Treasures can sometimes be dangerous: the antiquities of Yenke Peddler

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Our favorite vintage table settings can be hazardous to our health. It is important to consider any possible safety issues before using these plates and glasses. Thank goodness the internet has brought these issues to light.

Fiesta Ware, made by Homer Laughlin China Co. of Newell, W.Va., from 1936 to 1943, issued warnings that red and ivory pottery should not be used because it emits radiation. The company used uranium oxide in the glaze to achieve this color.

Cracked or chipped parts should be discarded for sure, but don’t use even a perfect plate, to play it safe.

The good news is that after 1972 the new Fiesta Ware is totally safe and recommended!

Corelle Ware manufactured before 2005 may not follow FDA regulations regarding lead levels. Worn or chipped plates could seep with more lead than is deemed safe. These are especially harmful to young children and pregnant women.

Do you remember the warnings about lead paint? Very similar. Stay clear and buy the new products.

Glass of green, yellow or blue Vaseline is also possibly contaminated with uranium. Do not use for food. These should be for decorative use only and labeled as such.

Harlequin, also made by Homer Laughlin for Woolworths from 1938 to 1960, has the same health warnings in red or tangerine colors.

Although risks exist in everyday life with exposure to X-rays and even cell phones, caution is advised even on safe plates that have crackling or chipping on the drinking surface. It’s time to clean the house and inspect your surroundings.

Thanks to Laura from Seven Hills for her questions on this topic!

Hi Brenda,

Attached is a photo of one of my four plates that I would like information on and a possible value.


Hi Shiela,

Your Ridgways (RA Ware) plates from England, depicting paintings by famous artists, were produced from 1870 to 1920. Depending on the scenes chosen, sepia china is versatile for decoration. Value for all four in mint condition would be $75. They could be displayed on a plate rack in a dresser.

If you have an item to appraise, send a clear photo with history to Yenke Peddler, Brenda Yenke, PO Box 361633, Strongsville, Ohio, 44136. You can also send photos and inquiries for Brenda to appraise at [email protected].

About Oscar L. Smith

Check Also

Antiques Roadshow expert Marc Allum at the Isle of Wight Arts Society talk

The new season of the IW Arts Society will be launched with the visit of …