Stangl Thistle Dinnerware

Submitted by Michael Ely March 1st, 2011
Certifikitsch Winner

When it come to dishes, I’m a big dish queen! That is, I have five different sets of dishware, and I would have ten more sets if I had the room to store them. This is my collection of thistle dinnerware produced by Stangl Pottery. I don’t use it very often, but decided to get it out for a friend’s birthday dinner recently. Stangl Pottery was begun by J. Martin Stangl around 1930 when he bought the Fulper Pottery Company in New Jersey. However, the company name did not change until the 1950’s when it actually became Stangl Pottery. Then in 1978 the company was purchased by Pfaltzgraff and the Stangl lines were discontinued. In its hey day, Stangl produced many colorful sets of dinnerware often featuring beautiful flower designs and unusual shapes. This thistle pattern (probably the most masculine of Stangl’s flower patterns) was produced between 1951 and 1978 (the full set contains over 50 different pieces including a very hard to find kidney-shaped serving platter). Part of the pattern was carved directly into the clay, and each of the pieces were hand painted so that no two pieces are exactly the same! For the record, purple thistle grows in the wild here in the Sonoran Desert where I live, and sometimes I gather some of it up in a vase. It’s very beautiful, but watch out for the sharp stickers!

16 Responses to “Stangl Thistle Dinnerware”

  1. Allee Willis

    I can’t believe that I’ve never seen this pattern before. Absolutely gorgeous! Love the shapes of everything. And certainly love that you have so many pieces.

    Is there any differentiation between the pieces that incorporate brown from the ones that don’t? Were they all made around the same time or did the brown ones made later or are they part of a special edition or anything like that?

    I collect lots of different sets. Once I find five pieces or so I just keep going.

    Would love to see all your sets. Again, just beautiful.

    • Michael Ely

      Glad you like this set, Allee. Pretty much all of the pieces including the plates are solid brown clay underneath (or along the rim in the case of the teacups) with the exception of the salt and pepper. Both the teapot and coffeepot are brown inside. I have more pieces (not all shown in photos), but the one piece I don’t have and really want is the kidney-shaped serving platter! You can usually find this piece in other Stangl patterns on ebay, but never the thistle pattern! If anyone spots it, please let me know!!!!

  2. Rusty Blazenhoff

    So pretty. What a nice set.

    My new ‘thing’ is Homer Laughlin’s Mexicana sets. There are all kinds of different decals and I want to mix it all up.

    I’ll keep my eyes open for a Stangl thistle kidney shaped serving platter for you. I see a lot of things in my travels :)

    • k2dtw

      I just re-read your plans for collecting the Mexicana patterns, I thought this blog used Mexican pattern dinnerware in the tablescapes, but after looking again, I guess not??.. She does use vintage Mexican pattern tablecloths? I just found this blog a few days ago, I thought it was so inspiring for dinnerware/tablecloth collectors, I thought I would send it along anyway?… Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did…

      In the olden days when I got the Fiesta Collector Newsletter each month, there was a collector who wrote about a tablescape for each issue. It was done with lots of words, and very few black and white pictures!!.. You really had to use your imagination!! All the beautiful new blogs sure beat the old glossy black/white newsletter!!!…:)

  3. Loal Scofield


    I have 107 pieces of Thistle and Yes, I have two kidney shaped plates. My Mother received four cups and saucers as a birthday gift from her sisters many years ago. Mo Mother has passed away but as we traveled we have found her complete set of dishes. I use them a lot and really enjoy them. My favorite pieces are the frying pan and the egg cups. We have also collected many other Stangle pieces, including some experimental pieces from the original plant. We have a few of his Christmas plates but they too are hard to find. Thanks for sharing your story,

    • Michael Ely

      Hey Loal. Sounds like you have a great collection. I just love the thistle pattern as I love thistle plants (which grow here in parts of the desert). For the record, I did finally get my kidney shaped platter! Next on my list is the skillet. I would love to have one. Those Christmas plates sound awesome. Don’t think I’ve ever seen one. You should share on here if you haven’t already.

  4. caselle59

    Thank all of you for your posts. I received an entire set, including all serving pieces, of this pattern from my Mother. These dishes were used my entire life for Thanksgiving dinner only. This set is one among many that were used for special occasions and holidays throughout my life. I was debating on whether to sell them because they are among so many special dish patterns that she gave me. Because of your posts, I have decided to keep them.

  5. monceauxh

    Hi…I just bought a 51 piece set of this Stangl Thistle Pottery in excellent condition. It serves 8. I know some of it’s history but don’t know around what date is was made. Do you know?
    Thanks, Hope