Roseville Pottery Trivia

Think you know everything there is to know about Roseville Pottery? It’s often the details that get lost in our minds. For instance, did you know Roseville Pottery’s first line was Rozane? And did you know it was developed to keep pace with two competing lines, Weller’s Louwelsa and Owen Pottery’s Utopian?

Roseville Pottery, based out of Zanesville, Ohio, had to compete with at least twelve more American art potteries within Zanesville. Still, its business model, ability to recruit some of the best known artists and commitment to quality was the driving force behind its reputation.

Roseville Pottery’s incorporation papers were filed in Zanesville on January 4, 1892. Among those signing them were J.F. Weaver, Thomas Brown, G. Young, Charles Allison and L Kildow. A depression during the 1890s resulted in Roseville Pottery being forced out of business.

As it was seeking to regroup, the company decided to put its wares in A&P grocery stores – it proved quite successful, too.

These days, we’re accustomed to marketing efforts by companies via Facebook and email. While technological opportunities didn’t exist during Roseville Pottery’s heyday, it did have a familiar marketing plan. A brochure from 1905 offered customers a free Rozane paperweight that would be a part of a customer’s first shipment – but only if the customer provided at least three names of friends, neighbors and family members. There is one interesting statement in this particular ad that states the company only wanted those prospects “whose purses might permit them to purchase Rozane”. That’s not common in today’s contemporary ads. We never hear a salesman say, “Give me the names of those whose credit can pass”.

Sometimes, a trip down memory lane is all that’s needed to remind us why we appreciate the beautiful American art pottery that was so carefully created more than one one hundred years ago. With the rich history serving as the foundation, Roseville Pottery provides a truly inspirational story.

Weller Pottery: Sicard

Often, when the name Weller Pottery comes up, it’s equated with the the Lonhuda or even Louwelsa lines. Both included hues of brown, striking high gloss finishes and compelling shapes. Plus, these were two of the biggest lines within Weller Pottery – in the Louwelsa line alone, there were more than 500 shapes and sizes.

But it was the Sicard line, made between 1902 and 1907 that many insist was the crown jewel within the Weller Pottery family. What many aren’t aware of is this was developed by Weller in an effort to keep up with two competing potteries – both of which were bigger and more well known. To up the ante, Weller Pottery met the demands of the artist of whom the line is named after. Jacques Sicard was approached by Weller with a request to develop the line. Sicard agreed to do so, but only if the pottery company would also hire his assistant, Henri Gellie.

Weller Pottery agreed to bring both men on board and even offered a bonus if both met the terms of a five year contract. It was a deal seemingly made in heaven if one’s judging by the divine pieces found in the Sicard line. There is a certain mysterious aura surrounding this line – and it’s due to the nature of the artist. Whether it was a sense of not wanting anyone critiquing the art in its developmental phases – the decorative methods were ones Sicard created – or some mischievous nature meant to increase curiosity, Sicard often locked himself and his assistant in their studio. When the two were in a group, they often spoke in French, leaving those within ear shot slightly paranoid that they were the topic of conversation.

There were several color combinations and it’s the iridescent glaze that sets this collection apart. The artist made jewelry boxes, candy dishes, vases and even plaques and the line in its entirety has only increased in value over the years. Some Sicard vases are valued at $12,000 or more. The heights in the vases vary greatly, which, for collectors, makes for perfect display presentations.

The five years Sicard and Gellie spent at Weller Pottery were well spent. Once the contract was up, however, the pair returned to France.