During the last part of the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, American liquor distributors and distilleries typically used “fancier” decorated bottles for better grade whiskies, promotional blends and complimentary presentation bottles. Many potters produced a variety of “fancy” liquor bottles, including Red Wing Stoneware, White’s Utica, and others. Also producing “fancy” whiskey jugs was Fulper Pottery of Flemington.
Fulper’s whiskey jugs were hand lettered in bright liquid gold and usually feature hand-painted florals in china paints. These were produced in greatest numbers from about 1900 through the early1910s, and ending completely with the onset of prohibition in 1920. Some of the jugs appear to be “dated”; that is, bearing a date usually from the 1880s. The date refers not to the bottle, but to the age of the whiskey or bourbon contained therein.
During the heyday of fancy whiskey jugs, Fulper produced decorated jugs and bottles for many different distillers and distributors, with nearly sixty unique decorations now documented. These bottles were shipped to all points of North America, and some have even been discovered in such far-distant places as Australia and South Africa.
Fulper’s fancy bottles are not marked with the Fulper name, but are uniquely identifiable as “Fulper” in that they are glazed with dark Albany Slip on the bottom half and light Bristol glaze on the upper half. Nearly all other American stoneware manufacturers glazed their wares in opposite manner, with Albany Slip on the top and Bristol glaze on the bottom.
The above is based on information compiled and whiskey jugs researched by John Sullivan. The Hill-Fulper-Stangl Potteries Museum gratefully acknowledges Mr. Sullivan’s work and perseverance on this t
opic and his generosity in sharing his research and information.