Teabag and useful but annoying string. (stock image)

Teabag and useful but annoying string. (stock image)

Let’s put aside for now the matter of whether tea bags are a good thing or not. Some would say they are, and others scorn them. But the fact is that there are plenty of tea drinkers who use them. Probably all of whom have experienced that nagging problem of the tea bag string that escapes from its designated spot outside the tea cup and ends up in the tea.

It’s a problem that has inspired a significant amount of innovation and gadgetry. As I noted in an article here last year, some of the gadgets devised to get around the problem included the Tea Bag Buddy and the Tie Tea Cup. The Washington Post even deemed the problem significant enough that they compiled a list of suggestions from their readers of how to get around it.

But wait. There’s more. Of course there’s more when it comes to those pesky tea bag strings. This Tea Bag Cup Lid patent was filed for in 2007. It resembles the Tea Bag Buddy mentioned above in that it somehow attaches the tea bag to the lid and, as the application says, “a resilient stopper (38) is disposed within the access opening in the lid, holding the tea bag string (36) between the stopper and the access opening, permitting the tea bag (22) to be initially immersed in hot water within the cup for brewing with the capability of retaining the tea bag string when the tea bag is manually drawn upward away from the tea after brewing. The invention allows brewed tea to be consumed through the lid body without of removing the tea bag until any time after drinking the brewed tea.”

Here’s a patent awarded a year earlier for an “an improved tea bag has a pouch containing tea and a string connected to the pouch. A securing element is connected to the string. The securing element is releaseably attachable to an object such as a tea cup or tea pot.” Or you could try a 2003 patent from Germany whose name describes exactly what it sets out to do – Elongated Handle With Slit for Holding String of Tea Bag Has V-Shaped End to Slit to Facilitate Insertion of String Into Slit

Here’s a rather intricate patent from 1967 for a Teabag Dipper that doesn’t seem to attack the string problem head on but solves it anyway. It’s described, in part, as “a teabag dipper in the form of a saucer for a teacup combined with a receptacle and provided with an arm to which is attached a teabag which, by rotation of a crank mounted upon the arm, can be transferred from a position whereby the teabag is dipped into the water in the teacup to a position whereby the teabag is dumped into the receptacle for disposal.”

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

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