The Jewel Tea Company has a long and celebrated history in America. The Replacements, Ltd. Museum features a number of collectible items bearing the Jewel Tea name, including this unique nautilus tea pot and equally unique car-shaped tea pot. Both of these rare items were produced in the most popular of Jewel Tea patterns, “ Autumn Leaf.”
In 1899, Frank Vernon Skiff began a door to door sales campaign whereby he sold teas, coffee, and spices. With only a $700 investment in his product and a wagon, Mr. Skiff began pacing the streets and knocking on doors. Skiff considered his door to door sales technique as having a considerable advantage over shopping at the grocery store. First, he always showed up at the exact same hour each week. Second, he only sold as much tea, coffee, spice, baking powder, etc. as the customer needed. During those days, people did not often go to the grocery store. When they did, they stocked up on household items. As a result of this, teas, coffee, and spices were not always fresh. This provided Mr. Skiff with a sales opportunity, which he eventually incorporated into a company, Jewel Tea.
By 1914, Skiff’s company, Jewel Tea, had developed a national reputation and opened a Home Services Division at their Illinois headquarters. Ms. Mary Dunbar became head of the Home Services Division and launched the Homemaker’s Institute. The Homemaker’s Institute became a unique marketing force for Jewel Tea. Homemakers from across America could mail in recipe ideas for testing, share cooking and homemaking secrets, and have questions answered by Ms. Mary Dunbar, A.K.A. “The Jewel Lady.” In the mid-1920’s, Jewel Tea entered into an exclusive agreement with Hall China Co. of Liverpool, OH. The Hall China Co. produced the famous “Autumn Leaf” pattern for Jewel Tea. The only way to purchase the china was through one of Jewel Tea’s door-to-door salesmen. It is by this method that many families acquired this delightful pattern. Replacements, Ltd. carries and array of pieces made for Jewel Tea by the Hall China Co. If you are interested in a seeing a list of patterns made by Hall, then please click here. If you are interested in the items carried by Replacements, Ltd. in the “Autumn Leaf” pattern, then please click here.