NEW  Fulper Tile


Produced 1985 - 2001; Now Discontinued

Fulper Glazes, Inc., also known as Fulper Tile, was a company formed by the four granddaughters of William Hill Fulper II for the manufacturing of architectural tile glazed in Fulper Pottery's original Vasekraft glazes.  In 1984, Fulper's original art pottery  glaze formulae were "rediscovered", and the granddaughters endeavored to create a new line of tile featuring these glazes, most of which had not been produced since the 1920s.  Being fully aware of the great collectible value of original Fulper Pottery artware produced between 1909 and 1935, the granddaughters were very careful to ensure that all Fulper Glazes, Inc. creations were conspicuously marked with their Fulper Tile logo, and often were dated.  They in no way wanted to affect or even compete with Fulper's original art pottery products.  

   
Examples of Fulper Tile inkstamp and 
impressed marks, with dates of production.

The primary output of Fulper Glazes, Inc. was architectural tile in a wide assortment of glaze colors.  A few newly designed limited production lamps and vases were also produced.  In keeping with Fulper Pottery's original production, the new tiles were all hand-crafted of stoneware clay, with the tile and glaze fired together in a single firing.   The company was in full production by the mid 1980s, and was propelled to success by the renewed interest in Arts and Crafts era furnishing and architecture.   The new Fulper tile was used extensively in new construction, as well as being incorporated in historic restorations.   

For nearly twenty years, Fulper Glazes, Inc. produced a very high-quality architectural product.  Recently, in 2001, the Fulper granddaughters ceased production and liquidated all remaining stock.   The quality tile produced by Fulper Glazes, Inc. has always been held in high regard by the Arts and Crafts community. The granddaughters and their company enjoyed very positive press over the years with feature articles in many prominent publications, including Martha Stewart Living.


Fulper Glazes, Inc. catalog brochure.

The Fulper Glazes, Inc. catalog told the story thus:

"FULPER POTTERY NOW AVAILABLE IN ART TILE"
    "In 1909, the Fulper Pottery Co. of Flemington, N.J., one of America's oldest and most respected potteries, produced a new line of art pottery, under the innovative direction of William Hill Fulper II.  The beautifully designed stoneware pots showcased an array of stunning glaze effects which earned Fulper the title "Master Craftsman" from the prestigious Boston Society of Arts and Crafts.  These same pots are now on display at major art museums across the country and are highly prized by collectors today.
    In 1984, Fulper's four granddaughters discovered the pottery's secret glaze formulas under the eaves in the attic of the family home.  Since then, they have worked with historians, collectors and ceramic artists to create a distinctive art tile of the highest quality and craftsmanship.
    The tile is made from a strong, durable, stoneware body, then single-fired with the traditional Fulper glazes -- crystalline, mirror and matte.  All the tile is suitable for walls, fireplace surrounds, hearths, backsplashes, etc. most glazes can be used for countertops and flooring as well.  Please note that the slight variations in size and color reflect the handmade process -- no two tiles are exactly alike."

Some of the Fulper glazes produced by Fulper Glazes, Inc.:

          
Dark Blue Wistaria         Cat's Eye       Elephant's Breath      

         
      Chinese Blue          New Cucumber        Violet Wistaria         

          
       Rose Matte            Copper Dust          Flowing Ivory        

     
  Leopard skin            Venetian Blue          Mustard Matte


  Mirror Black   

Field tile was available in a variety of standard sizes, as were bullnose trim.  The tile was high quality, and somewhat costly when compared to inferior tile.  In 1999, field tile ranged from $72.00 to $99.00 per square foot, depending on the tile size.  Also produced were bas relief tile and decorative trim.  Large bas relief tile were 8" by 8" and could be had in a variety of naturalistic motifs indigenous to New Jersey, such as Dogwood, Holly, and Oak.  The 8" bas relief tile retailed for $60.00 each in 1999.  The small bas relief tile were 4" by 4".  Camellia 4' bas relief tile was produced in the greatest quantities, but other 4" motifs including wildflowers, sea shells and the Fulper Tile logo were also available.  The 4" bas relief tile retailed for $25.00.

