HOT WATER 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.
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.
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