There aren’t many things more soothing than a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day! Maybe that’s why those sturdy and beautiful vintage teapots by Hall China have become my latest obsession. They were made in so many different shapes and colors, it seems there is one to suit every mood. From the simple, like this black and gold New York style,
to a more complex design such as this Cobalt Blue Airflow shape, a teapot made by Hall China can set the tone for entertaining friends or for a quiet evening at home.
Fascinated by the shapes, I have become engrossed in learning about the history of these distinctive teapots. Each time I discover one I haven’t seen before, I am sure that Hall China Company must have made an infinite number of pots in every size, shape, and color! In fact, Lois Lehner’s Complete Book of American Kitchen and Dinnerwares quotes one of Hall China Company’s 1923 ads: “Forty-eight different teapots, no two alike.”
One of my favorite reference books is Hall China Tea and Coffee Pots, The First 100 Years, by Gary and Paula Barnebey,©2005. The authors reference trade journals throughout the book. Trade journals were used to market to retailers, so there are many insights to the product in these historical documents.
I was surprised to read that a 1927 trade journal advertised “The proper serving of iced tea requires that the drink should be brewed in a Hall China Teapot and the hot tea poured directly into the ice-filled glass.” I wonder how many glasses were shattered that way!
In 1928, a trade journal perhaps more sensibly said, “…good tea requires a Hall China Teapot, non-absorbent, non-crazing, and heat retaining.” Well, Hall teapots have certainly proven their durability, as many homes still have at least one vintage Hall teapot, and most do not seem to show their age!
This stylish Los Angeles teapot was introduced by Hall China in the mid-1920s. I can just imagine “pouring out,” (as it was called in the Society pages,) with this teapot when friends came to call. The gold decoration that Hall China began to apply during the twenties added a touch of elegance, and it’s easy to visualize the delicate hands of a lady holding the pot at the handle and at the top as she pours. Even my little granddaughter holds her toy teapot in this way at our “tea parties!”
Now part of the Homer Laughlin China Company, Hall China has made many changes in teapot styles over the decades. Hall began making their teapots in the early 1900s using a process that was highly resistant to crazing. The earliest Hall teapots were made in just three colors, white, brown, and green. By the 1920s, cobalt blue, black, and other colors entered the line, and in the late 1930s, even bright red became a popular color for Hall China teapots!
New shapes were introduced over the years as well. This Hook Cover teapot in a lighter, “Cadet Blue” was introduced in 1940, and gold decoration was first added to this line in 1941. The lines and shapes of the 1940s are reflected in the elongated shape of the pot and especially in the angles of the finial on the top of the cover. Note the similarity to the Airflow cover, above!
Another popular shape of the 1940s was the Sani-Grid shape, seen here with the beloved Rose Parade decoration. As the name implies, the spout was made with a grid to catch the tea leaves and was also shortened for easy cleaning. In addition to the beautiful blue with white handles and lovely roses, perhaps its popularity increased because the shortened pouring spout also made this teapot easier to store!
Always reinventing their product, Hall introduced the “Victorian” Series in 1946. The color on this one is a much prettier sky blue than this photo would have you believe! Named the “Murphy,” this one was also nicknamed “Peel.” As with many of Hall’s teapot designs, the Murphy has a charming finial on the top, this one resembling a slice of lemon!
If you enjoy a great pot of tea, then a vintage Hall teapot is a must. Found in every shape and color, these endearing teapots have stood the test of time, and the hunt for the one that calls to you can be a fun and fascinating pursuit!
Leave a reply to tell me about your vintage Hall teapot memories!
Sources for this post:
Lehner, Lois. Complete Book of American Kitchen and Dinnerwares. Des Moines, Iowa: Wallace-Homestead, 1980.
Barnebey, Gary and Paula. Hall China Tea and Coffee Pots, The First 100 Years. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing, 2005
Cunningham, Jo. Collector’s Encyclopedia of American Dinnerware, 1st Edition. Paducah, Kentucky: Collector Books, A Division of Schroeder Publishing Co., 1982.