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Tea bag tags are about the size of a postage stamp. Usually thin card or paper with brand logo or tea type printed on it; they are glued, stapled or threaded and tethered to a string tie.
Origins of the tea bag, in 1903 a patent was issued for a small fabric pocket adapted for holding tea leaves to make a single cup of tea in a cup. At about the same time a US tea merchant sent tea samples out in silk bags rather than expensive tins. The recipients thought the bags were to be used in the tea making. The design of the tea bag and its tag evolved. In the 1920s, Lipton Teas USA started printing tags with brewing instructions. The earliest tag is decorated with a picture of a tea chest. Lipton still uses a tag and the bag style that it developed in the 1950s.
By the ‘50s tea bags became a popular, convenient and efficient method of tea-making in North America. The English take-up was later. In 1968, 3% of tea drunk in Britain was made with tea bags; by 2013, it was 91%. Tea drinking became a quick, solitary activity instead of a ritual gathering around the teapot.
Tag collecting is sociable in 1947 Mrs. Jackson of Salem, N.Y., a tea-bag-tag collector, wrote to a New York newspaper to make contact with other collectors. She had 1,300 cardboard tags from individual tea bags from North America.
David Harris and Amanda Bede