Arthur Atkinson Wells (1898 - 1985) was the youngest son of William Edwin Wells and Elizabeth Mahan Wells.
Wells attended East Liverpool, Ohio public schools until 1916. He then went to Lawrenceville Academy, graduating in 1918. He earned a degree in economics from Princeton University in 1922. According to a biographical sketch written by Arthur Wells in 1981, he also attended the University of Pittsburgh part-time from 1952 to 1957 studying mathematics.
After graduating with honors, he joined the Homer Laughlin China Company in July 1922 and worked under the direction of Dr. Albert V. Bleininger in the research department.
The group photo below comes from a 1926 Homer Laughlin catalog. Pictured left to right are: Arthur A. Wells, Clarence Deeds, Albert Bleininger, and Victor Rhoem. The picture of Arthur Wells on the right is dated 1935.
In October 1923, Arthur married Roberta Marshall (1899 - 1984). They had two sons, Arthur A. Wells Jr. (1924 - 1948) and Robert Marshall Wells (1927 - 2007). [As a sidebar, Roberta Marshall's sister, Ila Maire Marshall Cronin (1893 - 1955), was married to Daniel Cronin (1889 - 1938) of The Cronin China Company.]
Eventually, Arthur A. Wells became superintendent of the Laughlin plants in Newell, WV. After he retired in 1968, he was retained as a consultant.
Wells worked closely with the various designers during his years at the factory, including Frederick Rhead, Don Schreckengost, and Vincent Broomall. As a result, he was involved in the production of some of the most collected Homer Laughlin lines including Fiesta, Harlequin, OvenServe, Epicure, and many more. In his own words, "My chief accomplishment was the formation, production and sale of a new and superior type of Vitreous China, stronger, less costly to produce."
Arthur Wells was in charge of the American Potter Exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1939 and 1940. He was also a lifetime member of the American Ceramic Society, a fellow of the Society, and a vice president in 1944. In 1936, Arthur was president of the United States Potters Association, the oldest association of manufacturers in the U.S. and in 1942 and 1943, he was president of the Ohio Ceramic Industries Association of Columbus, Ohio.
Arthur's hobbies included playing golf, hunting, and traveling.
A left-handed golfer, he won the Left Handed Golf Championship of Ohio in the mid 1930s and was president of the National Association of Left Handed Golfers in 1940.
Arthur traveled to Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, and Africa. In semi-business travel, his connection with the Homer Laughlin China Company gave him, "an entry into the great potteries of England and Europe. Four trips generated a number of international friendships."
Some of the clubs Arthur belonged to include: Princeton Club of New York, University Club of Pittsburgh, Duquesne Club, and the East Liverpool Country Club. He was also a lifetime member of the Elks Club.
From April 28 to May 18, 1929, The Ceramic Society of England and its president, William J. Gardner, visited the United States. Roughly thirty memebers (the exact number tends to vary slightly from one article to the next) were treated to tours and inspections of the various potteries in East Liverpool and Sebring, Ohio.
The following ran in The Evening Review on May 9, 1929:
"Mrs. Roberta Wells, wife of Arthur A. Wells, Homer Laughlin China company executive, is chairman of the committee entertaining women members of British pottery manufacturers' party, visiting in East Liverpool today. The visitors were guests at a luncheon at the home of Mrs. Homer J. Taylor, Park boulevard, at noon. A bridge and golf party was held at the [East Liverpool] Country Club, followed by tea at the Taylor home."
(At the time of the article, Homer J. Taylor was one of the directors of the American Chinaware Corporation.)
On May 17, 1929, Arthur Wells was mentioned in an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
An executive of the Homer Laughlin China Company of Newell, W. Va., Arthur A. Wells delivered the address of welcome at a dinner given in the East Liverpool, Ohio Country Club in honor of 27 British ceramists after they inspected pottery plants in the Ohio River city. Wells is the youngest son of W. E. Wells, tariff expert and recognized spokesman of the American ceramic industry.