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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Open Doors for the week beginning July 26The Providence Journal, July 25th
Haudenosaunee Pottery workshops are planned for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2 and 3, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. .... Proceeds benefit the late Krista “Kiki” Weller Burns Foundation which funds art scholarships for local youth. kikisgarden.org. Prescott Farm...Read more
Roseville became masters of the pottery processOrillia Packet & Times, July 25th
Frank Ferrell, who was a top decorator at the Weller Pottery by 1904, was Roseville's artistic director from 1917 to 1954. This Zanesville resident was the creator of the most popular lines including Pine Cone, which had numerous individual pieces...Read more
Email Garth's Auctions August Eclectic Features Ohio Pottery & Much MoreArtfixDaily (blog), July 25th
An Ohio institution, Weller Pottery was founded in 1872 by Samuel Weller in Fultonham, Ohio. The original business consisted of a small cabin and one kiln until 1882 when the company moved to Zanesville, Ohio. Soon after the move, Weller approached ...Read more
Estate Sale Roundup: July 24-27: Gas up the jalopy, it's your turn to drive.Austin Chronicle, July 24th
Collectibles include pottery (including Roseville, Fulper, Weller, Hull, and a fine mid century pot with wrought iron stand), Glasswares (Fenton, Rosepoint, Candlewick, EAPG, and more), Crystal stemware in yellow (water and iced tea styles), Holmes ...Read more
Pottery on display at Zanesville Museum of ArtZanesville Times Recorder, July 23rd
ZANESVILLE – Weller Pottery and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 will be on display in the third floor gallery of the Zanesville Museum of Art until Oct. 11. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and from 10 ...Read more
State Briefs: from AP wire reportsThe-review, July 6th
The Zanesville Times Recorder reported that the vases created by artists at the former Weller Pottery plant in Zanesville are now on display at the Zanesville Museum of Art. The hand-painted vases created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries stand...Read more
Vases created more than century ago and displayed at 1904 World's Fair back in ...The Republic, July 6th
ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Five vases created more than a century ago at an Ohio pottery plant and displayed at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis are together again at a museum in eastern Ohio. The vases created by artists at the former Weller Pottery plant...Read more
Pieces of history return to ZanesvilleCoshocton Tribune, July 3rd
Weller Pottery was especially influential locally and throughout the art world. Sam Weller established his first pottery in Fultonham, in 1872, making functional earthenware for everyday use. In 1882, he relocated to Zanesville and, in 1893, started...Read more