Here’s the story of the famous 3D Teapot.
“The teapot was made by Melitta in 1974 and originally belonged to Martin Newell and his wife, Sandra – who purchased it from ZCMI, (a department store in Salt Lake City). (..)
It turns out that the idea for modeling the teapot was brought up over concerns that Martin didn’t have enough interesting computer models. Sandra suggested modelling the tea service (they were sitting down to tea at the time). He got some graph paper and a pencil, and he modeled the entire tea service by eye. Then, he went back to the lab and edited Bezier control points on a Tektronix storage tube, again by hand.”
There’s also an interesting comparison of the lighting of the realword teapot and its CG version.