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NOVA-Antiques is the Mid Atlantic website for all things antique and collectible. Our website features antique & collectibles dealers, shops & malls; Flea Market Directory & Reviews; Monthly Antiques Show Calendar; Estate & Tag Sales Page; and our NOVA-Antiques Newsletter, which contains news, articles and information about the antiques & collectibles market. NOVA-Antiques Blog is an extension of our Newsletters.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brief History of the Tea Caddy

Ahhh . . . a refreshing cup of tea. The same tea that the patriots dumped into the Boston Harbor was introduced to the English from China in the mid 1600’s. Believed to be a healing drink by its early connoisseurs, tea was originally for the well to do because of its extremely high price. Tea was packaged and imported in large quantities and the tax man then levied heavy taxes on the shipments. Tea remained very expensive for about 100 years, until many people started buying the tea illegally from the black market. Because tea was associated with the mighty and powerful, it had to be stored in only the best boxes or what was known as the tea caddy.

The word caddy is from Malaysia and was a unit of measure equal to about 3/5 of a kilo. In the early 1700’s a lot of tea caddies were made of wood in very intricate design, many featuring tortoiseshell and ivory. These boxes were shaped like small chests and some were even carved in the Chippendale style. These antique early boxes are very rare and collectible today. In the 1800’s the tea caddies began to take different shapes, with influences coming from both China and Egypt. Many of the tea caddies from this era featured pagoda tops and tapered sides as well a concave and other linear combinations.

NOVA-Antiques Newsletter Archives - August 3, 2007 . . . .

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