A teapot is a vessel that is utilized to brew tea leaves in boiling or near boiling water. Teapots typically come with a spout where tea is poured out of, a handle for gripping, and an opening with a lid.
The teapot’s design was probably inspired by metal wine pots and ceramic kettles which were popular in early China. The oldest teapot to have been discovered dates back to the year 1513 and was made in Gongchun, China.
Early teapots were typically designed for a single user and people were supposed to drink directly from the spout of these vessels. They were rather small in size to enable tea flavours to be more concentrated.
Up until the late 17th century traders shipped tea and porcelain teapots from China to countries in Europe. Most of these teapots were glazed with white and blue paint. Porcelain teapots were perfect for sea voyage as they cannot be damaged by sea water.
At the start, only wealthy Europeans were able to enjoy tea, as before, tea leaves were quite expensive to purchase. Back then, teapots made of porcelain were also quite popular since most early European potters were not knowledgeable in porcelain ware making.
This all changed in the year 1708 when a German by the name of Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus found a way to make porcelain. Wanting to put his idea to commercial use, Tschirnhaus established the Meissen factory in 1710. The first European porcelain teapots were understandably heavily inspired by Chinese designs.
Victorian and Art Deco period
During the Victorian times, having “high tea” with close friends and associates became a popular practice. In these occasions, hosts would normally bring out their best porcelain teapots to brew tea leaves.
The Art Deco period (1920s to 1930s) ushered in a new style trend with teapots of unusual and unconventional designs flooding the market. Manufacturers during this time also began using metal to make teapots.
Collectible cast-iron and ceramic teapots
The Japanese are famous for their cast-iron teapots called tetsubins. These vessels are considered to be highly collectible today. Tetsubins are typically small in size and come in an array of natural colours. They also have small spouts and feature relief designs, with the arare or hobnail pattern being the most common.
Japan is also known for their teapots made of ceramic. Japanese ceramic teapots that have handles at the back are called ushirode, while those that come with a handle on the side are known as yokode.
Collectible vintage American teapots
Hall China Company, a company based out of East Liverpool, Ohio are renowned for their beautiful teapots that are highly prized by many collectors.
Hall China was established in 1903 and is still operating to this day. Gold Label is a line that the company produced that today is highly desired by teapot collectors. Introduced in the 1950s, Gold Label teapots were produced for around a decade. What make these teapots standout are their lavishly decorated exteriors that feature gold trims and accents.
List of teapots