Essential vintage tea time accessories: milk jugs and creamers

When starting to collect vintage china, the choice of patterns, styles and makes can be bewildering.  It’s not only the vast selection of tea cups and tea pots, there are all sorts of accessories to accompany them.  This evening’s post is about these beauties…

A photo of a group of vintage milk jugs

Some of my vintage milk or cream jugs…

What would you call them? milk jugs, cream jugs, creamers, pitchers? And what’s the difference between all these anyway?

Being British, I would tend to call them milk jugs to serve milk with my tea.  The earliest milk jugs were made in the 18th century as the number of people drinking tea was increasing steadily alongside the fashion to take your tea with milk.  Outside the UK, for example in the US, cream was and (I think) still is more regularly served with tea, so the jugs became known as cream jugs or creamers.  However with increased mobility and internationalism I think these terms are becoming less country specific and more interchangeable.

A photo of a group of vintage china jugs

I guess you could also call them pitchers but my image of a pitcher is of something larger that carries water or maybe milk to be poured into smaller containers such as a jug.

Anyway, enough of my rambling, here’s a selection of jugs, creamers or whatever you prefer to call them!


Royal Worcester vintage china jug


Roslyn China vintage jug


Wellington vintage china jug – it’s tiny!


I can’t remember the maker of this jug but I love the delicate blue ribbon on the front. I also had some side plates in this design.

gold and white creamer bowl4

a photo of White flowers in vintage china jugI’ve been sorting through all the spare jugs I’ve collected and in the next few weeks I’m hoping to make more of them available in my Etsy shop.  They don’t have to be used for milk or cream, I often use them as mini vases for a few fresh flowers or even as practical pen holders (I have one on my desk at work!).

My next post will be about bowls…are they always for sugar?

Bye for now

Rach x

4 responses to “Essential vintage tea time accessories: milk jugs and creamers

  1. In Canada we tend to call these “creamers”, as we generally would consider a milk jug as a much larger piece – like a pitcher.

    However, my biggest pet peeve is when I am served cream, instead of milk, with tea in a restaurant. This happens to me almost every single time I order tea in a restaurant here. Funny thing is, I rarely order tea in a restaurant as they usually don’t make it properly – they tend to use hot water (like they use for coffee) instead of boiling water. Maybe I’m a tea snob! Good news is that people here are finally getting back into tea – it has become a very hip thing now, with shops selling loose tea popping up everywhere.

    Ideas for creamers – besides using it for milk and cream, if I am having a small dinner (for 2), I have sometimes used a creamer for gravy or sauce, instead of using my big gravy boat. I’ve also used it to serve melted chocolate to pour over ice-cream or desserts at the table, so guests can pour the amount they want.

    • Deirdre, I hadn’t realised milk jugs tend to be thought of as larger containers in Canada. That’s really interesting what you say about how tea has tended to be served. I agree that I much prefer milk with my tea than cream! Hopefully with tea drinking becoming more popular you’ll soon be able to go out and be served tea just the way you like it!

      Thanks for ideas about other things to serve in the creamers. Melted chocolate mmmm!!

Add any thoughts, comments or questions here...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s