One of the pioneers of Ohio art pottery was Samuel Augustus Weller, who created the seventy-year enterprise of Weller Pottery. He started his business in 1872 in Fultonham, Ohio making utilitarian ware such as stoneware jars and clay flowerpots. But in 1882 Weller moved his small company to Zanesville, Ohio and by 1893 he began making his first art pottery ware. By 1915 Samuel Weller had established Weller Pottery as the world’s largest art pottery company with pieces that reflected the movements of the time; Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modernism.
Weller Pottery spans from the impressive jardinieres and pedestals, to vases and wall pockets, to hanging baskets and umbrella stands. Novelty items such as people and animal figurines, lamps, and tobacco jars were also made. Louwelsa, named after Weller’s daughter Louise, was one of the first lines, and contained over 500 pieces. Other lines include Dickens Ware, which were inspired by English ceramics and the author Charles Dickens, and the Eocean type that displayed hand decorated flowers, figures, and fruit under the glaze.
After the turn of the century, pottery such as the nature-inspired Baldin, Forest, and Woodcraft were made, with the French-inspired metallic Sicard and unique finish of Knifewood taking on a more modern appeal. After the Prohibition was repealed, Weller produced more utilitarian beer mugs, and, as production began to slow down, costly hand decoration was no longer used. Rather, more simple glazed pieces such as Ansonia, LeSa, and the Cactus line were made.
Weller Pottery used various production marks on the bottom of most of their pieces. The marks used included “WELLER”, “Weller”, “Weller Pottery” and “LOUWELSA WELLER”. These marks were stamped or hand incised. Noted artists include Charles Babcock Upjohn, Jacques Sicard, John Lessell and Dorothy England Laughhead.