For every magazine you might happen across on a newsstand these days (be it an actual physical newsstand or its digital equivalent) there at least several other titles that you’re never going to encounter – unless you happen to be a part of the specialized industry or business niche that they cover.
In the past I personally have written for such august but under-appreciated titles as Implement & Tractor, Northern Turf Management, and Retail Traffic, to name a few. Typically referred to as trade magazines, they are quite numerous and yet they go about their business in relative obscurity when stacked up against big-name consumer magazines like the New Yorker, GQ, or Cosmopolitan.
There are even a few such titles devoted to tea these days, though not always exclusively, since some share their focus with coffee. But it’s a trade publication of yesteryear that forms the focus of this particular article. Coffee and Tea Industries and the Flavor Field, as the name suggests, was not just about tea and actually claimed to be “Devoted to the Interests of the Coffee, Tea and Spice Trades.”
A product of the Spice Mill Publishing Company, the publication was established in 1878 and through the wonders of digitization you can actually access a few years of back issues online, including the 1915 edition. You may not care to read all 1324 pages of this archive anytime soon but a casual skim or three will turn up plenty of interesting tidbits for tea fans and armchair historians alike.
Some of the highlights include The Annual Report of the Supervising Tea Examiner, who was apparently an appointed official working for some arm of the United States government at the time. There are brief news-type columns that cover Fires and Business Embarrassments (yes, really) and there’s a poem about the rice industry (again, really). There’s also a Review of the Tea Trade of 1913 and more quaint advertisements than you can shake a stick at, including one for a teapot-like gadget called a London Tea Bob, as produced by the Boston-based Bevefuser Company.
But don’t take my word for it. See it all here.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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