Posted 6 months ago
I started wondering how I could have ever thought that these two teapots were the same size until I sat them next to one another to compare them, so I put together some specs for each pot. These both have the same foundry marks, and are made by Iwachu, probably between 1989 and 2019 (Heisei Era). Both are still being made (they are classics, I have an older Showa example 1926-1989) and can be purchased new, though they would have a different mark (Reiwa Era) if they were current production. I am still just guessing about the various marks. Yes, I am nerding out. A bit. Maybe. All measurements, except weight, are approximate:
Length (minus spout) - 6" (15.24 cm)
Height (minus handle and lid) - 3.25" (8.3 cm)
Weight - 3 lbs 10 ounces (1.64 kg)
Capacity - 26 ounces (.77 L)
Length (minus spout) - 5.5" (14 cm)
Height (minus handle and lid) - 2.75" (7 cm)
Weight - 3 lb 1 ounce (1.4 kg)
Capacity - 18 ounces (.53 L)
Large pot: Great all day pot for one or two people. The tea I am experimenting with right now is good for three infusions, so a total of 78 ounces, or about 10 large (to me) cups of tea.
Small pot: All day pot for one person? Three infusions = 48 ounces, or six good sized cups of tea.
Both pots: Neither pot's capacity jibes with the sizes in liters given on the KotobukiTrading.com web site. I am not promoting that web site or company, it is just an easy place for me to compare these teapots as they are selling four different sizes of them on one page. Based on their reported sizes, I wonder if I am overfilling my teapots or if there are other sizes available? One odd thing about these Arare (Japanese for hobnail?) teapots is that the lids never have vent holes in them, unlike all other Iwachu kyusu. It is easy to confuse them with tetsubin (kettles) if one is not careful. A tetsubin won't have an infuser, enamel lining or vent hole in the lid and will be fairly large.
Both of these teapots can, with a little patience, be found used, in good condition, for very reasonable prices in the U.S. Not sure why that is, but guessing there may have been a teapot fad in the past few years? Not sure, but not complaining. I have never paid over $40, including shipping and tax for an Iwachu teapot and I have some pretty nice ones. Pretty surprising for such high quality workmanship. It may be because they don't fit the pace of the life style of the average American which people don't discover until after buying one. As noted in this post, these come in several sizes and look identical, so care must be paid to the measurements, diameter and height, to know what you are buying. I like this style because it can be easily maintained using traditional methods.
Neither pot in this post has been cleaned or restored in any way. I did give both a brief brush with a nylon bristle brush to remove any debris from their surfaces and filled both with boiling water to measure the volume they can hold. I did use a paper towel to wipe both out inside just to see if they had been used and I was able to get some tea stains out of both, so they are used teapots. The fact that the smaller one has a visible remainder of a sprue on the bottom may indicate different production periods or different manufacturing methods based on size.
Hey, I warned you that this was a teapot nerd post in the title. You have no one to blame but yourself for wasting life cycles by reading this far!