Geek Trivia

What Beverage-related Item Was Invented Entirely By Accident?

Twizzle Sticks
Aluminum Cans
Tea Bags
Bottle Caps
What Food, When Properly Sealed, Keeps Forever?


Answer: Tea Bags

In 1904, Thomas Sullivan, a New York City-based merchant, was doing bustling business in the tea trade. His tea sales were so successful he was able to branch out into experimenting with sending potential customers samples of his tea. Initially he sent the samples in small wood boxes, but switched to tiny silk bags as a way to cut down on the expense incurred by the sheer number of wooden shipping boxes he was sending out.

His customers, upon opening their envelopes and discovering the tiny satchels of tea, assumed the little bags were meant to be tossed right into the cup of hot water instead of steeped in the traditional loose fashion. Sullivan was quickly overwhelmed with requests for more of his “tea bags”. A century later, tens of millions of people sit down to tea every day with tea leaves wrapped in tiny bags.

Image by n_yfe.