Founded in 1814 as Hill
Pottery in Flemington, New Jersey, Stangl Pottery was an important
American pottery maker during the first half of the 20th century.
They competed with both casual dinnerware lines priced to be
affordable for the middle class, while they also made art pottery
at a time when there were many innovative American producers
of more expensive handmade wares. From its founding, the company
produced industrial earthenware pieces like jars and storage
vessels made from the rich red clay of New Jersey. In 1864,
Abram Fulper bought the company and refocused the production
on the production of more sophisticated and durable stoneware.
Changing the name to Fulper
Pottery, the move was made into art pottery with the introduction
of the Vasekraft line in 1909. In 1910, ceramic engineer Martin
Stangl joined Fulper Pottery to focus on designing and producing
new glazes and shapes. Stangl soon left in 1914 to start work
where his influence evolved Haeger to produce designs reminiscent
of his work while at Fulper.
Stangl left Haeger in
1919 to return to Fulper where he rose to executive ranks and
planned the company's introduction of a colorful line of dinnerware
in 1924. As production increased, the company expanded production
across 3 factories although one of them- the original Flemington
factory- burned down in 1929. That year, Martin Stangl bought
Fulper and immediately changed the name to Stangl Pottery. During
this period, Stangl began to retreat from direct competition
and others in higher end art pottery and focused on formed ceramics
and simpler matte glazes. The pottery survived the years of
World War II by focusing production on a line of highly detailed,
hand painted bird figurines which were widely collected then
as they are still today. The company took their efforts at realism
in depicting birds further when they first produced in 1940
a line of birds based on the "Birds of America" prints
of John James Audubon and designed by Auguste Jacob. World War
II also had the effect of cutting off the importation of popular
bird figurines produced by European factories. New bird lines
continued to be introduced until 1955, but by this point European
imports had returned and thus reduced demand for Stangl designs.
Whimsical wig stands were introduced in 1965, originally as
a special order for a company called Landing Gifts. The wig
stands proved to be very popular and were and were in general
made on a wood base stamped with the Stangl name although Stangl
hat stands can also be found on a round pottery base or no base.
While almost all Stangl wig stands were female, they also made
a very small run of male stands for use with toupees, and their
rarity translates into high prices in today's market. Some Stantl
wig stands were converted by Stangl into lamps.
Most Stangl production
was fully marked, in contrast to some substantial unmarked production
by Fulper, Grueby, Haeger, and others during the years after
World War I. Stangl used multiple marks to convey information
about a piece including designations for the company, the carver,
and the painter. In 1935, one of the original 3 factories had
been turned into a retail showroom for teh company, and throughout
its history Stangl sold direct to the public via this showroom
as well as in department stores across the U.S. Stangl Pottery
was bought by Pfaltzgraf in 1978 and ceased production, but
Stangle Pottery continues to be one of the most popular collecting
lines into the 21st century.
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