by Andy Titcomb
The racing car teapot with it’s distinctive number plate OKT42 (okay tea for two) was first made in 1937 by J Sadler & Son, a pottery company originally founded in Stoke on Trent, England, by James Sadler in 1882.
The teapot was initially finished with a green, yellow or cream glaze and all early teapots were decorated with platinum/silver lustre, which looks like chrome plate.
Smaller numbers were glazed in black, blue, maroon or pink and these are consequently worth more.
The base of the teapot was impressed with the mark “Made In England,” together with the design registration number “820236” and the decorator’s initials in gilt. After the war a printed “Sadler” back stamp appeared.
Post war production saw a decline in lustre decoration due to it’s high cost, and the teapots were then glazed in plain or mottled colours with no other decoration.
Small quantities of white teapots were covered with Mabel Lucy Atwell transfers and these are also quite valuable.
Sadler ceased production of the car teapots in the 1950’s and the company went into liquidation in 2000. Churchill China purchased the right to use the historic teapot company’s brand name, designs and archives, along with some product lines and stock.
The design and the production moulds of the racing car teapot were purchased by Peter Wood, an avid collector of original Art Deco novelty teapots and for a number of years he made his own high quality versions of the teapot in Stoke on Trent, these all have the “Racing Teapots” logo printed on the underside, production of these has also now ceased.
There are numerous fakes which can be detected because of their smaller size as they were made using a mould taken from a fired teapot and do not have the straining holes inside the spout. Various Japanese makers also copied the design in the 1970’s and 80’s.
The racing car teapot remains one of the most wonderful iconic “classic” 1930’s teapot designs.
Don’t forget to check out Andy’s blog, Teapots Teapots Teapots, for more on teapots!