1932 Absolom Teesmade

On May 2nd 1932 George Absolom submitted an application for a patent on his invention, an electric automatic tea maker, soon to be known as the Teesmade. The word ‘teesmade’ was certainly initiated by George Absolom and predates the use of the word ‘teasmade’ by about four years.

The Patent (number 400672) was passed on November 2nd 1933. George Absolom also 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 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.

The label on my example reads: “TEESMADE” CABINET, PROV. PATENT 12555/32, SERIAL NO. 627. The unit bears a label naming the manufacturer as Automatic Utilities Ltd, George Absolom’s first company. The clock on my example is not the original but is very similar in shape and style to the one in the patent application drawings.

The cabinets were not made at Absolom’s workshop at 52 Lansbury Drive. George’s son Robert tells me that his father had some connections with a Mr Reg Kidd who would probably have made the cabinets in his workshop.

At Christmas in 1933 a showroom was advertising a new improved version of Absolom’s Teesmade in the Hull Daily Mail. I have not been able to identify the nature of the improvements.

When Goblin soon started to use the name Teasmade for their own teamakers in 1936, they were in no position to object to George’s brand, which had the indisputable advantage of prior use. One can only guess at Goblin’s frustration as they were forced to turn a blind eye to their competitor.

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