Say what you want about tea bags, but don’t say that there aren’t plenty of offbeat novelty ones to be found in the files of the US Patent Office (and probably other patent offices, but that’s another article). Our first look at this topic was an article that ran earlier this year. But since that didn’t exhaust the many possibilities, it’s time for another round.
To start with one of the more peculiar of the bunch, here’s a look at a Tab for a Tea Bag, which was patented in 1993 and which is just a graphic of a swami-type guy clutching a crystal ball. It’s not clear whether New Yorker William Lipton, who patented this one, has anything to do with the Lipton dynasty but it looks like this was his only patent.
One of the long standing problems with tea bags, at least as far as inventors seem to be concerned, is what to do with that dripping tea bag when you’ve finished making tea. Here’s a curious-looking spring-loaded gizmo from 1954 that takes a shot at resolving the problem. Another somewhat odd looking device, patented just a few years ago, attempts to do roughly the same thing, while also providing a way to stir your tea.
Tackling the same problem in a somewhat different manner, here’s a gadget from 1940 that actually substitutes a small drip pan, of sorts, for the little paper tag that’s typically affixed to a tea bag. I don’t completely understand the intricate patent drawings for Louis Rosen’s 1969 (proposed) solution to dripping tea bags – you’ll have to take a crack at deciphering it yourself. But I’d hazard a guess that it was just a bit too complicated to be a success.
Once you’ve come up with a way to combat the drips you might also have to deal with having your tea bag string and tag submerged in your cup of tea. Which requires you to awkwardly fish it out or leave it there until you’ve finished the tea. Which is why this simple solution – a tea bag tag that “clips” on the tea cup handle – seems like it should have been a contender.
Last and perhaps the most clever of this bunch, a 2003 tea bag that includes an inner tag printed with text and/or an image. Somehow, as the patent document notes, “when the sealed pouch becomes wet and translucent, the text, or other message, is revealed to a user.” Imagine that.
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