Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Felicity's Colonial Tea Set

 Hey guys!
      Got my most recent purchase today! I found Felicity's Colonial Tea Set on Ebay, New in Box for a decent price. Average price that I have noticed for this New in Box is $100+ and I got it for $56 plus $8.62 shipping so $64.82 total so I saved a bit... still sucks though that the price through American Girl before Felicity was retired was $48 but like I said before... until Doc Brown shows up with the Delorean, I am going to have to cough up the extra money.
      So anyways... Here is your history lesson.
  In Felicity's time (1774), America was ruled by the King of England, George III.
King George the 3rd of England
 Tea was a very popular drink for the upper class and even the middle class at that time in all of Europe and the Americas. Young ladies like Felicity were taught the proper way to serve and drink tea in a social setting.Tea was imported from China to England by the East India Trading Company. When imported to England, the East India Trading Company had to pay a 25% tax which made tea more expensive and the English government also added an additional tax which made tea even more expensive. Meanwhile, Tea imported to Holland was not taxed which made tea smuggled into England and the Americas from Holland a heck of a lot cheaper for the people to purchase. In time, The East India Trading Company was losing a lot of money and the English government decided to help them by refunding them the 25% tax and the government also lowered taxes on tea purchases in England. However, to compensate the costs, The British Government issued the Townshend Revenue Act, which added more taxes to the colonies, including a hefty tax on tea. Because of this the colonist got angry and they began to argue and protest the tax with their reasons being that any tax should be approved by their own government, not by parliament. Their arguments paid off for a while, and their tax was lowered and the British tea taxes and the 25% import taxes was once again in effect. Then, because of the high cost of tea, the sales plummeted and the East India Trading Company started to go into severe financial crisis. Being the top import company for England, the government once again stepped in to help by restoring the full refund of the 25% tax and by letting them import directly to the 13 colonies which eliminated the cost of the middleman. The East India Trading Company appointed consignee's in ports in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston that would merchant the imported tea. Now here is the catch, when the British government reinstated the refund of the import tax, they also secretly reinstated the tea tax for the imported to the colonies. Well this didn't stay secret for very long... in October of 1773, seven ships were sent to the colonies carrying tea. Four were headed for Boston harbor, and One each for New York, Charleston, and Philadelphia. When colonists found out that this tax was once again in place, they decided to do something about it. Protesters in Charleston, Philadelphia, and New York all convinced (probably not so peacefully) the appointed Consignee's to resign and when the three ships arrived, they were forced to return to England with their cargo. In Boston however, the consignee's held their ground. They refused to resign. One of the four ships that were on their way to Boston sank during a bad storm. So three ships arrived in Boston carrying tea. To make things short and simple I will just tell you the gist of what happened next because hopefully everyone knows about the Boston Tea Party...Basically, a meeting was held by Patriots (people against the King Governing the colonies) and the they got the idea of dumping the crates of tea off the boat and into the river and that is exactly what they did. On December 16th 1773, 30 to 130 men boarded the ship. Some men dressed like Mohawk Indian warriors to represent that they were the citizens of the colonies and not of England. That night they dumped 342 chests of tea into the ocean. The Boston Tea Party was the beginning of many more events that led to the Revolutionary War.
Boston Tea Party
After that, Patriots refused to drink or purchase English tea. Patriot merchants refused to sell tea in their stores. In Felicity's series, her father stopped selling tea in his store and Felicity eventually decided that she was a patriot like her father and refused tea during her lessons. Okay so there is your history lesson. I hope you have learned something new! Now lets talk about my purchase. Felicity's tea set has a teapot, two teacups, two saucers, two silver spoons, a sugar bowl, a creamer/milk pitcher, a silver serving tray and a wooden tea caddy.

The Tea Caddy
This caddy is absolutely adorable. Let me tell you the quick history and use of the tea caddy in the 18th century... Because of the high value of tea, many people locked their tea in a caddy like this. Early tea caddies were made out of expensive materials such as silver, tortoise shell, and shagreen (leather type material) to represent the value of the contents. It was very common that the lady of the house carried the key to the caddy on her chatelaine. Woaw, wait..on her what???   

A chatelaine is pretty much like a key chain that was worn at the ladies waist. This item, with its origins in the middle ages, was used up until the 20th century. Women would keep important household things such as...keys to their tea caddy on this so hopefully no one would be tempted to grab it right off her waist!
chatelaine worn by a women in the victorian era

 Alrighty then... back to the tea caddy! By 1780s, most tea caddies were being made of mahogany just like this one is suppose to replicate and it does have a little non functioning lock just like the real version would have. 

                                           The Tea cups
18th Century Tea Bowl
          I never noticed until I bought this, but the cups have no handles which is historically accurate. Early tea cups typically did NOT have handles. Coffee and hot chocolate glasses did however have handles even in their earliest form. These early teacups were actually called "tea bowls." The saucer however isn't as accurate. Saucers in the 18th century were more bowl shaped. There is a belief that tea was poured from the cup into the saucer and drank from the saucer. 

The rest of the set looks good, the one things it is missing is a.. 
A. waste bowl, also called a slop bowl. 18th century tea sets usually had one. A bowl that is used to dump cold un-drank tea and other wastes into. Sexy right?
B. A tea strainer. Tea didn't come in convenient pouches in colonial times. Tea was sprinkled into the teapot and then strainers were placed over the individual cups and the tea was poured through the strainers and into the cup.      

Tea Strainer
The Serving Tray
I think this tray looks pretty historically accurate. Beautiful "silver" engraved with a lovely design. The only complaint I have is you can't fit the whole tea set on it which is kind of annoying but I'll live I guess. 

Well there you have it guys! I know it was a long history lesson but thanks for bearing with me and I hope you learned something new and interesting! I am definitely happy with my purchase and all in all, it is beautifully made and high quality.  


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