Boston’s Giant Steaming Gold Tea Kettle

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston’s Giant Steaming Gold Tea Kettle was created as a marketing prop by the Oriental Teashop. It has since turned into a city landmark!
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About This Location

The story behind Boston’s Giant Steaming Gold Tea Kettle dates back to 1873, when it was made by local coppersmiths Hicks and Badger. It was completed for the Oriental Teashop which had a store on Court Street. They hung the kettle right above their entrance and had it made so they could run a promotional contest. The contest was to guess the capacity of the tea kettle… the winner would receive huge quantities of the company’s unique tea and coffee. 

Thousands of people submitted guesses for the kettle’s capacity and after the contest ended, it was time to measure. On New Year’s Day 1875 around noon, more than 10,000 people had made their way to Scollay Sqaure to watch the measuring and find out who won the contest. The kettle was taken down to a raised platform outside of the store. And then a surprise came, as a 12 year old boy popped out from inside the kettle and juimped down onto the stage. The crowd went wild. Then another boy jumped out and another and another. Eight boys in total. When the crowd thought it was over a ninth head poked out and a six-foot-tall man emerged. 

After the exciting reveals, William Reed, the city’s sealer of weights and measures, measured to capacity of the giant kettle. He used water and poured it in the kettle 5 gallons at a time. After over an hour, he calculated the kettle held 227 gallons, two quarts, one pint, and three gills. A hill is an antiquated measurement equal to one quarter of a pint or 4 ounces. The kettle was emblazoned with its precise volume and re-affixed above the storefront. The original teashop building is now gone, but the kettle has a permanent home at 65 Court Street above a Starbucks.

Location

Address: 63 Court Street, Boston, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.3593702,-71.0592933
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.3593702,-71.0592933
Parking Notes: Ample street parking and garage parking options can be found near the kettle. If you are lucky enough, you can find parking spaces along Commercial Street just a few hundred feet from the Giant Golden Steaming Tea Kettle!

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