When Samuel Weller launched his one-man, one-room pottery in 1872, he did everything himself. He dug the clay from the Fultenham, Ohio, soil, threw and fired his pieces, and carted them into nearby Zanesville, where he sold them door to door.
At the time, Weller’s repertoire ranged from flower pots to cuspidors, with the occasional piece of stoneware thrown in for good measure. Little could anyone have guessed that within 30 years, Weller Pottery would employ 500 people and be one of the biggest names in hand-painted art pottery in the United States.
While Weller’s roots may have been solo, his success owed a lot to the artisans he hired. The first of these was William Long of Lonhouda Pottery. Long was only at Weller a year or so, but Weller produced his Louwelsa pieces for many years to come. These vases and other decorative objects featured generally dark backgrounds, upon which were florals or portraits, which appeared frozen beneath their shiny overglaze.
The next outsider to help Weller achieve his vision, and success, was Charles Babcock Upjohn, who was hired in 1895 as Weller’s art director—he remained with the firm for almost 10 years. Upjohn is credited with the popular Dickensware II line of 1900, whose surfaces featured figurative illustrations that were literally lifted from the pages of Charles Dickens novels.
Next Weller hired the English potter Frederick Hurton Rhead, who was also only at Weller a year (1902-1903) but left a major mark before moving on to Roseville and Arequipa (Rhead is probably best known as the designer of Fiesta). Among other things, Rhead is credited with Dickensware III, which was a kind of embossed version of Upjohn’s time-consuming-to-produce line. He also produced a number of hand-painted faience plates.
Jacques Sicard, a French ceramist, arrived shortly thereafter. He was brought to Weller to share the secrets of an iridescent majolica. Sicard eventually produced the Sicardo line for Weller, but unlike Long and Rhead, he refused to reveal his formula and methods, leaving the pottery in 1907 with the secrets still in his head.
Coincidental with Sicard’s tenure at Weller was that of Austrian Rudolph Lorber, who brought a menagerie of figurines to the firm. He also excelled at embossing techniques and wa...
The Hobart line aside, Weller did not throw off its Art Nouveau roots. One of the pottery’s biggest sellers during the 1920s was its Hudson line of vases, whose floral paintings were decidedly nostalgic for the turn of the century, and are today considered among the finest examples of hand-painted production pottery in the early 20th century. Simultaneously, Weller produced several lines that used relief on their surfaces to dramatic effect, from the birds and daisies of the Knifewood line to the floral decorations of Marvo.
By the 1930s, the days of hand painting at Weller were numbered. Indeed, the company’s painted lines during the decade, from Bonito to Stellar, were extremely simplistic compared to what had come before. By 1935, Weller was only making molded pottery and in 1948, after struggling to stay afloat during World War II, the company closed for good.
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"Tradition of Progress" ExhibitMaine Antique Digest, April 13th
The sunflower motif of the mantel is seen again on a glazed architectural tile by Mary Louise McLaughlin of Cincinnati, one of a variety of pieces of art pottery from makers that include Ohio's big three: Rookwood, Roseville, and Weller. Arts and...Read more
Soap far so good for so-busy JuliaOxford Mail, April 11th
Products are sold online and in Illyria Pottery in Jericho. There have been collaborations with Bluedog & Sought in Woodstock and Eau de Vie on ... The summer diary so far involves goodies finding their way to the VIP area at the Isle of Wight Festival...Read more
Meals on Wheels gets Culinary LiftMontgomery Advertiser, April 4th
Weller created a tray for each table that included key lime tartlets topped with fresh berries, lemon-glazed shortbread cookies, petite brownie bites, miniature mocha cupcakes topped with salted peanuts and white chocolate bark filled with pistachios...Read more
Historic Look: Weller House and auction saleZanesville Times Recorder, February 22nd
Weller removed the small portion of the original house and added the long porch on the front and the north side. Among the furnishings of the Weller house were many fine examples of family pottery, including pieces of Lonhuda, Louwelsa and Sicardo ware...Read more
DOUG'S Q-C COLLECTIBLES Particular pottery piece appeals to plentyQuad City Times, November 23rd
This wonderfully wistful example of art pottery was made by the Weller Pottery Co. Sam Weller established the business in Fultenham, Ohio, in 1872, but moved it to Zanesville, Ohio, in 1882. By 1915, Weller was the largest art pottery company in the world...Read more
More than 350 pieces of Weller pottery and Royal Bayreuth figurals will be ...ArtfixDaily (blog), April 15th
LONE JACK, Mo. – A little more than 350 lots of rare and unusual Weller Pottery and Royal Bayreuth figurals from the single-owner lifetime collection of Dale and Nancy Carter will come up for bid on Saturday, April 26th, at Dirk Soulis Auctions, in the...Read more
Weller art pottery in much demandMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 18th
Art pottery made by Weller is a favorite among collectors. The company made art pottery in Zanesville, Ohio, from 1893 to 1948. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Weller also made less sophisticated pottery for the yard called "Garden Ware." Stone-colored ...Read more
Weller pottery still popular with buyersCt Post, February 23rd
Weller pottery was first made in 1872 in Fultonham, Ohio, but by 1882 Weller had moved to Zanesville, one of the main cities where pottery was made in Ohio. Hundreds of thousands of pieces of decorative art pottery and florist wares were made at Weller ...Read more