On May 2nd 1932 George Absolom submitted an application for a patent on his invention, an electric automatic tea maker. The Patent (number 400672) was passed on November 2nd 1933.
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. Sadly Companies House retains no details of this company. The clock is not original but is very similar in shape and style.
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.
The word ‘teesmade’ was certainly initiated by George Absolom and predates the use of the word ‘teasmade’ by about four years. George Absolom 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.
Although the name could not be formally protected, from 1932 onwards George Absolom continued to trade as Teesmade Co. Goblin were in no position to object, as the name had the indisputable advantage of prior use. At Christmas in 1933 a showroom was advertising a new improved version of Absolom’s Teesmade in the Hull Daily Mail. One can only guess at Goblin’s frustration as they reluctantly turned a blind eye to their competitor. Unfortunately no records remain at Companies House for Teesmade Co.