Mass production... is Ok? Pt 1- Screw-able lids

I have been known to pound a table, or two, ranting with near religious fervor about the degradation of craftsmanship due to mass produced plastic goods. I won't totally rehash my thoughts on this but our lives are filled with disposable objects created to be forgotten. They are the background noise that dulls our aesthetic senses.

Every once in a while a form will pop out and make me pay attention to the potential for injection molded plastic. I've had a design crush on this vinegar bottle for the last few months. When I first saw it I giddily unscrewed the caps. One downside to ceramics is that it is very hard to make screw-able parts. Molds can provide the precision needed for the threading but clay is prone to shrinking, cracking, and a generally ornery disposition. The sound of clay sliding against clay can be really unsettling too. This was my first experience with a spout cap. It got me thinking about small cork plugs for oil ewers. I've also seen small metal flaps that slide down over the end of ewers. They are much needed if you live in a dusty environment like Shanghai.(We occasionally get dusty air from Mongolia. Click here for the story.)

The proportions on this pot are awkward but it has the same endearing quality as a teenager in mid growth spurt. The spout angle is too high. This makes it harder to pour but easier to fit into packaging cartons. The consideration for packaging is one aspect of mass production that I never consider in my own work. Imagine if you had to move your mug handle 1 inch higher because it would fit into a promo package better. This must be a challenge for industrial designers. The closest I have come to this mind set has been the decision that I need to make my dinner plates small enough to fit into a standard dishwasher.

Forms like this keep me open minded to the plastics industry. It is a good lesson to keep my eyes open for unexpected inspiration. My next few posts will be on mass produced goods that are interesting to me.


  1. Hayne Bayless makes a great clay hinged lid for teapots. It would be nice for spouts too. nice post.

  2. Thanks guys. Kyle, I will check out Hayne Bayless's hinged lid. That is a great idea. I have seen a few ewers that have cords tied from the lid to handle so that the lid can't be lost. Great to see practical solutions evolve throughout the ages.