Talk:Utah teapot

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A really useful ext ln would be one to the actual dataset. If someone finds it before I do, add it! :) Dysprosia 04:05, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)

it's in the "history" page, linked to by this article. It moderately large, so I didn't put it in, fearing interminable "wiki is not a source repository" blabber. -- Finlay McWalter 10:57, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)

As User:Phil Boswell points out, the teapot is also in the windows pipes screensaver. Details (and screenshot) at [1] -- Finlay McWalter 14:35, 14 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Shouldn't there be some mention of the fact that it was originally a whole teaset that was digitized? SteveBaker 00:02, 7 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The dat and history is available at It's under a gnudoc licence so it could be posted here - I think it should, many of the other early datasets linked to from that site are now 404. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:10, 24 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Coffee pot[edit]

Erm, doesn't this have nothing at all to do with the Trojan Room coffee pot? Intrigue 00:06, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

No, nothing to do with the Trojan Room coffee pot, which was finally removed as a link quite some time after the above being posted. --Trevj (talk) 12:06, 27 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Newell teapot[edit]

I've heard this teapot referred to in different places as the NEWELL teapot. I'm not sure how to create redirections and soforth, or edit properly, but I think a redirection from this could be useful.

Good point. Google confirms that this expression is also used. I'll make a redirect from that name. Thanks for the info. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 22:06, July 18, 2005 (UTC)
Yes, it was devised by Martin Newell, founder of CADCentre. Martin worked with a member of my family at CADCentre, before creating the famous Teapot at Utah.
Martin_Newell_(computer_scientist) Vapourmile (talk) 18:12, 30 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Any relation to Allan Newell of Carnegie Mellon? And where is Ivan Sutherland in all this?
David Lloyd-Jones (talk) 09:12, 4 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Where's the picture?

In the top right corner. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 16:11, August 31, 2005 (UTC)
I wonder if maybe we shouldn't use an example without a normal map for the picture, as the original version and most occurances dont use a normal map or shaders, etc. Dgies 04:57, 8 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Remember that this is an article about the data set and where it came from - not about how that data might or might not be rendered. I don't think we have to reproduce Newell's original rendering style...although if we had a copyright-free image from his original rendering, that would be a neat thing to put there. Having said that, this is a particularly ugly rendering - the multiple coloured light sources certainly confuse the image and de-clarify the shape of the teapot - which is what we're trying to get across here. If I have time, I'll render something nicer tonight. SteveBaker 18:56, 8 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

about the year[edit]

The (real) teapot was from 1974, as you can read om (you can find many other information there). I think it one should point out that the "graphic" teapot is from 1975, and not the real one. gala.martin

The information on physical teapot on that web page (which I wrote BTW) came from Sandra Newell (the wife of the guy who made the original graphic teapot) I think 1974 is an accurate date for the physical teapot - but I don't know when the virtual teapot was made - 1975 sounds reasonable but I havn't seen a date for it quoted anywhere. SteveBaker 18:58, 26 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are you certain? Is Sandra Newell certain? I can't remember how I was referred to it, but I believe the original brand and design might well be this one below, dating back to 1954 (and so do the people who have made it since 1954).
Friesland Porzellan, "Utah Teapot". Vapourmile (talk) 16:26, 30 March 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tom Sito claims it was 1974. Duncanka12 (talk) 23:27, 14 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If i'm not wrong this teapot was used as easter egg in a windows screensaver (windows 98?)

