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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Recent News: Weller Art Pottery

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Park City Summit County Arts Council will present exhibit in Oakley's Red Barn
The Park Record, July 3rd

"There will be painting, photography, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, fiber art and paper arts, to name a few," Hunter said. Among these artists is renowned watercolorist and illustrator Don Weller. "Don never does shows, so we're really excited to have...Read more

Roof collapse causes gas leak
Alton Telegraph, July 3rd

Harvey said there were boxes, some pottery and assorted junk inside the building. Someone reported smelling natural gas in the area at about 8:40 a.m., with the Alton Fire Department, Ameren's gas and electric division workers and Harvey coming to the ...Read more

BOYS TRACK AND FIELD: Eddinger's record-breaking season leads him to All ...
GameTimePA, June 30th

Ceramics is just a passion I have. I love making functional pieces, and just enjoying myself on the wheel. I love photography too, which I picked up just last year because my grandfather gave me one of his old cameras and I've been loving it ever since...Read more

100 years of Fostoria's American Pattern to be featured
Lebanon Democrat, June 21st

In addition to Fostoria's American pattern, they will offer other elegant glass patterns, depression glassware, early American pattern glass and American-made pottery from companies such as Roseville, Weller, Shawnee and McCoy. All dealers are ...Read more

Arts Etc. – June 20, 2015
The International Examiner, June 19th

1414 Weller St. Go to https://jcccw.org/. With a nod to her rich career shaped by art, activism, teaching, writing and independent curating, Yong Soon Min .... The Portland Japanese Garden brings the work of 13 Mashiko masters to a show entitled...Read more

Treasure: Colorful jardinieres popular in Victorian era
The Detroit News, June 18th

Some of the better English marks include Minton, Wedgwood and Royal Worcester; in the U.S., makers included Weller, McCoy and Roseville. “Antique Trader's 2014 Price Guide” by Eric Bradley offers an interesting history of the pottery, which he traces...Read more

Original woodcut into litho print by Salvador Dali will be part of the Downing ...
ArtfixDaily, June 12th

The sale will feature signed Daum Nancy French cameo art glass vases (one 19 ½ inches tall and showing a winter scene, another 17 inches tall with a carved floral décor with enamel highlights); and a marked Weller Hudson art pottery vase, 8 ½ inches...Read more

The Muskingum Motor Club vrooms from history
Zanesville Times Recorder, June 5th

In 1900 S. A. Weller, the pottery manufacturer, became the first automobile owner in Muskingum County. By 1916 there were more than 1,700 motor vehicles registered. With the auto craze in full bloom, the Times Recorder decided to sponsor an auto show...Read more