‘It is World War II. Bombs fall as hungry villagers raided warehouses for food.
Amidst the mayhem, a villager named Ah Ham spotted a melon-shaped teapot on the ground. As he bent to pick it up, he heard a piece of shrapnel whizz just above his head. The melon teapot had saved his life!
For many years, the teapot was Ah Ham’s constant companion. He used the teapot daily and often entertained his guests with his wartime story and his miraculous brush with death.
Ah Ham’s lucky teapot is an original creation by Royal Selangor’s founder. Stamped with the hallmark Yu He Zu Xi or Jade Peace Pure Tin, it now has a place of honour in Royal Selangor’s archives.’
These words are immortalised on the walls of the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, located at Setapak Jaya. The visitor centre first opened its doors back in 2004. In conjunction with its fifth anniversary, many programmes have been scheduled to celebrate this joyous occasion.
Royal Selangor had its humble start in 1885, when founder Yong Koon opened a small shop crafting pewter objects. His shop, Ngeok Foh (Jade Peace), crafted objects from pewter. He made incense burners, candle holders and items used for prayers places in temples and Chinese households at the time.
He polished the pewter objects with “stone leaf” (tetracera scandens), a leafy tropical plant used to bring out the shine of pewter objects. Soon, these caught the attention of the British officers who were stationed in Malaya at the time.
They began commissioning pewter objects for their everyday usage such as teapots, ashtray and especially tankards. It is well known that using a pewter tankard made a cold drink of beer much better, and this proved to be a hit with the British. They could enjoy their favourite drink, especially in a sweltering, tropical country like Malaya. During this time, the company had two more changes to its name, before it became Selangor Pewter.
After the Independence of the country, Selangor Pewter began operations to expand its products and started exporting to Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. It later expanded to Europe, Japan and today, it has the largest pewter factory and showroom in the world.
Listen too, to the well known incident, told by the guides at Royal Selangor of how it was awarded the royal charter by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor at the time, the late Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah. It was conferred the title of Royal Pewterer in 1992.
Make sure, too, through walk through the history gallery and marvel at the splendid collection of pewterware, that have earned Royal Selangor its name.
A visit to the centre, is an eye-opening experience as visitors are able to see first hand the lasting presence of pewter, first started by its founder. Walk through the guided factory tour where pewter products are being made, and try a hand at making a beautiful pewter craft at the School Of Hard Knocks. The last stop would be at the retail store, where visitors can splurge on beautifully crafted pewter objects.
Before leaving, make sure to catch a candid moment at the giant tankard outside the factory grounds. It is 1.987 metres tall weighs 1, 557 kg and has a capacity of 2, 796 litres. It is the world’s largest and listed in the Malaysian book of records and the Guinnes World Book of Records. It has travelled around the world to places such as Canada, Australia, Singapore and China.
Further enquiries contact:
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre,
4 Jalan Usahawan 6,
53300 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: +6 03 4145 6122
The operating hours of the centre is from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily.
Call up the centre to register for the School of Hard Knocks before going to the centre. The School of Hard Knocks has a separate fee, and it is advisable to call beforehand informing them of the number of people in your group.
Entrance Fee: free (except for School of Hard Knocks).
If travelling by PUTRA LRT, alight at Wangsa Maju station and hop into a taxi to take you to the Visitor Centre. It takes approximately 10 minutes.