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Tea Time: 1925

Tea Time: 1925

January 23, 1925. "George F. Mitchell, Bureau of Chemistry, Agriculture Department, testing tea." National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.


Sample Container

I have heard them called Necked Bell Jars.

The Tea Expert

Washington Post, Jul 23, 1973

George F. Mitchell, Noted Authority on Teas, Dies

George F. Mitchell, 91, an authority on tea who worked with both the government and private industry, died Saturday at the Washington Hospital Center.

Born in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Mr. Mitchell was a graduate of Clemson College. He joined the Agriculture Department in 1903, worked with experiments in the growth and of tea and became a supervisor tea examiner to administer the Tea Act.

Mr. Mitchell left the Agriculture Department in 1929 to become plant manager of the Maxwell House tea division of the General Foods Corp. in New York. He retired in 1948 but continued to serve as a consultant to General Foods, Lipton, United Coffee and Tea Instant and to the government.

He held patents on a machine for pruning tea, on processes for the manufacture of beverages from cassina, an American plant containing caffeine, on processes for preparing tea and resultant products and on a radio-televsion device.[actually, a radio-phone device]

Mr. Mitchell as a member of the U.S. Board of Tea Experts from 1917 to 1947, past president of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association of Bush Terminal, N.Y., first president of the Tea Association of the U.S., and past president of the Tea Club of New York City.

He returned to Washington in 1969. He was a member of All Souls Memorial Church and the Cosmos Club.

He is survived by his wife, Lily Braxton Wallace, of the home, 3215 Klingle Rd., NW; a son, George B., of Chevy Chase, Md.; two sisters, Mrs Eugene G. Johnson and Mrs. O. Harleston Lesesne, of Charleston, S.C., and two grandchildren.

Japanese Tea Canisters

The three Japanese lacquered sheet metal tea canisters at left center are a bit of a surprise here. These beautifully decorated bulk containers for loose tea were produced in the 19th and early 20th Centuries for Japanese tea exporters, and were hand-painted in powdered metallic pigment colors (more than one shade of gold and sometimes silver) with stylized Japanese garden scenes. They add a homey touch to this laboratory scene, but were probably used in the lab because they were functionally efficient in keeping loose tea samples dry and safe from insects.

Best Job Ever

In my opinion.

I have some scientific samples in bottles like those upside-down bottles right behind the scale. Does anybody know what they are called?

Government Standard Tea

This photo (for me at least) raises more questions than it answers. Do teas that are superior to the government standard tea receive a reward? Do inferior teas get a fine or other penalty? Who died and left all this authority to this one taste tester. Hasn't he noticed that 1924 is over? Is he a British subject, or what are his qualifications?

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