A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU
THE WHAT IS? SILVER DICTIONARY

HOT WATER URN
TEA URN

A type of vessel for dispensing, originally, hot water for making tea, that enable the content to be dispensed without lifting or tilting the heavy piece. This item held a place on the sideboards of the wealthier classes from about the middle of the 18th century.
Tea urns were made first of all without any heating accessories. Then appliances were introduced for keeping the water hot by the aid of a heating iron fixed in the upper part of the base. This iron penetrated into the lower part of body. Another system was a tube, fixed on to the base, which ran right up the body of the urn, carrying the heat from the charcoal to the body.


tea urn, c. 1825

A later mode of heating tea urns was by means of a separate piece of iron in the form of a ingot which was made red hot and then deposited in separated fastened-in jacket soldered inside the tea urns made after the year 1800.
From the 1790s the vessel was used to keep hot the tea made in it. The heat was then provided continuously by a spirit lamp set on a flat base or in a frame or separate stand placed under the urn.
Tea urns with lamp and burners are by the far the most satisfactory in use, but they are scarce. Perhaps this can be accounted for the high price prevailing in former times for spirit or wine.
The receptacles of tea urns were of various shapes, globular, vase-chapped, pear-shaped, and were decorated, following the taste evolution, in Rococo or Neo-Classical style.



silver tea urn: Roberts, Cadman & Co, 1789 silver tea urn: T & J. Settle, 1830 silver tea urn

silver tea urn: J. Younge & Co, 1784 silver tea urn silver tea urn: Watson & Bradbury, 1795

silver tea urn silver tea urn: Watson, Pass & Co, 1818 silver tea urn: Matthew Boulton, Birmingham, 1805

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