History of the World’s Largest Teapot

Out of townees decelerate nearly to a stop when they see it; some screeching to a halt in front of it. As one travels on US route 30, also known as State Route 2, into the small town of Chester, West Virginia, one cannot pass it by. Well, some drivers do, so they turn right around and return to it, gawking. What is this it? It is called the Chester Teapot, or World’s Largest Teapot.

In 1938, a gentleman named William Devon bought an immense wooden hogshead barrel in Pennsylvania that had been used for a Hires Root Beer advertisement. He had it transported to Chester and placed the barrel beside his pottery outlet store, on main street He covered the barrel with tin to contour a pot form. Then he placed a spout and a handle on the body, and complemented the pot with a beautiful glass ball on the top of the lid.

The teapot’s heyday was in the early fifties to late sixties, while potteries, steel mills, and most businesses were prosperous in Chester and the encompassing area. Anybody traveling to the pottery outlet, which was always busy with visitors, would have to see this huge teapot. The teapot was used as a concession stand with numerous souvenirs. People, particularly children, enjoyed seeing the Worlds Largest Teapot up close and purchasing a postcard or other memento from the windows of the red and white Chester Teapot.

Unfortunately, after having been shut down two years during World War II, when gas had been rationed and visitors were few, Mr. Devon sold his pottery business and the Worlds Largest Teapot in 1947.

Next, food was sold from the Chester Teapot until the late sixties when it was just unprofitable to do so. Lawn and garden particulars in addition to china and novelty pieces were sold from then till new owners purchased the pot.

In 1971, The Worlds Largest Teapot was sold again. This owner painted the teapot blue and white and continued to sell pottery and other gift items for many years out of the teapots windows. Finally the Worlds Largest Teapot was closed by the owners and sat deserted for a long time.

In 1984, C & P Telephone purchased the land that the unusual attraction sat on. The remainder of the old outlet business was destructed and there was danger that this historical item, the pot, would be ruined too. In 1987, C & P offered to donate the Worlds Largest Teapot to the city of Chester.

As a result of native residents fighting to save the Worlds Largest Teapot, a controversy occurred, having been dragged out too long. It was between the State Highway Department and various townsfolk concerning where to place the Worlds Largest Teapot. As this took place, the structure was enduring bad weather after people had done much work to return it to a good state.

In 1990, A councilman accepted the obligation of preserving the Worlds Largest Teapot. A general contractor, volunteers, Tri-State Pottery Festival Association, and the state of WV all donated time, materials, money, labor, and passion to the project of restoring the Worlds Largest Teapot.

At long last, the Teapot found a home adjacent to the Jennings – Randolf Bridge coming from Ohio into WV. The doors and windows were sealed shut and a plastic ball replaced the glass ball on the lid that had been lost over the years. The tin, the floor, parts of the frame, and the spout were all replaced. The red and white colors were painted back on like the barrel had been painted originally, and the land around the attraction was landscaped. This small piece of land was donated by the state and fenced in.

On October 12, 1990, a ceremony was held at the Chester community center, for the official dedication of the Chester Teapot, the largest teapot in the entire world.