November 16, 2012

Struth! 2.5 tonne cup of tea

With  Princess Diana at his side, Prince Charles (R) bends over to get a  better view of the Rolls Royce automobile that sits perched atop British  Wedgwood teacups during a visit to J.C. Penney's Department Store in  the Springfield Mall on November 11, 1985. Standing alongside the  Princess is William Howell, chairman of J.C. Penney's, and standing next  to the car is Bob Biagi, a Rolls Royce dealer. (UPI Photo/Larry  Rubenstein/Files)
IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that back in 1970 England's Wedgwood porcelain company left newspaper readers agape when it published a picture of a 2.5 tonne Rolls-Royce balancing on four of the company's finest bone china cups.
The stunt was to prove the strength of its bone china, but when they tried to repeat it in Canada some years later for the opening of a new shopping outlets in Vancouver, it met with somewhat embarrassing results – they broke eight of their best bone china cups in front of TV and newspaper cameras before abandoning the effort.

Wedgwood have since refined the process of raising a Roller and letting it settle slowly onto just four cups when celebrating the opening of new stores in Britain, Europe, the USA and Canada.

(For the technically interested, bone china gets its strength from the addition of 50% incinerated animal bone ash to traditional China stone and industrial clay.)

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