If we go by the most commonly accepted version for the origin of the tea bag, this handy little gizmo has been with us for a little more than a century. If you have any doubt that it’s still going strong consider the relatively recent innovations in tea bag design, such as pyramid tea bags and other so-called gourmet bags that allow for brewing of better quality tea.
Over the years a number of inventors have turned their hand to designing what they felt were improvements in tea bags, as well as devices used to make them and assorted other items. We took a look at a number of these in a recent article, but there are so many more patents in the patent office files that it’s time for another look.
Here’s a tea bag that was patented in 1934 by an enterprising inventor who took the notion of “tea” quite literally and came up with one that that was actually T-shaped. If that wasn’t enough the cardboard tag attached to the string is T-shaped as well. Speaking of tea bag strings it was around the same time that inventor Walter Ingram turned his attentions to creating a nontangling tea bag that would resolve the pesky problems of tea bag strings…tangling when more than one bag is placed in a container. If you didn’t know that was even a problem, join the club.
Of course, when drinking tea made from a tea bag one of the age-old problems is what to do with the clammy bag after the tea has steeped. Here’s a patent from the early Fifties that strives to tackle this problem with a gizmo that hangs on the edge of the tea cup and has room for the used bag. About a year later another inventor received a patent for a device along similar lines. Which is nothing compared to Shin-Shuoh Lin’s Rube Goldberg-ish device that was patented just last year. It appears to resolve the used tea bag dilemma with a crankable cup lid that lifts the bag out of the water after it’s been used. Now that’s progress.
From the just plain silly category, there’s the Teabag with Teapot Shape and (a rather timely one, given that the holidays have just passed) a Teabag with Christmas Tree Shape, both from the same inventor. Last, but certainly not least, a pair of tea bag cufflinks that presumably cannot be used to actually prepare tea.
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