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Wake up with a cuppa — what could have been more appealing to the tea-mad British than this combination of an alarm clock and tea-making machine?

It started life as the "teawaker", invented by Samuel Rowbottom in 1891, and patented in 1892 as the Automatic Tea Making Apparatus. The teawaker worked by gas and needed a permanent pilot light but it worked on exactly the same principles as the modern Teasmade. Water was boiled in a specially designed "kettle" and fed into a teapot.

In 1930, instrument-maker and inventor Ron Grumble invented the "Early Morning Waiter", which used both gas and electricity. Neither Rowbottom’s nor Grumble’s machines ever went into production but, when mains electricity became widely available, George Absolom unveiled his Teesmade (sic) in May 1932. It promptly became the ultimate luxury item, gift of choice for wedding presents, retirement gifts and the Generation Game conveyor belt. The first Goblin Teasmade — the company most closely associated with the machine – was produced in 1936.

To watch how to make the perfect cup of tea, click here.

Photo: Kim Plowright  www.flickr.com/photos/mildlydiverting


Your comments

The electric Teasmade could only have been made in Britain, the spiritual home of tea and the birthplace of many a quirky invention. It represents the very best in national idiosyncrasy, making a simple cup of tea by the most complex method imaginable. It has an impeccable English pedigree. It was first manufactured in a garage behind a semi in Hayes in 1932, an age when the vogue was to replace the servant with domestic appliances. Yet it is hardly a labour saving device. The user simply exchanges early morning convenience for the chore of late night preparations. In operation it recklessly combines high voltage electricity and steam while it creates a glorious spluttering, gurgling cacophony supplemented (as if it were needed) with a raucous alarm buzzer. In its heyday it was the classic wedding present, retirement gift and game show prize (remember the conveyor belt?)

Sheridan Hudson

This creative development is a very nice and amusing idea!!!
Naya and Angy

I am a teasmade enthusiast, and if i could i would stuff teasmades into every nook and cranny in the house, Everybody should have one it brightens up my morning at makes the day a pleasure, its typical deign makes things taste of tin and i like this only in britain could we get it so wrong...
Nathan Medley

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry