Teasmade, Teamaker - It's Making A Comeback!
The Teasmade has been out of fashion for well over a decade, for some it was never in fashion in the first place! The product was considered to be a bit frumpy, something that your nan would use. But despite all this, the teasmade is still loved by many and is making a comeback to retail. The Teasmade - sometimes also referred to as a Teasmaid and a Teawaker - is a product a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them. They certainly aren't welcome in every home and have frequently been voted in worst gift polls in the past.
To many though, the Teasmade is a much loved British classic that makes waking up just that little bit easier. No having to get out of bed for that first cup of tea of the day, all the necessary ingredients are sat right beside the bed on the nightstand just waiting to be put together as soon as the alarm goes off.
A Teamaker is a totally different thing to to a Teasmade, Teasmaid, or Teawaker. A Teamaker is said to make the perfect cup of tea without the use of a kettle, but it doesn't have the alarm and so is not intended for use in the bedroom.
The Birth And Decline Of The Teasmade
The first mass produced Teasmade was made by a company called Goblin in 1933. Production haulted during the Second World War and restarted afterwards. The Teasmade didn't really have it's heyday until the 1960's when around 300,000 were purchased, and at it's height of popularity over 2 million households in Britain owned one.
The Teasmade was popular due to homes not having central heating back then. You didn't have to get out of bed and make your way through a cold home to get to the kitchen to make a cup of tea anymore. With a Teasmade, you could wake with your first drink of the day without getting fully out of bed and cold.
The strange combination of an alarm clock with a kettle attached went into decline in the 90's due to two main reasons. Norma Major who was the wife of the then Prime Minister John Major, told the press that she had one. Problem was, nobody wanted to be like Mrs Major, she was considered to be dull, frumpy and boring. Slight problem for the Teasmade there, it was no longer an aspirational product, but a laughable one. If the dull couple at Number 10 have one, we definitely don't want to be like them, was the general consensus, especially amongst the younger generations. It had nothing to do with politics, just image problems.
The other thing that ruined sales of Teasmades was the birth of the home expresso machine. With coffee being so on trend, more and more people were switching from drinking tea to drinking coffee. You could now have professional café style expresso at home, and this was considered far more classy for a morning beverage.
In 2001 Swan Moulinex who had bought Goblin went into liquidation, and so dissapeared the iconic Teasmade from retail.
In 2007 John Lewis had a sales surge of Micromark Teasmades over the Christmas period, with eight an hour being sold. But sadly for Teasmade fans, Micromark went into liquidation shortly after and so new Teasmades disappeared from retail altogether.
But The Teasmade Is Back!
Department store John Lewis have had so many complaints from customers who want to buy a Teasmade but can't, that they're bringing it back to retail.
How do Teasmades work? Well before bed you have to remember to fill the kettle, put a teabag into the teapot, and figure out a way to store your milk overnight without it going off. Some people use long life milk that doesn't need to be refrigerated. Sugar will need to be close to hand if required.
Once all the ingredients to make a pot of tea are in place, the alarm is set at a desired waking time and forgotten about. When the alarm sounds, it triggers the element on the kettle to start the boil process. There's a tube that runs from the kettle into the teapot and once the water has boiled the teapot is filled.
You then have to pour the water from the teapot into a cup, and add milk and / or sugar.
Teasmades Aren't For Me
I'm not part of the target market for a Teasmade. For starters I rarely drink tea, I don't have a nightstand and the idea of having to prepare a Teasmade before bed just doesn't appeal. There's something just a little too grown up and dull about it all, there's nothing remotely sexy about a Teasmade.
When the product is relaunched, it will be interesting to see how it is branded. I can't personally see it being aimed at people in their 20's and 30's, but if some young celebrity of the moment is signed up to promote it and they include an iPod dock in the new design, who knows? The Teasmade may become sexy after all.
Please visit my History Of Tea In Britain hub if you want to read some interesting facts and information, all about tea!