Royle’s self-pouring teapot

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John James Royle
Born in Manchester in 1850, John J. Royle started a foundry and engineering business in King Street West, Manchester in 1882. He became a successful industrialist, moving to Great Bridgewater Street in Manchester in 1890, before moving to a large industrial site, the “New Works” at Irlam, Manchester. His company produced heat exchangers, water heaters, radiators, and evaporators for industrial and commercial use.
As well as being a successful businessman, “J.J.” was also a typical Victorian inventor, always looking for labour-saving devices to invent and patent. These included a large number of inventions for both industrial and household use, many of which were patented.
Some of his household inventions included an egg beater, a timed egg boiler, pendulous gas table and ceiling lights, smokeless fuel stoves & heaters and a smokeless fuel irons. However, It is the self-pouring teapot, patented in 1886, for which he was to become most well known.

The self-pouring teapot
Originally designed and produced as a promotional item for his industrial customers, the teapot became so popular that a production of several thousand was commissioned from Doulton & Co. of Burslem, Shropshire and Joseph Dixon & Sons of Sheffield to make ceramic and silver versions respectfully.
The teapot works by a pumping mechanism and was designed for the large Victorian family who required large teapots. The lid is raised then depressed with the finger covering the small hole in the top of the lid, generating pressure within the teapot, hence expelling the tea through the tea and out of the spout.
The curved spout meant the teapot did not have to be lifted, and the added bonus of the water being forced through the tea leaves in the bottom of the teapot, was thought to enhance the flavour of the tea.
The teapots can be found worldwide and were supplied to Queen Victoria in 1887 as well as the Princess of Wales (Alexandra of Denmark) and to Grand Duke Serge of Russia. The teapots are known to be at the following locations and frequently appear on E-bay. A recent Google search for “Royles teapot” revealed over 30 positive hits.
Betty’s famous tea-shop, Harrogate, Yorkshire
National Museum, Liverpool
Hampshire County Council
Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
Brighton & Hove Museum
Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia