We’re going back into the archives to revisit these classic posts by James Norwood Pratt. This post includes two different multi-part sequences: “The Trade in England” and “The Era of the Clipper Ship”. We have added a link to the end of each one to take you to the next if you would like to read them as a sequence, or you can choose which you want to peruse below. Enjoy!

The Trade in England

Banking is business, oil is industry, tea and coffee are trades, but the tea trade in particular has always had a special aristocratic position in the world of buying and selling.

Edward Bramah, Tea and Coffee

Part One

Tea was from the first “a genteel trade” — meaning ladies and gentlemen — who could hardly send servants to select teas to their tastes; they themselves dealt directly with…(Read more)

Part Two

Until the mid-1800s tea was either sold from open chests and blended either by the tea dealer or the customer himself. One of the present volume’s earliest ancestors was published in 1785 under the awesome title…(Read more)

Part Three

In 1833 England’s tea business changed forever when the Charter of the East India Company came up for renewal in Parliament. The hated monopoly had enjoyed…(Read more)

The Era of the Clipper Ship

The ship, a fragment detached from the earth, went on lonely and swift like a small planet.

-Joseph Conrad (1857 – 1924), The Nigger of Narcissus

Part One

The 1840s saw the beginning of the last and most exciting chapter in the history of the China tea trade. The Rainbow, the first “extreme” clipper ship, was…(Read more)

Part Two

The master, though not the originator, of clipper ship design was Donald McKay, an American of Scottish extraction. His first ship, the Stag Hound, was…(Read more)

Photo “Tall ships races 2013 Riga” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Kārlis Dambrāns and is being posted unaltered (source)