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3 Things To Look For In Quality Dinnerware

For dinnerware, just saying “Made in the U.S.A.” isn’t always a guarantee of quality. Or that it was even made here for that matter. But if dinnerware comes from our factory at Homer Laughlin, one can be assured that we Made It Here! Our high-quality products carry the Made in the U.S.A. demarcation, and, for that, are made using American employment and environmental standards widely recognized to be the highest in the world.

In a very real sense, our dinnerware is homemade. Think of crusty, hearty homemade bread made with natural, wholesome ingredients—there’s no comparison to the ordinary loaves on grocery shelves.

Most dinnerware companies today don’t actually make what they sell. Homer Laughlin and Hall China have never stopped manufacturing durable, beautiful foodservice dinnerware in a wealth of colors, patterns, and styles—and have for more than a century.

What are some simple ways to tell if your dinnerware is a quality piece? Check for the following traits.

VITRIFICATION. Vitrified china results when the clay goes through either a single-firing or double-firing process at a high temperature, making it nonabsorbent, nonporous, hard, smooth and lustrous, sanitary and strong. The key here is the temperature.

To be called vitrified and suitable for foodservice, the dinnerware must have a glazed ceramic body with extremely low porosity (0 to .5%). The body is then high fired, from 2,000°F to 2,350°F. The result is a VERY durable body—especially when alpha alumina is added—with high chip and impact resistance.

If your ware retains stains, dulls after repeated washings, or weakens over time, it was not properly vitrified.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL. Were you expecting your new dinnerware to match your last order? Look again. Ask yourself: Is the pattern consistent on all pieces? Are the shapes symmetrical? Are the colors the same throughout your order?

As global procurement agents seek and find the lowest-priced “similar” replacement or even general-stock items from unknown factories around the world, “close enough” is often what a restaurateur gets.

Now flip it over. Are the bottom, unglazed foot-rings polished and smooth so they won’t scratch each other when stacked, or worse, mar a table or snag a tablecloth?

As a Genuine Manufacturer™ with nearly 150 years of experience and extensive production capabilities, Homer Laughlin’s answer to all these questions is, “Yes!”

INSPECTING the WARE. A lot can happen at any stage of manufacturing. The key is to know what to look for — and then to actually look for it. We do.

In total, our factory produces around 27,000 to 40,000 dozen dishes a week. Every piece is inspected by hand before being dried and those that don’t make the cut are recycled. But that’s not all. Your dinnerware then moves on to the final steps of drying, glazing and being fired in the kiln. They’re then inspected again, packed by hand, and shipped to your table.

When you’ve been here for almost 150 years, people know that they can count on you for quality. But that takes jobs—around 800 employees in total for us.

And maybe that’s the last measure of quality to look for.

Ask how many people are involved in your dinnerware’s quality story. Ask how many American jobs are saved with every order. And if you are talking to us, ask how proud we are to have our products on tables like yours all across the country.