One of Fulper Glazes, Inc. early special-order projects was a 12" by 12" tile called "Moon on the Bayou".  The design was a molded bayou scene with moss-laden trees and a white heron beneath a shining full moon.  The glazes were applied cloisonné style, but manufacturing difficulties caused this tile to be discontinued after only a brief production.  The 1990 catalog offered the "Moon on the Bayou" tile as a limited edition for $300.00 each.


Fulper Glazes catalog page showing 8" and 4" bas relief tile.

  
4" square bas relief tiles.  Jack-in-the-pulpit tile in Elephant's Breath glaze 
and Fulper Tile Logo tile in Copper Dust. 

One of the most prestigious installations of Fulper Glazes, Inc. tile was in the Ceramics Gallery of the Newark Museum, Newark, NJ.  The Newark Museum has an extensive collection of American art pottery, acquisitioned by the Museum during the early 1900s from the producing potteries themselves.  Following is a portion of an article published in the August-September 1990 issue of American Craft, reprinted in the Fulper Glazes, Inc. catalog.  

    "Now, for the first time, highlights from the clay holdings past and present are on view on a regular basis.  Last November (1989), the museum reopened after a three-year, $21 million renovation and expansion by the architect Michael Graves.
    Owing to serendipity, a symbol of New Jersey's rich decorative arts tradition serves as the very foundation of the Lenox Pavilion.  An ordinary vinyl floor had already been laid there when curator Ulysses Dietz was approached by three granddaughters of William H. Fulper II, proprietor of the Fulper pottery in Flemington, among the most famous potteries of the Arts and Crafts period.  Having lately revived the business, the family offered to donate custom-made tiles for the installation in either of the new galleries.  Delighted, graves chose a palette of original Fulper glaze formulas in green, brown, gray and blue, and designed a floor for the pavilion.  more than a finishing touch, the Fulper tiling has given the gemlike octagon historical resonance -- an apt introduction, says Dietz, to the decorative arts wing."


"Octagonal Ceramics Gallery Floor, Newark Museum, Newark, NJ"
Michael Graves, Architect.  Photo by Brummett
From Fulper Glazes, Inc. catalog

During the 1990s, Fulper Glazes, Inc. developed and produced a very short line of decorative lamps.  To prevent any confusion between Fulper Glazes new production and antique Fulper Pottery items, the lamps were newly designed in the "Fulper Style", but did not replicate any original Fulper lamps.  One lamp, the "Artichoke", was produced.  Several others remained in the design stages and never made to the printed catalog page.  A vase was also produced; a 10" miniature version of Fulper Pottery's monumental Amphora vase shape.  All lamps and vases were clearly stamped and dated with the Fulper Tile logo.


Fulper Glazes, Inc. catalog photo of the 
ARTICHOKE LAMP, in Copper Dust Flambé
Photo by Brummett

From the Fulper Glazes catalog:  
    "This artichoke style lamp is the first in a new line of lamps being produced by Fulper Tile.  The design, by Johnson/Wanzenberg of New York, is based on an old Fulper Pottery tea set.  The ceramic base is slip cast and and glazed with the original Fulper Glazes, revived by the family in 1984,  Each is stamped with the Fulper Tile logo and dated.  Lamp bases are approximately 11 1/2" x 11" and can be custom made in all current glazes."

When the announcements were first made that Fulper Glazes, Inc. would be producing items in original Fulper Pottery glaze, there was quite a bit of concern that these products would adversely affect the value of original Fulper Pottery items.  Those fears were allayed by the fact that all Fulper Glazes, Inc. products were clearly marked and dated.  More importantly, the simple fact that the extreme high retail prices on Fulper Glazes, Inc. pieces prevented them from appearing en masse on the secondary market.  As an example, in 1990, the Artichoke lamp retailed for $950.00.  By 1992, the price had been reduced to $600.00, and $550.00 by 1996.  In 1999 this lamp retailed for $500.00 each and the matching parchment shade could be had stenciled for $95.00 or plain for $50.00.  Original Fulper Pottery lamps from the 1920s or 1930s in styles similar to the "Artichoke" lamp can still be had for much less than the "Artichoke's" original retail.

The Fulper Glazes, Inc. sample tiles shown were generously donated to the Hill-Fulper-Stangl Pottery Museum by Kathryn Rose Carone.

 

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