If you follow this blog at all, you may have noticed that from time to time we post articles featuring the latest and greatest in tea gadgetry. The articles just keep on coming, quite frankly, because the flow of tea gadgets keeps on coming. This has apparently been the case for quite some time now, as you’ll soon discover if you take a glimpse at patent office records from the days of yore.
One of the earliest tea-related gadgets on file with the United States Patent Office is an Apparatus for Making Coffee and Tea. It’s nothing too out of the ordinary, really, but is notable for being one of the first patents having to do with tea. Issued on Sep 27, 1838, Patent #952 is for a device that looks for the most part like an old school coffee pot.
From that point on it appears that the patent office was flooded with applications for more tea infusers, pots, strainers, kettles and related devices than you could shake a large stick at. Many of these are not that different from what we know today. Take, for example, this Tea-Ball, patented in 1899 by one C.A. White and which appears to be similar to the infusers we still use today.
A Coffee or Tea Steeper, patented by Jacob Burtis about nine years earlier, definitely does not resemble anything I’ve seen and since I’m not so skilled at deciphering the arcane language of patent applications I actually can’t quite figure out how it works. Perhaps you’ll have better luck. However, this Tea Pot Strainer and Drip Retainer, patented the same year, is much more straightforward in its operation. It solves the age-old problem of the dripping teapot by attaching a little thingy that resembles a tiny shoe to the end of the spout.
The era of the tea chest is pretty much gone, with most of us probably using other methods to store our tea. Which pretty much relegates M.G. Griffin’s invention, which was patented in 1880, to the category of quaint historical curiosity. It’s a Device For Emptying Tea Out of the Original Tea-Chests.
Watch this blog for more tea gadget info to come!
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