Teamaker, Automatic; B V C Engineering Company Ltd (Goblin); c.1954-1960; 1994/7...


Teamaker, Automatic

About this object

Designed for bedside use, this cream-coloured automatic electric tea maker and alarm clock set consists of a urea plastic kidney-shaped tray (a), a main unit (b) with a red, cloth-covered power cord, a chrome kettle (c), and two ceramic teapots (d-e).

Both the teapots and the kettle are square-shaped to fit neatly on the main unit. The kettle plugs into the main unit and sits on a spring-loaded pad with a switch that cuts power to the kettle’s element as it empties and allows the pad to rise. The spout is an upside-down U-shape and emerges directly from the top of the kettle. There is a hole in the remaining teapot lid to accommodate this spout.

On the front of the main unit is a clock face with luminous green hands flanked by two lights with ribbed acrylic covers. The dial to set the alarm is located on the top. At the bottom in the centre is an orange goblin figure and in each corner is a silver switch. On the back are instructions for using this ‘Goblin Teasmade” – Model D25.’


B V C Engineering Company Ltd (Goblin)

Date Made


Place Made

Leatherhead, Surrey, England

Medium and Materials


Inscription and Marks

On black aluminium label, back of main unit: ‘ B.V.C. & Eng. Co. Ltd. – Made in the United Kingdom – Serial No 90805.’
Green stamp on bottom of teapots: ‘Goblin – Made in England’ with goblin figure


Height: 20 cm
Width: 38 cm
Length: 41 cm

Subject and Association Description

Advertisements for the first Goblin Teasmade proclaimed that it, “Boils the water, makes the tea, lights the lamp, wakes you up.” Triggered by the alarm clock, the kettle would boil the water. Then, steam pressure forced the boiling water in the kettle out of the spout and into the waiting teapot. When the kettle shut off, the lights and alarm came on. All the owner had to do was set the alarm, fill the kettle, and toss in tea the night before.

Samuel Rowbottom, in 1892, was the first to patent an automatic tea-maker. It ran on clockwork and gas, and established the principle of using steam to force boiling water into a pot. A fully electric version was patented by George Absolom in 1933. Not long after, William Hermann Brenner Thornton, in association with Goblin, patented a similar tea-maker. His next model, manufactured from 1936, was the first to be sold under the name ‘Teasmade.’

Model D25, of which this is an example, was manufactured between about 1954 and 1960, before automatic tea-makers reached the height of their popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. Although it was also manufactured in a 110-v version for sale in the United States, automatic tea-makers were always more popular in Great Britain, and some of its former colonies, than anywhere else. The ‘Teasmade’ is still manufactured today by the company Swan.

Object number


Copyright Licence  

Attribution - Non-commercial - No Derivatives (cc) Attribution - Non-commercial - No Derivatives (cc)

This object is from

Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.