Teapots and technology collide as imaginative steampunk enthusiasts competitively race tea pots in tea-themed rodeos; the cars wind, zoom and swerve around an obstacle course consisting of a number of hazards like tea cup topped candelabras and a harrowing Ramp of Doom.
There will be no shortage of (cringeworthy) kettle and tea-infused puns around here. Feel free to brew up some of your own in our comments section below.
All varieties of teapots are mounted onto remote-controlled chassis. Though the teapots are restricted to 30cm in height and width and 40cm in length, as Gardiner Museum writes, they are steeped in creativity. Among the curious competitors, you may find piping kettles, Edison-style bulbs, leggy octopus motifs and adorable monocle wearing velvetine rabbits.
Conceived by Steampunk enthusiast Simone Montgomery (or Countess Simona du Montgomerie as she’s known in Steampunk circles), the first Splendid Teapot Race kicked off at the Oamaru Steampunk Festival in New Zealand in 2014.
Since then, the race has inspired similar teapot racing events across the world in countries including Spain, Japan and Canada. Canadian Steampunker John Sproule, AKA Professor Thaddeus Giltzmore, brought the sport to Canada in the summer 2015 after seeing it in action on ye olde Facebook.
Later that year, he helped organize the nation’s first ever race at the Grand Canadian Steampunk Exposition(GCSE), and it’s been a beloved fixture at the annual event ever since.
The sport quickly spread to Canada’s southern neighbors making its stateside debut with The Splendid Teapot Racing USA Virginia Chapter race. It was soon followed up the next year by Phoenix Comicon and the Anime Mid Atlantic in Chesapeak Virginia.
You can read the US’ full teapot racing origin story here.
As you’ve probably gleaned, the teapots aren’t the only ones gussied up at the racetrack. Participants and spectators stoked the coals heating up the race in their finest bib and tucker. The alt-history Victorians dress up in period wear with a distinctive Jules Verne twist featuring machinery-inspired gadgets and gizmos.
Read more about the Splendid Teapot Race here.
Read more Oddity editions in Cfile.org’s archive.
Do you love or loathe this oddity from the worlds of contemporary ceramic art, contemporary ceramics and victorian sci-fi? Let us know in the comments.