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Friday, September 02, 2005

History of the racing car teapots


The Racing Car teapot was first made in 1937. It is arguably the most famous novelty teapot of all time, with its distinctive number plate OKT42 (okay tea for two).
Evidence is scant, but it is claimed by many collectors that the first teapots were multi-coloured in orange, black and green—applied over a white glaze (which can be seen if you look inside the pot).
The most common colours are green, yellow and cream. All of the early teapots were also finished in a platinum lustre, which looks like chrome plate. The lustre contains silver and, as well as being very expensive, is difficult to apply and fire. Lustre can, if treated harshly, wear thin and/or reveal scratches.
Small batches of the OKT42 teapots were also glazed in Black, Blue, Grey, Pink, and Maroon; all were finished with platinum lustre.
Until the outbreak of the war in 1939, the factory did not use a “Sadler” backstamp. The base of the teapots were simply marked, “Made In England”, along with the design registration number “820236”.
Like most of the pottery industry, the Sadler factory was soon producing wares, under licence, for the War Department. Production of the OKT42 teapots was stopped, until the cessation of hostilities in 1945.
Silver was now in short supply, and the price of platinum lustre soared. So the factory came up with a novel plan to decorate the majority of the teapots. The pots were first glazed in a base colour, then a slightly different colour was applied with a sponge. This gave a pleasing, mottled effect, which was much cheaper to manufacture. The OKT42 number plate was no longer applied.
It was obviously even cheaper to make the pots in a single colour. The factory wasn’t adverse to this idea and many thousands were churned out in this fashion. A thin luminous glaze was used, which is very pleasant but didn’t prove popular.
The small number of post-war teapots, finished with platinum lustre, are easily recognised by today’s collector. All pots made after (and including) 1945 carry the Sadler backstamp and, very often, the decorator’s initial(s).
Due to the success of the Mabel Lucy Atwell illustrations, the Sadler factory also made a brave attempt at imitating that style. Small Attwell-style transfers were applied to the cream glazed teapots. Instead of platinum lustre, a bright orange glaze was used. Today this teapot is very sought after, and the value has soared.
The factory did, however, experiment with a number of different colour glazes. You could also ask the factory to apply a “personalised” registration number, for a nominal sum. You may come across one with the number plate, “1937”. This was applied to the first pots, displayed at the trade shows of that year. Dealers, today, are asking around £1000 (Euros 1500 or $1750) for a mint example. See our price guide for all versions of this teapot.
Production of the Racing Teapot finally ceased in 1952 when the factory, like most of the decorative industries, geared up to making products to celebrate the crowning of the new Queen, Elizabeth.
http://racingteapots.com/cars.html

3 Comments:

Anonymous Gust said...

I have one of these teapots which is cream with orange trimmings. My mother bought in 1937/38 I believe. I am trying to find out the worth of it. Anyone help?

3:57 pm  
Blogger sandra said...

I have a sadler racing car in turquoise and green it has a sadler stamp plus engraved made in England and ref 820236. Would love 2 no how much it's worth please X.

8:02 pm  
Blogger sandra said...

I have a sadler racing car in turquoise and green it has a sadler stamp plus engraved made in England and ref 820236. Would love 2 no how much it's worth please X.

8:02 pm  

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