Nowadays there are nearly a half million patent applications filed every year in the United States alone. That number surely must have been smaller in previous years, but it’s safe to say that there are a whopping number of patents in the files by now. Of these, there are plenty that have to do with tea and at least some of these tend toward the offbeat end of the spectrum. As I’ve demonstrated in my previous articles on offbeat patents, the most recent of which resides here. But there are always more offbeat tea patents in the archive and here are a few.

Tea Mixer Patent Image (screen capture from site)

Tea Mixer Patent Image (screen capture from site)

I’ll start by saying that as much as I like tea and as much as I’m aware that it can be used for things other than drinking, I probably would never have thought of squirting it into my eye. It’s this lack of foresight on my part that explains why I don’t hold a patent for Improvement in Eye-washes, like the New York man who was awarded such a patent in 1873. His eye wash was made of an ominous sounding mix of ingredients that included “sugar of lead, White vitriol, camphor-gum, and alcohol with rain or soft water.” Oh, and green tea. I think I’ll stick with plain old eye drops, thank you.

A few decades later an Englishman living in Canada received a patent for what he called “a new and useful Tea-Mixer.” Which sounds sensible enough on the surface of it, but the curious thing is that the object is described as “a simple, inexpensive, and efficient device adapted to be conveniently operated and capable of rapidly and thoroughly mixing teas, so that black and green tea will be uniformly distributed.” As far as I’m aware, these types of tea are not often mixed and the patent gives no indication why one would want to do so.

If your mind has ever been troubled about what to do with your iced tea spoon after you’ve finished stirring the tea you might not be alone. In 1941, one inventor tackled the problem of what to do about the fuss and mess of such a dire situation by devising a Combined Holder and Drip Collector for Table Utensils. It’s a pretty simply looking device but it looks like it should work.

I don’t think you can patent an egg, since birds first came up with that “invention” a very long time ago. But, as a recent Chinese patent indicates, you can patent a method for preparing a Spiced Preserved Egg that uses a variety of ingredients, including ginger, onion, garlic, cinnamon, and tea. Using tea to flavor and preserve eggs is nothing new, mind you. Check out our previous articles on the topic for more details.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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