Friday, 8 June 2018


Got this lovely metal box to show you ...

It's a lovely item, in a gorgeous rustic brown colour, but it's also a bit of a mystery.
Because the box looks quite old, but tea bags are a relatively recent thing, in this country at least.

The first recorded instance of them are in the United States, when they were invented by accident.
In 1908, New York tea merchant Thomas Sullivan was sending out his tea samples to drum up business, in small silk bags filled with tea.
As the normal way of serving tea was still as loose tea with strainers etc, people somehow still assumed you put these silk bag samples in the pot as they were.
The simple idea caught on and the tea bag was born!

Us Brits of course were very slow on changing our stoic tea-making habits, and so the tea bag wasn't really introduced in this country until the early 1950s.
Even then they took an age to catch on with the public, and didn't really start to take hold until the 60s and into the 70s.

So what do we make of my tea bag box then?!

With its strident label on the front saying 'TEA BAGS', it must be a sample box, sent out to potential clients by a tea merchant somewhere.

As tea bags didn't really hit the UK until Tetley introduced them in around 1953, it could possibly date to around that time. 
Although to me it looks much older, so it may even be an American sample box going back pre-War?!

Now though it can be a handy box to keep on your desk or mantelpiece as a 'bits and pieces' box.
Or even, as it has different compartments, keeping loose 1p, 2p, 5p coins etc together in their separate sections.

If you fancying bagging this curiosity, then come along to the SHEPTON MALLET GIANT FLEA MARKET on June 10th where I'll be selling it on my stall!!

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