Some information from Richard on the Tea Machine shop:
I think my Father, Fred Mason who was a well known
figure in Marshall's works, must have started there in around 1920.
A job which he kept until retirement, sans any job related pension,
in 1967. He started as a clerk in the office of the forman of the
Tea Machine 'shop', which interestingly was also the site of my
introduction to Marshall's in the awful war year of 1941! (more
on that later). Dad's job was dealing with the orders for spare
parts that flowed from the manufacture of the machines. Later there
was opened a Works Order Department, where he went.
The machines made for the Indian sub-continent's tea plantations
consisted of: tea stoves which I think were wood burning and made
of cast iron, they heated air forced by a fan through the stoves
tubes and then to the tea drying machines, which used the very hot
air forced by the fan through the leaves as they moved along in
the dryer on stainless steel perforated "trays", then the tea leaves
were fed into the next product: the tea rolling machines which had
a circular motion and then the leaves cut by stainless steel cutters
into the form some of us remember of tiny dark brown flakes very
dry and brittle. (I can't remember seeing the cutting machines but
did work on production of the heavy cutters). This process has been
modified obviously to produce the dry powdered tea of today's teabags.
I think I'm right in saying that we British are mostly alone in
getting, now as then, tea of this kind from India, our forbears
drank green China tea but when the Chinese upped their prices the
cunning Brits started the growing of our tea in the "jewel in the
crown" India! I remember that quite a number of Anglo-Indians used
to come to the works to learn at first hand the use of the machines
the plantations bought. They were young males and enviously handsome
chaps, with black hair and clear olive skin.
I have had an email from a visitor
to this website. He writes:
I thought you might be interested
in the following - while on holiday on the island of Sao Miguel
in the Azores last month I visited the Gorreana tea estate - founded
in 1883 and one of the last tea estates still in existance on the
island. The leaves are still processed by the original machinary
which was all manufactured by Marshalls. I was prompted to do some
research when returning home and found your website!
February 2008 - Update
A little add on to the e.mail 2005 on the page
Marshall's Tea Machinery and the tea factory in the Azores. Just
come back from a weeks holiday on the island (February 2009) and
the Marshall's machinery is geared up ready for the 2009 season.
STILL going strong after all these years. For those interested the
drying machine is numbered 3339 whilst an older version,appearing
non operational, is numbered M3227.
I have visited the company's
and they have kindly sent me the following photographs.
Peter has sent me some photographs
of a tea plantation in the Azores.