Our museum feature this month is a stunning “Allen’s Hummingbird” figurine by Stangl Pottery. This superbly crafted piece features an exquisite color palette and wonderfully lifelike depiction of an Allen’s Hummingbird (a species of hummingbird named after famed ornithologist Charles Andrew Allen). Allen’s Hummingbirds are predominately found along the California and Oregon coasts. This piece is numbered 3634, and is part of Stangl’s popular line of collectible bird figurines.
The history of Stangl begins in the early 1800s, when a pottery producing firm was opened under the ownership of Samuel Hill in Flemington, New Jersey. Samuel Hill had discovered rich deposits of high-quality clay ideal for pottery production in and around the Hunterdon County, New Jersey area. Using this clay, he manufactured a range of utilitarian pieces for farmers and homemakers until his death in 1858. Soon after Hill’s death, another potter named Abraham Fulper purchased the Flemington, New Jersey factory. The company changed names several times during the following years until it became “Fulper Pottery” in 1899. The Fulper family oversaw a great deal of expansion at the Flemington factory, which was also credited with producing the “Fulper Germ Proof Filter.” These stoneware jars were used in public areas, like train depots, to provide clean drinking water.
In 1910, Fulper Pottery hired a new chemist and plant superintendent named Johann Martin Stangl. Stangl was born in Hof, Germany in 1888, and had studied design and ceramic engineering at the Industrial School of Banzlau, Germany. Stangl left Fulper Pottery in 1914 to develop a line of ceramic wares for Haeger Potteries of Dundee, Illinois. In 1920, Stangl returned to Fulper as their general manager, and quickly released a line of new colors called “Fulper Fayence.” The colors for pieces in this line included “Chinese Ivory,” “Colonial Blue,” “Silver Green,” and “Persian Yellow.” When the CEO of Fulper Pottery, William Fulper, died in 1928, Stangl assumed his role in the company. In 1929, the Flemington Plant met with tragedy when a fire destroyed the factory. Stangl was undeterred by the fire, and moved production to Trenton, New Jersey. In 1930, Stangl purchased Fulper Pottery outright.
It is uncertain when the company decided to rename all of its products “Stangl.” Throughout the 1930s, the company used both “Fulper Pottery” and “Stangl Pottery.” By the beginning of World War II, Stangl was the most commonly used name. In 1940, the company introduced its line of collectible bird figurines. Today, these birds, like the “Allen’s Hummingbird” featured here, remain immensely popular and highly collectible. Stangl Pottery would continue to be a successful American institution for many decades. When Stangl passed away in 1972, his estate ran the factory until it was purchased by Frank Wheaton, Jr. Wheaton eventually sold Stangl Pottery to Pfaltzgraff, who used Stangl Pottery’s real estate for Pfaltzgraff manufacturing.
The Stangl “Allen’s Hummingbird” figurine is available for purchase in our inventory, along with an array of other Stangl bird figurines. Replacements, Ltd. also carries a wide selection of Stangl pieces that are available for purchase; be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities – here you'll see a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles! Our 500,000-square-foot facilities hold more than 12 million individual pieces in more than 400,000 patterns! Our showroom and museum are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm ET, 7 days (except holidays); free tours are available from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm ET, 7 days. The showroom and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you!