A Brief History of Stangl Pottery…
(Courtesy of stanglpottery.org)
Begun by Samuel Hill in 1814 in Flemington, New Jersey, and known as Hill Pottery. Hill was a utilitarian potter, producing drain pipes and storage crocks and jars from Flemington’s red earthenware clay. By the 1860s, the company had been acquired by Abram Fulper, who continued in the utilitarian pottery business, but produced primarily stoneware, rather than earthenware. By 1900, the company, now Fulper Pottery Co., was under the direction of William H. Fulper II, grandson of Abram Fulper. William H. Fulper II was responsible for the development and introduction of Fulper Pottery Co.’s now renowned Vasekraft art pottery in 1909. In 1910, he hired ceramic engineer Martin Stangl to develop new Fulper Pottery shapes and glazes.
By 1924, Martin Stangl was vice president of the company, and was responsible for the introduction of America’s first open stock solid-color dinnerware. Production had continued all along in the original Flemington factory until the 1920s when another small factory was built in Flemington and a large existing pottery facility in Trenton was acquired by the company. In 1929, the original factory in Flemington burned, so all production was absorbed by the other two facilities. In 1935, production was ceased at the small remaining Flemington location, and that building was utilized solely as a retail showroom for the company’s ceramic products, becoming one of the Nation’s first “factory outlets”. By the 1940s, hand-painted dinnerware had become popular, augmented in 1942 with the introduction of Stangl’s best-known product, hand-carved, hand-painted dinnerware. Stangl’s dinnerware and artware was sold through over 3000 department, gift and jewelry stores across America.
From the 1930s through 1978, Stangl’s Flemington Outlet showroom was a keenly popular tourist destination. Folks traveled from far and wide to partake of the bargains in high-quality pottery offered there. During busy week-ends, there were often as many as 1000 patrons visiting Stangl’s Flemington showrooms. Automobile clubs and tour bus lines often included the Stangl Outlet as an integral part of many road trips. Shopping at Stangl seems always to be remembered as delightful experience. Whether twenty, forty or even fifty years later, visitors recall with pleasure the original Kiln display, or searching through endless stacks of dinnerware for those wonderful Stangl bargains. By November 1978, Stangl Pottery ceased manufacturing and closed forever, signaling the end of a truly unique American folk-art product.
(Image Credits- “Stangl – A Portrait of Progress in Pottery” )