasing counterfeit items.


Identifying Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin requires a keen eye for detail and an understanding of the company’s history and characteristics. By familiarizing yourself with the unique features of these patterns, conducting thorough research, and seeking expert advice when needed, you can confidently identify and appreciate the beauty of Chinese patterns by Homer Laughlin.

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