Who invented the bag?

The invention of the tea bag
Put the packaging in the boiling water

The tea time? A mistake. Ceylon, orange pekoe, Darjeeling, jasmine - they all develop their taste out of small bags, the Austrians call them tea bags. And what's behind it? A mistake. The American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan packed his tea samples, which he sent to Europe in 1904, in small silk bags so that they would not get mixed up during the journey across the Atlantic. The recipients mistakenly hung the tea and its packaging in the boiling water - and the tea bag was invented.

Before it became what it is today, however, a few more beautiful mistakes should happen. Sullivan put his tea in silk bags - which worked quite well. Now, however, cunning traders began to stretch the noble tea herbs with cheap hay. To prevent this, the Briton John Horniman sealed his bags with glue. They were securely locked now, but the tea tasted awful of glue. The company Teekanne from Düsseldorf soon appeared on the scene - today the world market leader in tea bags. During the First World War, the company produced tea bags from gauze, a fabric so dense that no herb in the world could have developed its taste in hot water. So the troops drank hot water.

Speaking of hot water, if anyone wonders who invented tea - it was Asterix and Obelix. Before the Gauls visited the British, they only drank hot water, now and then with a drop of milk at most. It wasn't until Asterix spiced up the water with a few herbs that the British got a taste for it. And they've been drinking tea ever since.

The tea bag as we know it today was finally invented by Adolf Rambold, employee of the Teekanne company, in 1929, shortly before it became clear that carrying his first name would be the most devastating mistake of all. So Adolf Rambold invented the double chamber bag made of parchment paper with a staple fastener. And he also invented a tea bag packing machine.

Since then, countless bags have been hung in the water around the world every day - and sometimes thrown onto the ceiling. In the 1960s, Rudi Dutschke peppered his teabag on the ceiling of the “Wilhelm Hoeck 1892” pub in Berlin Charlottenburg. The bag sticks to this day.

The discipline of throwing tea bags vertically is very popular as an artistic means of expression. There were also some bags stuck to the ceiling in the Karlsruhe Art Academy. As a student, I threw a few upstairs myself - but none of them stuck.