That Car-shaped Teapot, if you have one, is a GEM

submitted by Linda Gordy
Volume 24 No. 8 - April 1998

The 1950s was the era of bridge teas, white gloves and molded Jello salads. That was when Hall China Co. of East Liverpool, OH, produced enough teapots to serve every card table in America.

Then came the coffee buzz of the 80s. Hall pulled away from teapots and concentrated on commercial restaurant ware because everyone started eating out.

Hall Teapots What happened to the sweet old Hall teapots we packed away in favor of Mr. Coffee? They became collectibles. Now that chamomile and hibiscus mint have won the affection of the stress management set, Hall teapots are as popular as ever, selling for prices that would make the Mad Hatter scream.

The most expensive collectible teapots are those in Hall's novelty line, made in the shapes of automobiles, baskets, bird cages, doughnuts and basketballs.

Originally introduced in 1938 and 1939, the novelties now sell for $100 to several hundred dollars apiece, depending on shape and hue (automobiles are rarest).

But less gimmicky designs, such as Moderne (whose elongated spout and streamlined shape and details give it the appearance of a bird in flight) and Aladdin (which looked like a real genie's headquarters) can be had for less than $50 each.

Red and cobalt are the most sought-after colors and bring higher prices, as do any examples with gold or silver trim.

Gold decoration kicked off Hall's teapot career in the first place. Founded in 1903, Hall China Co. originally based its business on institutional goods. Teapots were rendered only with stock brown, green and white glazes. But in 1920, Hall was commissioned to adorn three stock teapot shapes with gold decoration for a store promotion. The response was so positive that Hall initiated a Gold Decorated Teapot line.

Over the years, Hall developed the widest palette of glazes offered by any china company. Using a base of Turk blue, Celadon, Daffodil, or any other of the more than 36 colors, Hall's decorating department experimented with transfer prints, decals and hand applied gold trim and motifs.

There was an abundance of shapes - more than 50 different kinds have been found.

Collector hints:

  • Hall teapots are durable and feature a high quality glaze that rarely cracks. All but the gold decorated pots can be safely used in a microwave.
  • Most Hall teapots were marked. The most common early 3Os - early 70s mark is a plain circle that encloses -Hall spelled out in block capitals.
  • Hall is still in business and has reissued several old teapots including the Airflow, Rhythm, Teataster, Doughnut and Streamline designs, using original molds but new colors. None of the reissues has gold decoration, so any gold-trimmed Hall pot is truly old.
  • Collectors should learn the differences between the old and new solid colors to avoid making mistakes.

(Reprinted from Gannet News Service, March 8, 1992. Submitted by Linda Gordy)