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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Estate Sale Roundup: January 10-11: Baby, it's cold outside, but your holiday ...Austin Chronicle, January 9th
Vintage and antique pottery and porcelain including red majolica portrait vase and cobalt ewer with dragon handles; 1930-36 Weller pink "Wild Rose" vase; 1940 Roseville blue "Bleeding Heart" vase; Dresden lace figurine, Hutschenreuther (Bavaria); 78 pcs...Read more
Home Tour: Brent Coleman's West Price Hill Tudor revival full of antiques, storiesWCPO, January 2nd
We've bought some nice American art pottery that dates to the early 1900s at the outdoor shows, but most of the small collection of Rookwood, Roseville and Weller pottery we display comes from biannual auctions at Humler & Nolan, Downtown. Artwork on ...Read more
A glimpse into the pastAlton Telegraph, January 1st
An employee of Gateway Archeology in St. Charles, Mo., forces the cold dirt through a screen at the former Robert Wadlow Golf course on the Homer Adams Parkway this week as they investigate the property which will eventually be the new Alton train and ...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
Athens-Clarke Library to display art pottery collection of Bill and Dorothy PaulOnline Athens, November 20th
Athens can get a taste of one of the city's most remarkable art collections starting today at an exhibition in the Athens-Clarke County Library's Heritage Room. In the past decade, Bill and Dorothy Paul have amassed a collection of more than 1,500...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