Meet the Teapot That Changed 3D

Oh this teapot? You have seen it pretty much everywhere. There were probably times when you didn’t even realize that you were seeing it. Some applications actually have it as a primitive as a menu item. Pixar uses it as a trade show mascot. It’s the most famous brew-pot in computer graphics.

The Utah Teapot (or the Newell teapot) has become a standard in the 3D industry for so long, that most of us have forgotten why. The model was created all the way back in 1975 by computer graphics researcher Martin Newell. It has “Utah” in the name because Martin had been part of the computer graphics program at the University of Utah, which was a veritable hotbed of innovation in 3D at the time.

Tom Scott has a look at the actual pot while at the Computer History Museum, in Mountain View, California.