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Monday, March 28, 2011

Cup Shapes & Styles

Hi! This week I would like to share with you the different types of cup shapes & styles. Each cup shape has it's own personality & adds it's own charm to each cup collection.

This shape is called -Adelaide

This shape is called- Adelaide (Scalloped)

This shape is called - Art Deco

This Shape is called- Art Deco (Swirl)

This shape is called- Avon

This shape is called- Bowl

This shape is called- Brisol Beaker

This shape is called- Brisol Beaker (Scalloped)

This shape is called- Bute

This shape is called- Bucket

This Shape is called- Bucket (Swirl)

This shape is called- Chocolate

This Shape is called - Coffee Can

This shape is called- Corinth

This shape is called- Countess

This shape is called- Countess (Swirl)

This shape is called- Coupe

This shape is called- Doris

This shape is called- Elizabethan

This shape is called- Empire

This shape is called- Encore

This shape is called- Flower

This shape is called- Fluted

This shape is called- Fragonard

This shape is called- Glasgow

This shape is called- Hexagon

This shape is called- London

This shape is called- Lyric

This shape is called- Malvern

This shape is called- Montrose

This shape is called- Oval (Egg)

This shape is called- Paneled

This shape is called- Quatrefoil

This shape is called- Ribbed

This shape is called- Scot

This shape is called- Shell or Neptune

This shape is called- Smooth

This shape is called- Shelly or Dainty

This shape is called- Square

This shape is called- Victoria

   Next week I will have cup handle shapes! Have a Great week!

Monday, March 21, 2011

History of the Cup & Saucer

Cup & Saucer Sizes
 Left -Tea Cup & Saucer -Middle Demitasse Cup & Saucer-
Right-Mini Cup & Saucer (Also known as Doll size)
(Not shown-Coffee Cup & Saucer)

The History of the Cup & Saucers 

  Coffee was originally served in a can-which was a metal cylinder with high straight sides that had a handle.The metal cylinder's measured approximately 2 1/2" high & 2 1/2" in diameter (this is where the term "can shape" cup derives from. However, there was a problem, the "metal cans" became very hot due to the hot liquid inside the metal cup, making it difficult to hold on too. In the middle 1800's the problem was solved, a new, more elegant form of the coffee can emerged using porcelain & bone china instead of metal. By using these materials, the potter's were also able to produce the cups in a variety of forms & decorative designs. The saucers at this time in history had a center depression in order to hold the cup & were referred to as a "coffee stand" rather than a "saucer". The coffee cup & saucer is the largest in the cup & saucer family, (not shown in picture). Today's average cup measures approximately 4-4 1/2" tall & the saucer measures approximately 6- 61/2" in diameter.

The History of the Tea Cup & Saucer

   An early custom of drinking tea was to drink it from a "tea bowl", designed with curved sides the tea bowl, looking much like the saucers we know today, were used due to the larger surface area, which allowed the fluids to cool down more rapidly. The "East Indian Trading Company" in the 1700's was the first to import the tea bowls from China. The tea bowls were also designed to hold less fluid than the metal cylinders that were used for coffee, due to the high cost of tea at the time. In the 1800's the tea cup with higher sides & handles became more popular than the use of the tea bowls, due to the fact that the tea bowls became very hot & due to their short sides, they were very difficult to sit down on a flat surface. The new form of the tea cup became universal. As the tea cup developed, the saucer became smaller, now functioning as a cooling place to hold onto while the hot tea cup rested in the center of the small plate, which also became a handy place for the tea drinker to rest their teaspoon. The tea cup & saucer is the next size & most common in the cup & saucer family (far left in picture). Today's average cup measures approximately 3- 3 1/2" tall & the saucer measures approximately 5-5 1/2" in diameter.

The History of the Demitasse Cup & Saucer

   The Demitasse (pronounced-"dem-i-tas"), originated in France in the 1800's. Demitasse means "half-cup", due to it typically being half the size of a full coffee cup. The purpose of the smaller half cup is for drinking stronger coffee's such as espresso, cappuccino & Turkish coffee, typically served after dinner. The Demitasse cup & saucer is the next size in the cup & saucer family (middle in the picture, also referred to as a "Demi cup" or "Child's size" cup & saucer). Today's average cup measures approximately 2-2 1/2" tall & the saucer measures approximately 4- 4 1/2" in diameter.

