Normally, I consider tea gadgetry to be the province of fellow tea blogger Bill Lengeman (at least, as far as this blog is concerned). Every now and then, though, I come across something online or buy something in a store for my expanding collection (such as “Ed” the electric teapot) and can’t resist looking into it further. The latest item I came across online is an imitation version of a device called the Teasmade.
The Genuine Teasmade
Throughout the long annals of time inventors have sought a better way. “A better way for what?” you ask. Just a better way. From catching a mouse to frying an egg. Tea is no different. In 1892, inventor Samuel Rowbottom patented the Automatic Tea Making Apparatus (inventors aren’t known for being particularly clever at naming their inventions). Over the years the device was built up and improved until the latest model resulted; it is rounded in design and has a reading light, an LCD clock with auto dim, a built-in AM/FM radio, and a socket for plugging in your iPod! However, in line with the call in the market for retro items, they came out with a throwback design that has that 50s or 60s look. And they have their imitators.
The Micromark Imitation Teasmade
The Teasmade from the 50s or 60s is being imitated and sold as the Tea Express by Micromark. Reviews on various sites lead me to believe that most users find this version better than the genuine Teasmade. Sometimes you can build a better mousetrap. You have two choices: “auto” where you can set the timer to have the unit come on, heat the water, and steep the tea; and “tea now” where you can just press the button to start the process. Features include: alarm clock, 4-cup ceramic teapot, compact bedside design, illuminated LCD clock with analog face, integral reading light, and a rapid water boiling capability. Cups are not included.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes it’s a great improvement on the original product. Not sure which this is, but I think I’ll stick to my stovetop kettle and ceramic teapot. Sometimes simplicity is best.
The Teasmade and other automatic teamakers are also featured on this blog in the following articles:
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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