A Look at Fulper Pottery

Fulper Pottery has been around since 1814 – and there are millions of fans and collectors around the world. A New Jersey potter, Samuel Hill, had been making pottery strictly for utilitarian purposes – such as storage crocks, drain pipes and other similar pieces.

Of course – and fortunately for those of us who appreciate Fulper Pottery – the decision was made to pursue a more artistic avenue – but that would come later.

It wasn’t until 1858 when Abram Fulper began the process, shortly after Sam Hill’s death, to buy the pottery company. Within a couple of years, he was the proud new owner of one pottery company that focused primarily on stoneware and to a lesser degree, tiles. The years rolled by and Fulper’s sons soon found themselves overseeing their father’s company. By the 1880s, the name changed to Fulper Brothers and, true to the initial functions of the company, the brothers continued with their father’s legacy of stoneware and tile.

Enter the third generation of Fulpers. In 1899, the company’s name was changed yet again to Fulper Pottery Co. The elder Fulper’s grandson, William Hill II, became both secretary and treasurer of the company. He was a recent graduate of Princeton University as well as a veteran of the Spanish-American War. Still, the company produced the same utilitarian household items such as storage jars and cookware.

It was William H. Fulper II who decided it was time to move away from those drain pipes and storage jars and focus more on an artistic approach. The first line was said to be more “casual” than elegant, but it was popular. By the turn of the century, the company’s main pottery, John Kunsman began throwing vases and jugs with a more simple and solid color glaze. They used the sidewalk to display these new offerings and before long, it was winning prizes for its design elements. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Of course, these are but a few of the highlights of this company with an incredibly rich history that’s both fascinating and revealing. For those interested in a deeper understanding of Fulper Pottery, there are several great books on the subject. Also, be sure to check out our Fulper Pottery collection on Just Art Pottery.

 

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