History of the Humble Tea Pot

I mention tea pots in a few of my blogs so thought it was about time we discovered where the humble tea pot originated from…

The humble tea pot ♥
Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

History of the beloved tea pot: Tea pots were said to have been invented in China based on the Chinese wine ewer during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They were initially designed for a single drinker therefore a lot smaller than today’s standard tea pot. According to some the Chinese were said to have consumed their tea straight from the tea pot spout. Before the tea pot tea leaves were brewed in cauldrons, jars or directly in the cup. By the end of the 17th century as tea was transported by ship from China to Europe porcelain tea pots of blue and white were also carried. These were particularly desirable to the upper class consumers of fine tea and as they weren’t able to purchase or manufacture them in Europe at this time they were in high demand. By 1710 the Meissen factory in Germany was in full production and porcelain tea pots were being made, inspired by the Chinese designs.

Meissen Tea Pot circa 1740

The Russian Samovar or tea-boiler was first registered in Russia in 1778. Although samovars had been used before this date this was the first official registration of a samovar producing factory. A samovar is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water. The heated water is typically used to make tea and many samovars have a ring-shaped attachment around the chimney to hold and heat a tea pot. Traditionally heated with coal, charcoal or pine-cones, most modern samovars are electrical. Samovars are intricately and beautifully designed and are highly sort after as a souvenir. The samovar has been adopted outside of Russia in such countries as Turkey, Iran, Vietnam and Afghanistan to name a few.

Japanese Tea Pots or Tetsubin are cast iron and traditionally heated over charcoal. The origin of the Tetsubin is unclear but thought to have been around the era of Rikyu 1522-91, a historical figure in the Japanese Way of Tea. Available in varying sizes they are often decorated with ‘relief’ (raised) designs. The European version of these, known as a Tetsu Kyusu (iron tea pot) are a little different in that they are glazed inside with enamel and used more as a tea pot. These wouldn’t be able to be heated like the Tetsubin as the enamel would crack. The Tetsu Kyusu has a removable tea strainer inside.

Tetsubin 19th century
Japanese inspired tea-ware
Photo by Zakaria Zayane on Unsplash

English Tea Pots come in all shapes, sizes, colours and designs. One of the most commonly known is the Brown Betty round and with a deep brown glaze know as Rockingham glaze. The original tea pots were made using red clay that was discovered in the Stoke-on-Trent area of England. The Sadler tea pots originated when James Sadler and Sons started up a pottery manufacturers in 1882. They first created novelty teapots in the 1930s and the pre-war tea pots were decorated with a silver lustre. Royal Albert, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton have manufactured some stunning tea pot designs over the years.

Whatever your tastes are there is a tea pot to suit your needs and decor…what would be your favourite?

17 thoughts on “History of the Humble Tea Pot

  1. How interesting! There are some amazing tea pots here. The Meissen Tea Pot is fabulous. I love my tea pots; I have 4. They’re quite boring in comparison to these. But I do have one favourite. I bought it over 20 years ago and it’s still as good as new.

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  2. A very interesting post. My poor tea pot is very ordinary with a pig on it, it never gets used.. tea bags are easier, ha ha. Alot of these tea pots or samovars, I wouldn’t want to put tea in, they would be in display. My ex grandmother in law bought me a Winnie the pooh teapot. That sits in my display cabinet, there is absolutely no way I would put tea in it.

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    1. Yes they are beautiful aren’t they. I only have about 8, various shapes and sizes. But if you ask me how many teacups I have, I have lost count 🙄😂☕

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  3. When I go to antique stores, one of the first things I look for are tea pots. I love everything about them. My daughter was obsessed with them too when she was a little bit younger. I had tons of fun antiquing with my tweenaged daughter, rummaging for tea sets ♡

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