Sometimes a “blast from the past” is great and gives you a chance to relive those “happy days.” Other times that blast ends up exploding your notions about “the good old days” instead, making you realize how good these new days are. Nostalgic teawares can do both, as I experienced recently with a certain tea kettle. But rather than pick on that one item, I’d rather take a look at some other items on the market — ones that can be used and others that are more ornamental at this stage of their “lives” but all being able to evoke the past.
First, I have had to conclude that my own little bit of nostalgia, whom I affectionately named “Ed,” is best left sitting on the display shelf. He was probably very useful in his day, but now he seems, electronically speaking, a bit behind the times. In fact, this is my first caution about some nostalgic teawares — if they are electric and older than the 1960s, have an electrician or appliance repairman check them over before you use them. In addition, certain standards have changed. For example, the toxicity of lead is much better known now so pewter cups that are new are formulated without lead versus older pewter items that might contain lead. The same goes for the glazes used on some ceramics.
On the other hand, sometimes manufacturing locations change and quality can be adversely affected, making the older items better than the newer ones. The new spouts might not pour as driplessly as the old spouts or the lid fit as snugly on the newer teapots, for example. And some of the decorative work might not be as artistically executed. However, such perfection in the older item may instill you with a sense of protectionism where you prefer to set the item aside lest it get chipped or broken. Resist this and go ahead and enjoy the item, unless you purposely bought it as something to cherish and not use.
Yes, nostalgia is a fine thing, and it can take you back in time, mentally and emotionally. But when it comes to teawares that journey can be a bit iffy. So beware and keep things safe for your tea time.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.