Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

February 18, 2011
A teapot mystery

Thumbnail image for Sac6_Teapot_silver logo.jpgThe Bee received an email from Phil Watts in Colorado asking if we might help him identify the origins of a silver teapot he bought last year at an auction. The teapot has an intriguing "Sacramento 6" logo superimposed on a clock face, and the silver mark on the bottom indicates the year 1925. (You can click on the images below to call up high-res versions.)

Watts is a railroad history buff. And because the teapot came with a conductor's bell punch, he strongly suspects the pot came from an old Sacramento train -- perhaps a parlor car of the Sacramento Northern Railway, an interurban electric rail line that operated in the first half of the 20th century.

One other possibility is that "Sac 6" was used on the SS City of Sacramento, a ferry that ran between Vallejo and San Francisco in the 1920s. Apparently the ferry line offered companion fares with the Sacramento Northern Railway. That could explain the connection between the teapot and the train conductor's bell punch.

Of course the teapot could have come from a local hotel or coffee house, but Watts is betting on the train. Now folks at the California State Railroad Museum weren't able to identify the piece. So we appeal to this blog's readers. If you have any insight into the origin of the teapot or the meaning of the "Sacramento 6" logo, let us know in the comments below.

Watts is also interested in hearing from people who have memories of the regional interurban trains of that period, particularly the opulent dining cars. It was a long time ago, but you never know. You can email him directly at:

Thumbnail image for Sac6_Teapot_silver 2.jpgThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Sac6_Teapot_Marks 2.jpg

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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