PICTURE:Sanja Gjenero (www.sxc.hu)

It’s such a ubiquitous part of our lives these days that it’s hard to imagine life without it. Yet only 100 years ago, the humble teabag didn’t exist.

The teabag apparently traces its beginnings back to New York in the early years of the 20th century (accounts vary with some putting the year at 1908 and others at 1904) when a merchant, Thomas Sullivan, sent out samples to customers in small silk bags.

The customers, so the story goes, misread his intent and instead of opening the bags and tipping the loose tea into a pot, they simply dunked them.

Silk bags quickly gave way to gauze sachets and in

1930, William Hermanson, of the Boston-based Technical Papers Corporation, patented the heat-sealed paper fibre teabag.

While Tetley had introduced the idea in Britain in 1953, It wasn’t until the 1960s that the idea really took off after initially being viewed with some (in some cases justifiable) suspicion by tea drinkers. Teabags have traditionally been rectangular in shape but recent years have seen the appearance of circular or even pyramidal-shaped bags.

SOURCES AND FOR MORE:

~ www.tea.co.uk

~ www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article4124211.ece

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