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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Art Walk this weekendMoab Sun News, October 8th
At Gallery Moab, the guest artist for the month is Jacci Weller. She paints floral scenes in glowing acrylic. She is represented by a gallery in Arizona and shouldn't be missed. ... Her work captures the grandeur of epic clouds, towering canyon walls...Read more
Rookwood XXV AuctionMaine Antique Digest, October 8th
Dominated by American art pottery, keramics led off the weekend. The results weren't all smiles and giggles. “It was flaky to say the least,” said Humler. “Weller was probably the biggest disappointment for me. It was very weak.” That sluggish response...Read more
Wildfire takes former Wood River woman's homeAlton Telegraph, October 7th
COBB, Calif. — Wood River native Cindy Leonard had seen wildfires while living in Northern California for 20 years, but this time she knew the fast-moving flames were more ominous. “We've had a lot of fires, but none spread so fast; it was an extra...Read more
Fall Bazaar: Our annual seasonal activities guideThe Virginian-Pilot, September 25th
The start address is 300 Weller Blvd., Virginia Beach. Twenty-six streets and more than 1,200 homes .... Handmade jewelry, pottery, gourmet baked goods, holiday gifts, stained glass, photography, paintings and more. 748-0949. Franktown United Methodist ...Read more
Work by Paul Evans, George Nakashima, Tommi Parzinger, Greene & Greene ...ArtfixDaily, September 23rd
Minnesota, encompasses the finest of American ceramics, glass, and lighting, including: Newcomb College, Teco, North Dakota School of Mines, Fulper, Rookwood, Weller, Roseville, Jugtown, Polia Pillin, Steuben, Quezal, Tiffany Studios, Durand...Read more
Vehicles, baby stuff, furniture and more: Garage sale notices published Friday ...Helena Independent Record, September 18th
MULTIFAMILY GARAGE SALE. 3 hours only! Sat 09/19. 9 AM to NOON. 1621 University St (between Garrison and Glendale). Kids bikes, life jackets, toys, booster car seats (high backed), clothes; programmable space heater; portable massage table with ...Read more
New Ohio pottery trail goes to Roseville, ZanesvilleDetroit Free Press, September 12th
Southeast Ohio is known for its strong pottery heritage. Clever pieces made by Roseville and Weller potteries that flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries grace museums and collectors'shelves worldwide. Now, a new Contemporary Ceramic...Read more
Weller Pottery Of Ohio Still Valued By CollectorsHartford Courant, 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