Radioactive Red Fiesta

Radioactive Red

If you have been a fiestaware collectors for any length of time, you know the story of red fiestaware. Until 1943 red fiestaware, also called radioactive red fiestaware was made with uranium oxide, with the uranium content being about 0.7% U-235 and the remainder U-238.

Between 1943 and 1959, the Laughlin company began producing a red glaze dinnerware with the colorant then being technical grade uranium U-308 with the uranium content being made up of about 0.2% U-235 and the remainder U-238.

Red fiestaware has been found to be perfectly safe to eat off of without any side effects. If you want to see a couple of great videos that show radioactive red fiestaware setting off a Geiger Counter then go to Radioactive Red Fiesta
where you can see the videos and read more about red fiestaware or below is a more up-to-date video of checking the radioactivity of some old radioactive dishes.

 From the video: “I think fiesta was produced in the 1930s the popular ones sought by collectors now are these orange ones they called radioactive red. I’ll show you why in a minute here’s a radiation detector. I bought these on Amazon. I will just turn it on so so there’s basically the background radiation right there point-o 3.04 it’s very low which is what you’d expect if I put it on these Fiestaware blue plates you can see it’s again really doesn’t change much. Let’s try the green plate same thing basically these orange plates which are very bright they used uranium oxide in to glaze. Now let’s put the detector here on the red plate and you can hear just going off you can probably hear the little beep go like crazy and this will just keep going up. I think it goes well up over 30 if you just leave it on here so remember the background is about point one so gives you an idea that these are a little bit hot. We don’t eat out of them I store them in the basement so you could see it just keeps going up let’s go ahead and take it off and it was immediately start going back down so again the radiation coming off these I think is called alpha particles which basically an eject dejected or ejected nucleus helium nucleus they’re very big they don’t penetrate the skin so it’s actually pretty safe to touch it you don’t want to ingest the glaze that’s where it’s in as the glaze. You know about a foot away it really doesn’t register anymore so again there even though there’s quite a bit of alpha particles coming off there they’re fairly you know it’s fairly safe to store these it’s not like it’s gonna make one of your rooms radioactive or something I thought they were kind of neat I took a nuclear engineering safety course in college as an elective and they talked about these once and I thought it was pretty cool my first house that I bought they actually had a bunch of antiques and they had a bunch of these plates I kept a couple of them and we moved recently so I dug them out let’s see here this is back so again if you hold this up right you could see good put away it really doesn’t register it’s just when you get close.”