Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Statsraad Lehmkuhl details 3, the Boston Teapot Trophy

The Boston Teapot Trophy is a trophy that is awarded to the sail ship that covers the greatest distance over the course of 124 hours.
Why they have chosen that time frame I have no idea of, but as it happens, Statsraad Lehmkuhl has won the trophy 8 times.

Our ship is the current holder of the trophy, and due to that, the actual trophy is sitting on a shelf in the CEO's office.

The trophy itself is a copy of a teapot which was made by Paul Revere (yes, that Paul Revere!). Whenever we hold a meeting in the CEO's room, I find myself drawn to the box that holds the trophy.

Today after the meeting, I quickly snapped a few pictures of the box. I tried a little bit to remove the teapot, but I couldn't see a proper way of doing it, so I stopped before breaking something. While writing this, I got to think of that I think the correct way is to lift out the upper part (the teapot itself), and then remove the base.
I tried to pull a bit at the middle shelf surrounding the teapot.

Technically the trophy isn't part of the ship, but this is my blog, so I decide that it is OK anyway.
According to a link I found, the Trophy was established in 1964

You will be able to find some pictures of the teapot itself in the first link, but here are a couple of other pictures of some details of the box.

I can't see how the box itself is constructed, I mean if it is with secondary wood and veneered shell -or solid wood with blind dovetails. But the overall size of the box is something like 16" x 16" and 8" deep and inside it is lined with some dark blue velvet.
Neither of the screws are clocked which I find a bit strange, after all I am certain that the box was made by someone professional.
The original silver plate on the right hand door has nice engravings, whereas the new silver plate inside the lid has got some not so nice machine type engravings. This is to be expected,as engraving is not something that any goldsmith can do anymore as far as I have understood.
The bracket holding the top of the teapot in place is clearly made with a Forstner bit. I think that is the one detail that look the most out of place to me. Using a Forstner bit is OK to remove the material, but it wouldn't have taken much to take a spade bit of a similar size and ground it to a round shape. Then carefully rounded the bottom of the hole.

Now all this may sound as I am ungrateful for the Trophy which is not the case. Instead I would say that I find it intriguing that after having built stuff myself - I am able to see that not everything that was made 50-60 years ago was better than what could be built today.
Maybe the cabinetmaker tasked with the job had to work on a tight budget because the teapot itself had cost more than anticipated, so a bit had to be saved on the box. Or maybe it was someone who had never heard of clocking screws? We will probably never know.

Silver plate on top of the box.

The closed box.

Hinge stay, new silver plate visible inside the lid.

Description of the inspiration for the trophy. 

Teapot lid holding bracket closed.

Let's just use a Forstner drill, no one will ever notice..


  1. NO one will ever notice... Ha Ha they were not thinking about curious woodworkers around :-)
    Interesting box and story, thanks for sharing

    Bob, with Rudy back from the vet, clean bill of health

  2. That's a neat box! I can see why you were drawn to it. I think the box is sapelle. It's hard to see if it is solid or just veneered. Also, I think I like the fact that the screws aren't clocked. I think this is not something that is too common in old furniture, but I could be wrong.

  3. That could be an interesting project, in particular if you could somehow find a replica of the teapot!! I personally enjoy a well-made replica, as it is my own belief that antiques of historical value should be displayed publicly at museums etc. Though I am sure that people will accuse me of advocating a socialist takeover...I am not in the least..
    Anyway, I digress. I also agree with Brian in that the "unclocked" screws don't bother me. Maybe because when I was a field electrician we used to catch hell for it.
    What species wood do you think you might use to make it? Walnut would be nice, but I'm not sure how readily available it is to you..Then again...Jonas Jensen could make it a masterpiece from pallet wood...

    1. Jonas, by the way this is your friend Mr Slightly Confused...for some reason my name did not show up on the comment..

  4. Jonas,

    I agree with Brian on both counts. It is an interesting box and the door at least looks very much like Ribbon Sapele. What's more interesting is you sail on a fast ship.