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Silver Tea Pot

This handmade hallmarked sterling silver tea pot is part of a matching tea & coffee set from the 'Appetite' collection of JA Campbell Silversmiths. An English tea set handmade in our Brentwood workshop by Master Silversmith John Campbell and his team of craftsmen. The silver teapot is beautifully balanced and has a hand carved maple wood handle which is a delight to hold.

Drinking tea is a traditional English occasion which you can turn into a celebration by using English sterling silver. If you take your tea seriously this silver teapot is the starting point. Add a silver sugar basin, a silver milk jug, a silver cake stand for the freshly made lemon tarts, a silver preserve bowl for the homemade blackcurrant jam and a sterling silver butter dish. Use the large silver salver from the JA Campbell 'Appetite' collection and your afternoon tea table will nearly be complete. Also part of the same collection are a silver tea caddy and caddy spoon and to serve the tea, a tea strainer.

All you need now are your guests! An English handmade silver tea set will delight you and be a wonderful traditional set to pass from generation to generation. Quite the status symbol! Queen Victoria is said to have preferred her tea from a silver pot, so the tradition is a royal one!

The design features and quality in every item made by craftsmen at JA Campbell are unique. In the unlikely event of damage we provide a full repair service. You can be assured that all our products are made up to a standard not down to a price. Nothing leaves the Brentwood workshop until Master Silversmith John Campbell is completely satisfied.

For those interested in how we make this tea pot in our Brentwood workshop a brief description follows. It contains 11 components and involves 6 techniques. Spinning, Casting, Wood carving, Soldering, Sheet making and Tube drawing.

Spinning: The body and the cover are made by this method. It is a process of forming round hollow objects from sheet metal and is used in other industries for example, electrical for making lampshades, some cooking utensils are made this method. It is an ancient method but still practical today for small to medium production runs. The forming takes place on a metal spinning lathe (rather like a heavy duty wood turning lathe) on which a former known as a 'chuck' has been made. A metal disc, in this case silver, is clamped to it and while they rotate together in tandem the 'spinner' coaxes the disc over the chuck using a highly polished burnisher fixed into a long wooden handle. This tool is known as the spinning tool. Several 'anneals' (made red hot), will be necessary to soften this work hardening material as the item gains depth. A mixture of soap and oil are applied to the surface as a lubricant as it is rotating to minimize scratching and to prevent the item getting too hot. Once fitted closely onto the chuck the spinning is trimmed to size. When all the spinnings have been made they are soldered together to make 2 sub assemblies, body and cover.

Lost wax casting: For the spout. The spout is cast in 2 halves and soldered together using hard solder, but first master patterns have been made of each half and rubber moulds taken. Into these rubber moulds molten wax is injected and once cooled and solidified removed from the mould. The wax copies are then fixed onto a central stem and an open ended steel tube, known as a 'flask' is placed over them. Liquid Plaster of Paris is poured in. Once the plaster has set the flask is heated and the wax drained out, the flask is then heated further up to 1200 degrees C to burn out the last traces of wax. It is then allowed to cool to 400 degrees C at which point the silver is spun into the flask using a centrifuge. The filled flask is allowed to cool even further to around 200 degrees C at which point it is plunged into water causing the plaster to disintegrate to release the castings. These are then 'pickled' to remove oxide and remaining plaster and cut free from their feeder stem.

Carving the maple wood handle: A handle template is placed on the maple wood board and drawn around with a pencil and the shape cut out. At this stage the cross section is still square but needs to be round. This is achieved by filing, rasping and sanding until the handle is perfect and also fits the silver handle sockets soldered to the body. It is then polished on a polishing lathe using 2 grades of compound until smooth and shiny.

Final assembly: The body and all the other components are then pre polished and soldered together to form a complete tea pot body. The lid being separate and therefore removable.

At this stage the article is punched with the makers mark, JAC in a triangle, the initials of John Campbell. It is then taken to the London Assay Office to be scraped and tested. Once a positive result has been received from the laboratory confirming that the article has been made with metal at least 92.5%, pure silver the remaining hallmarks are punched into the surface. This independent hallmarking process began in the 1400's and is one of the world's oldest and most secure forms of consumer protection. Upon arrival back at our workshop, the hallmarks are inspected and 'set', that is to remove the dents the mark punching process puts in. Following this the JA Campbell name punch is applied to the base and the polishing process begins. First using coarse compound on the inside and outside, moving up to medium and finally a fine compound until the high polish associated with silver is achieved. 4 grades are used and around 20 different operations employed. Finally the handle is pushed in place, fixed in with nickel pins and completed tea pot and lid packed into fitted presentation boxes.


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