Yes, the article says "The teapot also occasionally appears in the Pipes screensaver shipped with Microsoft Windows." -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 16:47, 26 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm told (although I don't run Windows myself) that it shows up in that screensaver at 'teatime' - like maybe 4pm or something. SteveBaker 18:51, 26 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've only seen it when the joint and pipe types are set to random. The teapot then appears infrequently in place of one of the ball joints. Bizzybody (talk) 18:20, 4 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Teapot in the Photo[edit]

The teapot in the photograph is not just any old Melitta teapot - it's the one in the computer museum - and it's the actual one that Martin Newell digitized. The teapot was donated by his wife, Sandra - who told me that she misses it. SteveBaker 19:26, 3 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The image is incorrectly marked up as "the prototype", which it is not, it can be the model, or even the muse, but it was not built for the purpose of proving or improving the digital model. --Ear1grey 09:01, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Good point - fixed! (You do know you can fix these kinds of things yourself don't you!) SteveBaker 13:16, 30 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In 3d editing[edit]

There are several basic shapes that the fundementals for editing primatives in 3D editing programs such as spheres, boxes and piramids, but the teapot still remains as one of these primatives even though a teapot as a primative is rarely, if ever, useful. So it would seem that it was left in as an in joke, right there with all the useful tools and shapes is the teapot, which doesn't serve any kind of use at all. I don't know how to word all that into the article, but I can source it all from an industry expert (it comes as a videofile from chad perkins of Lydia fame). JayKeaton 16:48, 18 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, it's half joke, and half useful. Since it is curved, and capable of self-shadowing and self-reflecting, it is actually a really handy shape for doing quick tests. If you don't see the handle reflected in the body, then you screwed up something in setting up reflections. If it looks flat shaded, you screwed up setting up smoothing, etc. The geometry is just complicated enough to be useful as a test case for a wide range of things, especially where a sphere isn't. It also helps that most people in the field are already familiar with the shape of it, so when seeing an example of a shading model, they know what they are seeing. This is especially helpful when looking at an example of bump mapping because you can't easily tell what aspect of the shading comes from actual geometry, and what aspect comes from the shading alone. It's hard to explain how it is extremely useful, but also just a silly joke and nothing more. Blender's "Suzanne" model serves something of a similar purpose. - Forkazoo 05:48, 5 December 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Forkazoo (talkcontribs)


I changed API's to APIs in the history. I didn't get a chance to explain my change because FF3 hosed me when I went to type a ' and I fat-fingered enter instead. Maybe "Show preview" should be the wiki default instead of "Save page"? :-) Anyway, I'm not sure APIs is correct or if API can also be plural, but clearly API's is not right. RandyKaelber (talk) 19:30, 9 July 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why keep changing the title of the teapot photo?[edit]

User:Aaron1a12 has repeatedly changed the title of the photo of the actual Utah teapot to say that it's not the "real one". I uploaded that photo and I know it's the real teapot because:

  1. I have an email from Sandra Newell (Martin Newell's wife) saying that the actual teapot that was digitized was donated to the Boston Computer museum.
  2. I saw the teapot on display there and the caption definitely said that it was the original teapot that Newell used.
  3. The curator of that museum told me that when that institution closed, the teapot was sent to the Computer History Museum in San Francisco.
  4. I asked the curator of that museum for a photo of the teapot - and the one he sent me is the image used in this article.

It's cataloged as "Teapot used for Computer Graphics rendering"...not "Teapot similar to one used for computer graphics rendering".

It's the actual real deal.

SteveBaker (talk) 21:13, 24 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In joke teapots for nerds[edit]

I'm not sure this is relevant so I'm posting here and others can make the decision.

When we (at the BBC) produced the computer-generated art gallery which acts as the front end to the National Disc part of the BBC Domesday Project I included a photograph of a real teapot hanging on the wall of the computer-generated gallery. I don't know how many people got the joke ... some did ... but I'm also wondering whether this was done elsewhere? The equivalent is those recent 3D movies which include a band and ball on elastic string toy ... paddleball (see Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Monsters versus Aliens) in homage to House of Wax. Delverie (talk) 11:03, 23 September 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Citation for the Teapotahedron claim[edit]

Currently, the statement that people call the teapot the "Teapotahedron" is listed as "citation needed." That term is used in Pixar's short (at 1:06) on the walking teapot, which was created by people in the industry for others at SIGGRAPH. Is that sufficient for citation? Duncanka12 (talk) 23:25, 14 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a lot better than nothing. I think we should use it - and hope that something better comes along. SteveBaker (talk) 04:20, 17 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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