Samuel A Weller, born 1851, started his first pottery in his home town of Fultonham, Ohio in 1872. He produced flower pots, jardinières, hanging baskets and umbrella stands in red earthenware. The business had expanded sufficiently by 1888 to move to larger premises in Zanesville, and then to a new plant built nearby two years later.
In the mid-1890s Weller acquired the Lonhuda company, an art pottery in Steubenville, Ohio. He admired their slip decorated work and transferred production of the Lonhuda line to Zanesville. Later, with the help of W A Long, Lonhuda's previous owner, he transformed the production process, and Lonhuda was renamed Louwelsa for his daughter Louise.
His main competitors at this time were Rookwood and Roseville, both Ohio companies, and to keep ahead of the game he introduced new lines employing designers and artists from around the world to augment his own considerable talents. Dickensware was developed by Charles Babcock Upjohn, his art director from 1895, and put into production at the turn of the century. It originally featured scenes from literary works by Dickens but the range was enlarged to include other subjects, notably native Americans. Jaques Sicard, who had previously collaborated with Clément Massier worked for Weller and introduced the Sicardo range - lustre decoration on an iridescent background. Frederick H Rhead (Charlotte Rhead's brother) contributed many lines including the tube-lined Jap Birdimal, L'Art Nouveau and an extension of the Dickensware range.
Other artists who served at the Weller Pottery include Gazo Fujiyama from Japan, Thomas Wheatley and Frank Ferrell from the US, Albert Haubrich and John Lessell from Germany. Lessell introduced the famous LaSa range in the early 1920s as well as the Chengtu, Lamar and Marengo lines.
Samuel Weller died in 1925. At the time of his death the company was at the peak of its production and had three factories employing 600 hands. Harry Weller, Samuel's nephew took over as president but died himself seven years later. The depression of the 1930s had a severe effect on the company forcing closure of two of the three plants. Production finally ceased in 1948.