Gibson & Sons LtdPosted on: 25 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Vince McDonald talks about the pottery maker of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England.
Although not known for novelty teapots, the firm of S Gibson & Sons were major teapot manufacturers for over 75 years. They made many fine useable teapots, always strived for perfection, and the finish was always excellentt..
In 1875 Sydney Gibson founded the Gibson & Sudlow Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, England. It was run as a family concern until 1885 when it became Gibson & Sons Ltd. They set up shop in the Harvey Pottery in Lingard Street, Burslem and remained there until 1957. Also, from 1885 they operated the Albany Pottery in Moorland Road, Burslem until its closure in 1965.
They set out to make useable, but beautifully made, teapots; something they could exhibit around the world, which they duly did. In 1893 they showed at the International Exhibition in Chicago; in 1911 at the Crystal Palace Festival and Imperial Exhibition, as well as the International Exhibition in Turin.
In 1913 they won the Diploma of Honour at the Ghent International Exhibition and exhibited in San Francisco in 1915 at the Panama Pacific International Trade Fair.
In the early 1900s and right up to the Second World War they were a major teapot force in British pottery and made some fine dinner and tea wares. They also used various trademarks, including Windsor Artware, Royal Harvey, and produced commemorative teapots for the King's Silver Jubilee in 1935.
During the Second World War Gibsons went exclusively to teapots, which they specialised in, and after the War they concentrated on major exports to America and Canada. The teapots were made in both red and white clay and highly decorated.
In 1947 the Company was sold to Mineral Separation and by 1949 was re-sold again to the Howard Pottery Group.
By 1952 their range included breakfast, dinner, tea, coffee, sandwich and kitchen ware.
In 1954 the Company produced the Patent T.T. Teapot. This was fitted internally with a detachable hot water jug and infusion took place in the space between the walls of the teapot and the hot water jug. After the first two or three cupfuls had been used, water from the internal hot water jug replaced the tea that had been used: this claimed to pour a stronger and better cup of tea than a coonvenntional teapot. In addition, it was said to be more economical as only two teaspoons of tealeaves needed to be used.
The Largest Teapot In The World
Gibsons also, reportedly, made the largest teapot in the World around 1910. This was supposed to have held 1,024 cups of tea and was intended as a promotional piece for use at the trade fairs.
By the mid-1960s they had reached their peak and were having teapots made by other smaller companies, but still had them impressed with the Gibsons name. In 1965 the Company was reported to have a huge order book with three quarters of their production destined for overseas, but reportedly could not fill the orders due to shortage of a skilled workforce.
After this period Gibsons went into decline and due to a change in consumer taste, not a great deal more teapots were produced.
By Vince McDonald © Totally Teapots, England 2001-5
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