Williamsburg Tea Caddy. Tea chests were fixtures in affluent English and colonial homes. This reproduction of a rectangular tea chest, based on an antique made between 1740-1760, features equally sophisticated style and craftsmanship. Solid brass fittings, mahogany wood, and delicate curves make this keepsake box a perfect fit with traditional furnishings, while its distinctive style also suits a modern décor. The tea caddy is in excellent condition for age. The caddy measures 5 ¾” x 9 ½” 6 ¼”.
“The word Caddy is believed to be derived from catty, the Chinese pound, equal to about a pound and a third avoirdupois. The earliest examples that came to Europe were of Chinese porcelain, and approximated in shape to the ginger-jar. They had lids or stoppers, likewise of china, and were most frequently blue and white. Until about 1800 they were called tea canisters rather than caddies. Earlier tea caddies were made of either porcelain or faience. Later designs had more variety in materials and designs. Wood, pewter, tortoise-shell, brass, copper and even silver were employed, but in the end the material most frequently used was wood, and there still survive vast numbers of Georgian box-shaped caddies in mahogany, rosewood, satin-wood and other timbers. These were often mounted in brass and delicately inlaid, with knobs of ivory, ebony or silver. Most caddies were lockable, the key being kept by the mistress of the House, as tea was very expensive as the servants were not to be totally trusted! Many examples were made in Holland, principally of the earthenware of Delft. There were also many English factories producing high quality goods.