The History of the Miniature Cup & Saucer

   The first miniature dinnerware set for doll's was produced in Nuremberg, Germany in the middle 1500's. Miniature collecting is one of the largest hobbies in the world. The miniature cup & saucer is the smallest size in the cup & saucer family (far right in the picture, also referred to as a "doll size" cup & saucer). Today's average cup measures approximately 1-2" tall & the saucer measures approximately 3-3 1/2" in diameter

   The difference in these sizes are very noticeable when the cups & saucers are setting side by side, as shown in the picture or displayed in glass hutch, but it may be very difficult to tell the actual size of a set from a picture of a single set or when the set is setting by it's self on a shelf at a store without another size to compare it too. For this reason I recommend that you always ask the size of a set if you are purchasing it off of the Internet if the size is not already listed in the description (that's how I got the Tea cup & saucer & the Miniature cup & saucer set. They were listed as "Demitasse cups & saucers" & it wasn't until I unpacked them that I realized they were NOT Demitasse cups & saucers). I also recommend  that when you are shopping at an Antique store that you carry a small pocket measuring tape (found at most hardware stores) in order to check the size before you get it home. It will save a lot of disappointment of placing a set among your collection only to realize it's the wrong size.

   For all of you experts out there, you are right, I did forget one other type of cup & saucer set, the Chocolate cup & saucer, pictured below.

The History of the the Chocolate Cup & Saucer

   Chocolate or "cocoa water" has been around since 500 BC when the Mayans & Aztecs would pour "kaka" (cocoa) from one pot into another in order to produce a frothy head of foam, this drink was served cold  & was at times mixed with other ingredients which included chilies & cornflower. The consumption of this drink was reserved for men. By the middle of the sixteenth century the Spanish added cane sugar to the drink in order to cut the bitter taste.The earliest chocolate cup was a standard part of the Spanish chocolate service, which were called "Mancerina", which was a saucer with a depression in the middle in which a porcelain cup would sit without sliding. In the middle 1600's the chocolate drink grew in popularity throughout Europe. The first porcelain chocolate service set dates back to the 1770's & was produced for nobility throughout Europe. In the late 1800's Limoges & Dresden produced fine chocolate sets that are very collectable today. Chocolate drinking arrived in American colonies in 1765 when the very first American chocolate factory, "Walter Baker & Company" opened in New England & is still in operation today. The size of the chocolate cup & saucer is similar to the size of the Demitasse set, with the exception that the chocolate cups are taller & thinner. Today's average cup measures approximately 3-3 1/2" tall & the saucer measures 4- 4 1/2" in diameter.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

About The Author

   I saw my very first Demitasse cup & saucer when I was five years old. It was a small, modest collection belonging to my Great Grandmother Lela who was born in 1896 & passed away in the summer of 1967. I was only fives years old, but it was love at first sight! I had seen tea cups & saucers before, but these where smaller, so I figured that they had been made for small children, such as I was at the time. I would gaze at them from afar (a shelf located on my Great Grandmother's wall, way out of my reach). I was six years old when my Great Grandmother passed away, but I never forgot the beauty of those tiny cups & saucers.
   One day I discovered a box tucked way back under the stairs in the house where I lived with my parents & siblings. I opened the box only to discover that it contained my Great Grandmother's Demitasse cups & saucers, what a find! I remember sneaking downstairs, underneath the stairs & pulling one cup out at a time & unwrapping it & placing it with it's appropriate saucer. If only my Mother would of known, I wouldn't be here today to tell my story!
   Years later, when I was much older & had my own family to raise, I asked my Mother whatever happened to the Demitasse cups & saucers that my Great Grandmother owned. She  said "I don't know, I have them somewhere. Why, would you like them?" I believe my heart skipped a beat. a week later my Mother came over carrying the box of Demitasse cups & saucers! Since I received the Demitasse cups & saucers in 1982, the small, modest collection has grown from ten cups & saucers to two hundred & growing every year!
   The more I bought, the more I needed to know. Demitasse cups & saucers has become a full time hobby of mine. I have spent years looking up company history's, pattern names, shapes & pottery marks. Where did it all begin? Who designed these beautiful works of art? I can just imagine the joy in the persons eye's as they held & then purchased the cup & saucer when it was brand new. I wonder how many people had held each & every Demitasse cups & saucer set I own & admired it's beauty. This I will never know. But the one thing I am sure of, is that every Demitasse cup & saucer set has a history, a story to tell & I would like to share with you what I have learned over the past thirty years, so you too can appreciate the world of the Demitasse cups & saucers!