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War Time Was Tea Time

Lynnette Thomas

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For thousands of years teapots have been a prominent feature of Chinese culture, with the earliest examples found, dating back to 1513.

It was believed that the flavours of the tea could be better managed, concentrated and repeated, by using only one serve pots, so the early pots were much smaller than normal English teapots. They were usually intended for only a single person drinker, who drank from the spout of the pot.

The teapot was not introduced into English society until the 17th century. English tea drinking was initially the prerogative of the upper class, as it was seen as a very expensive pastime.

It was not until 1708 that Dresden, Germany, discovered a way to produce porcelain for teapots.

Maybe because of the regularly cold climate of England, the English first introduced the idea of covering the pot with a teacosy, a padded fabric covering. It was much like wearing a hat, but with holes cut in it for the spout and the handle.

The common saying ‘chocolate teapot’ came into existence in the oddity of the English language. The thought being that chocolate would melt, making the teapot useless. When you called someone or something a ‘chocolate teapot’ you were designating it as being totally useless.

The ‘Utah Teapot’ is a standard reference point in the computer graphics community, relating to 3-D imagery.

Bertrand Russell made undeniable religious claims. These became known as ‘Russell’s Teapot’.

Sagittarius constellation has a star pattern which looks likes a teapot, though it is not officially recognized as a constellation.

‘I’m a little teapot’, is still a top favourite action song with kindergarten children.

In a crack-down on a Malaysian cult, ‘Sky Kingdom’, in 2005, the local authorities sent bulldozers into the property, with instructions to tear down the sect’s 35ft logo of a pink teapot.

The world’s biggest teapot is to be found in Ohio, United States. In 1938 the Chester teapot was built as a gigantic wooden hogshead barrel for a Hire’s Root Beer advertising campaign. The barrel was then moved to Carolina Avenue, by Devon’s pottery outlet store. A handle and spout were added, after the barrel was covered with tin to form the teapot shape. A large glass ball was attached on top as the knob of the lid. Not the most attractive teapot in the world.

Once upon a time you could buy loose tea in 10lb boxes, but the teapot that was once a prominent feature of every English speaking home, globally, has now been replaced by the soulless disposable teabag. Custom and ceremony have yielded to convenience and quickness. Although, it was the tea tax that concluded in being a resistance movement in the late 1700s. This eventually became the American Revolution War.

It is no coincidence that the latest grassroots political group in America, which claims no central leadership goes by the name of the ‘Tea Party Movement’. Some amusing person has said the word tea stands for ‘Taxed Enough Already’. It was the Tea Party Movement that was the bottom of the extended argument that nearly crippled the nation to its knees, over whether or not the United States would default on its national debt. It was the Tea Party that was at the bottom of getting the United State’s credit rating to disastrously lowered.


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