Sunday, April 25, 2010

Jersey Pottery...

and you thought all we had were "real housewives" and MTV shows...but, no...there is more to us than "Snooki" and "The Situation." One of the well known American potteries was located in Flemington, NJ...Stangl Pottery.

The story is one of those Horatio Alger stories, and for those who do not know Horatio, he wrote novels in the late 19th century that were about a poor person's rise to the middle class and comfort (note...I say "middle" class, not billionaire).

Anyway, the roots of the pottery go back to the mid 1800s when Sam Hill produced Hill Pottery in Flemington. When he died, Abram Fulper took over the plant, and Fulper Pottery was born. In the early 1900s, Fulper's grandson William ventured into art pottery. He hired Johann Martin Stangl who was a ceramic chemist and technician.

Stangl worked his way up in the business, and, when William Fulper died suddenly in 1928, John Stangl found himself President of the company, and Stangl Pottery was born. (Notice how these guys all named the companies after themselves...branding for sure!) Stangl is best known for their dinnerware, but they produced bird figurines and various art pottery pieces.
I gravitate to the unusual pieces. I like "Antique/Granada Gold" and what is pictured here--the"Black Gold."

The line was developed by a general manager, James Hill, and artistically designed by Kay Hackett. What is neat about this company is that the people who worked in the plant were involved in the production. They were more than employees. Black Gold is a 22 carat gold over black and was produced between 1966-1968.

Antique Gold is a stain green glaze with 22 carat gold dry brushed over it. There is a Granada Gold which is over a tan glaze. I have none of that in stock.

Here are some Antique Gold pieces, also from the late 60s (see--wasn't all hippie colors in the 60s!).
Often they echo shore colors as well as their designs.
From the 1930s until the company went out of business in the late 1970s, one of the first outlet stores existed in Flemington, NJ. Seconds were marked with a line on the back, and, according to my research, automobile clubs and tour bus lines included it on their routes. Sadly, when Stangl died, so did the company despite Frank Wheaton's(a NJ glass manufacturer)attempts to maintain production. High costs and competition from China contributed to its demise. Pfaltzgraff bought the property in 1979, and Stangl production ceased.

In 1965, Stangl wrote, “In our world of automation, there are few industries that specialize in hand-crafted items. Stangl Pottery, one of America’s oldest potteries, still takes the time to hand-craft and hand-paint each and every piece of dinnerware… Stangl dinnerware is still, and will continue to be, a work of art. We are proud of Stangl hand-crafted dinnerware and artware…those who own it also experience this pride of possession.”

It is sad that so many proud companies closed, and that so many Americans lost sight of the artistry of their fellow workers. But at least in the antique shops and in the second hand shops across the country, we can keep alive that artistry.


The Cinnamon Stick said...

Clapping my hands at words that couldn't ring truer...thank goodness for the antique stores and thrift stores (thanks for the history lesson so I can keep my eyes peeled for this pottery) and for the preservation of everything handcrafted and unique!!!

Patricia said...

It is so sad that these pieces have lost favor. How much nicer to have a piece of work that you know has been handled by a real person and a bit of their heart is in each piece.
Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings