A teasmade is a device for making tea automatically, which was once common in the United Kingdom and some of its former colonies. They generally feature an analogue alarm clock and are designed to be used at the bedside, to ensure tea is ready first thing in the morning. Although crude versions existed in Victorian times, they only became practical with the availability of electric versions in the 1930s. They reached their peak in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, but have since declined to the extent that in the few places they are sold new, it is as a retro novelty item.
The name teasmade is an example of a genericized trademark; although Goblin originally marketed their teamakers under this name, it is now commonly used to refer to any automatic teamaking appliance.
On 7 April 1902 a patent for a teasmade was registered, by gunsmith Frank Clarke of Birmingham, England. He called it "An Apparatus Whereby a Cup of Tea or Coffee is Automatically Made" and it was later marketed as "A Clock That Makes Tea!". However, his original machine and all rights to it were purchased from Albert E Richardson, a clockmaker from Ashton-under-Lyne.
On May 2nd 1932 George Absolom submitted an application for a patent on his invention, an electric automatic tea maker. The Patent (number 400672) was passed on November 2nd 1933. This invention was manufactured and marketed as the Teesmade.
The word 'teesmade' was certainly initiated by George Absolom - this has been confirmed by his son - and predates the use of the word 'teasmade' by about four years. George Absolom applied for a Registered Design using the name Teesmade, but this was not accepted by the Patent Office on the grounds that the unit was not made on the River Tees and that this might confuse the public. Geographic trademarks were invariably refused at this time, indeed the Patent Office passed legislation to forbid them in 1938. This legislation has since been relaxed.
Although the name could not be formally protected, from 1932 onwards George Absolom continued to trade as Teesmade Co. Goblin were in no position to object, as the name had the indisputable advantage of prior use. One can only guess at Goblin's frustration as they reluctantly turned a blind eye to their competitor.
A similar electric teamaker was patented by William Hermann Brenner Thornton in association with Goblin in 1932, shortly after Absolom's patent. Goblin's next model, also invented by William Hermann Brenner Thornton, was patented in 1934 and was manufactured from 1936. This was the first teamaker sold with the name Teasmade. A patent sketch of 1934 shows the essential features A kettle with a tube leading into a teapot was heated by an electric element switched by an alarm clock. The kettle sat upon a spring-loaded pad with a switch, so that when steam pressure pushed the boiling water into the pot, the pad was allowed to rise and cut the power to the element.
Goblin ‘Teasmade’, Model D25B 1966 The Label says - The ‘Teasmade’, combines an alarm clock and electric kettle which automatically boils water and adds it to a teapot at a specified time. The ‘Teasmade’, made in Leatherhead, has been called ‘a fascinating bit of English eccentricity.
Two models are currently manufactured (2007). The Swan Teasmade is manufactured in the UK by RBC Electronics, and the Teaexpress is manufactured overseas by Micromark.
MY BEDROOM SECRET! It's Oh-So-Naff and an Object of Derision but, Whisper It Quietly, the Teasmade Is Making a Comeback
Jun 15, 2007; Byline: JULIA LANGDON A GENTLE sound softens the blast from even the most raucous alarm clock in thousands of bedrooms. A low,...