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Collecting Teapots

Thursday, July 30, 2009 @ 08:07 AM Karen Hood

As a collector of teapots, the one problem I often run into is that there are so many different manufacturers of past teapots out there. Where does a new collector of these treasures start? What companies have manufactured teapots, and how do you decide if that teapot you have been in search of for quite some time, once you find it, is worth adding to your collection after all?

Lets look at some manufacturers throughout time, materials they used, different design elements, and, very important to the buyer today, how to determine the value of one you are thinking of purchasing.

Manufacturers

Hall China Company, from East Liverpool, Ohio, is considered by many to be ‘the’ teapot manufacturer of all time. Teapots manufactured from the 1920’s, up through the 1950’s are highly sought. This company is still in production today. A popular design element on many of this company’s teapots, was the use of gold trim.

Hull Pottery, from Crooksville, Ohio, is the manufacturer of several popular lines that included teapots. Their most famous being ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, from the 1940’s.

Homer Laughlin China Company, producers of the colorful Fiesta line, from the 1930’s all the way through to present day, offered numerous teapots in colors that collectors just love, from cobalt blue to yellow. The simple lines used in their work is a draw for many collectors looking to add a simple, yet elegant, teapot to round off a collection.

McCoy Pottery, from Roseville, Ohio, also known as the Brush Pottery, manufactured stoneware in the early 1900’s. One teapot they are known for is an advertising item made for the Salada Tea Company in the 1920’s. The teapot lid is in the shape of an ‘S’, for Salada.

Materials

Ceramic, porcelain, glass, china, stoneware, and tin are the most common materials used in both past and present day teapots. The finish of the materials was as varied as the material itself. Spatterware and Spongeware are two different forms of decoration that are often confused. Both appear to have paint smeared across them, with colors including the most common blue, and the harder to find red, yellow, brown, and green.

Figural Teapots and Design Elements

One reason many people collect teapots is that they often came in a figural design that corresponded with something they already collected. Lighthouses to tomatoes, cows to chickens, Santa Claus, Little Red Riding Hood, and even Betty Boop! If you collect a particular theme, chances are a teapot has been made that would fit right in with your collection. Many companies offered ‘Aladdin’ style teapots. These are very beautiful, designed to bring to mind the ‘genie in a bottle’ image. Flowers, Victorian scenes, bright colors as in the Fiesta Ware, chunky handles, slim handles, gilded patterns, all these and more are different design elements used to attract customers of every taste.

Condition

Because teapots of days gone by were an everyday used item, wear and tear is a common problem. Take the time to examine any teapot you are considering purchasing. Run your hand carefully around the inside of the rim, around the edge of the lid, underneath the spout. Research the marks that different companies used if you are in search of a specific manufacturer, as with any collectible, reproductions exist and are made every day. Some things to look for and to consider when you find the perfect teapot to add to your collection include:

Crazing – Numerous small cracks, in the surface or glaze of the piece. A small amount of this is not a big deterrent, but if the piece is widely crazed, you risk actual shedding or chipping on the surface where the crazing appears.

Staining – Depending on the material of the teapot, staining can be a simple matter of proper cleaning to get rid of it, or if the teapot was made from a porous material, staining may be permanent. Personal opinion will make your decision, though staining only on the inside of a teapot meant to be used as a decoration would not stop me from adding one to my personal collection.

Chips and Cracks – The most common place that a teapot will be chipped is on the inside of the lid itself and the rim where the lid meets the pot, also on the underside of the spout itself, from nicking the teacup. Examine these areas well, as a touch of paint to conceal chips is not unheard of by non-reputable dealers. While a small chip can be lived with, a cracked teapot is most likely not worth purchasing.

Hairline Cracks – These fall into the previous chips and cracks, but you need to be especially noticeable of these. Often hard to see, they often are the precursor to larger cracks. A hairline crack may be very small, or run the whole length of the teapot. If a hairline crack already exists, one bump may lead to a teapot that is nothing more than garbage.

After all is said and done, you will have the final decision on whether to add a particular teapot to your collection. One of my favorite pieces is one I would never have purchased. A blue Hall teapot, with gilded gold decorations, brought to me by my husband and son. Working in a remote area they discovered it shattered and half buried. My son collected all the pieces and we pieced it back together. It now sits on the counter holding flowers. Not perfect by any standards, but beautiful because it simply is, a teapot.

Shop now for teapots at Karen’s Collector’s Cottage. Buy the beautiful Dave Fetty Mosaic art glass teapot featured in this article here.

Author Unknown
Source: Essortment

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