Hot on the heels of the Automatic Water Boiler Company, an Aberdeen firm, Shirras, Laing and Co, patented an automatic tea maker in 1902. They were electrical and heating engineers, sheet metal workers, lamp manufacturers, oil merchants, ironmongers and marquee manufacturers.
On 29th December 1902 an article about their invention was included in the local newspaper:
Automatic Tea Maker Patented by an Aberdeen Firm
With their characteristic enterprise, Messrs Shirras, Laing and Co Limited, Aberdeen, have just patented an automatic tea maker, with which a busy man who must needs be up betimes in these cold winter mornings can rise at the sound of the alarm clock, and ere he has dressed have a warm cup of tea automatically prepared for him, or have hot water ready for shaving or other purposes. The invention is simple in construction, consisting of an alarm clock, a copper kettle, a spirit stove, and a silver-mounted plate. Before retiring to rest the alarm can be set the tea and water placed in the kettle, and one can go to sleep confident that a “cup that cheers” waits to refresh him in the morning. When the alarm rings the winding handle at the back of the clock turns and loosens a lever which automatically fuses a match, thus lighting a spirit stove. In the course of about five minutes, the pint of water in the kettle above boils, and the bubbling of the liquid agitates a wire which loosens its hold, immediately putting out the lamp. The kettle also tips up and gently pours out the water into a cup placed on the tray beneath the spout, at the same time ringing a second gong to give notice that tea is ready. The invention is a very smart one, and as it is advertised at a popular price, will no doubt be introduced into many a home. Among other inventions patented by this go-ahead firm is a handsome silver-mounted walking stick, with a small glass at the head. The top contains a tiny electric battery, which will throw out a bright gleam by the pressing of a button. This stick, which to outward appearance closely resembles an ordinary cane, would be of great service to anyone traversing a dark road. Messrs Shirras, Laing and Co Limited have also a large variety of pocket electric flashlights, reading lamps, factory lamps, etc.