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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Gouda Design

Gouda Design

Stuart Lonsdale and Kim Lindley's excellent tribute to and reference on Gouda Dutch Art Pottery and Delftware. The … [read review or visit site]

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Dedicated to raising awareness of the ceramic art work of R. Guy Cowan and his Cowan Pottery Studio in northeastern… [read review or visit site]

The Pottery Studio

The Pottery Studio

This 7,000-plus page site lives up to its self-billing as a 'knowledge base' with examples of work from all major a… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Weller Pottery Coppertone Flower Frog On Lily PadWeller Arts & Crafts 1910 Era Matte Green Pottery Signed"charming Vintage Weller Frog & Lily"-nr!!!!!Weller Burntwood Claywood Candlesticks Arts & Crafts Art PotteryWeller Apple Tree Fan Vase Art Pottery Woodcraft Line (1920-33) Rare Size NrLarge 12" Unknown Unmarked Orange Glaze Oil Jar Vase Possibly Weller Art DecoWeller Claywood 3 1/2" Vase Glazed Inside Nice PieceWeller Pottery Matte Green Frog VaseVintage 1930s Art Deco Weller Blue Pottery Vase White DaisyWeller Pottery Zona Kingfisher Pitcher3 Vintage *weller Pottery ** Oak Leaf Pattern VasesVintage 1930s Weller Blue Pottery Vase White Bouquet Art DecoVintage Weller Art Pottery VaseWeller Art Deco Geometric Fan Shaped Vase Blue-grayAntique Glazed Weller? Wheat Vase Brown Green Gold 12" TallLarge Antique C1900 Matte Green Arts & Crafts Pottery Bulbous JardinereKoi Fish ,weller Dickens Vase,old.very Good Shape No Chips,rare!!!signed!anitqueA Beautiful Green Weller Art Pottery Vase Velva 1928-33Antique Weller Art Pottery Vase Roma Atlantic 7 Inches TallVery Rare Weller Pottery Lorbeek Violet Wall Pocket WallpocketVintage Weller Art Pottery Jardiniere Planter Green Ovr Blue Blended Matte Glaze Weller Pottery Dogwood Vases-8"-no Damge-matched SetWeller Pottery 3 Handle Vase Footed Pink Flowers Bouquet - Estate Find!Weller Forest VaseWeller Pottery - Warwick Wall Pocket - Late 1920'sWeller Pottery Warwick Tree Trunk 10 1/2 Inch VaseWeller Bouquet Vase - GreenOld Weller Pottery Patra Nut Dish Small Handled Bowl Signed PerfectVintage Weller VaseVintage Weller F 20 Pottery Pitcher 6''tall & About 4'' WideLarge Weller Baldin Apple Blossom VasePair Of Roseville Pottery "zephyr Lily" 4.5" Candle Holders #1163 Set Of 2Smaller Weller Pottery Banded Bowl

Recent News: Weller Art Pottery

Source: Google News

Fall Bazaar: Our annual seasonal activities guide
The 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, Zanesville
Detroit 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

National Road Museum Director Visits Rotary
WHIZ, September 8th

Museum Executive Director, Don McKendry stopped by Zanesville's Noon Rotary Club Meeting Tuesday and told us more about the museum. "We also highlight the beautiful pottery made in this area, the Weller, the Roseville, the Owens and so forth that was ...Read more

Treasures in Your Attic: Familiar theme in Weller pieces
The Union Leader, June 1st

Weller is the name of a pottery making company that originated in Fultonham, Ohio, in around 1872. The proprietor was Samuel A. Weller, who some might call an “entrepreneur,” while others would judge him to be something of an opportunistic scoundrel...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 Pottery Of Ohio Still Valued By Collectors
Hartford 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