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Marshall's - Tea Machinery

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Britannia iron worksEarly Marshalls machineryThe war yearsTea machineryMarshall's in India


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.


August 2005
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 website and they have kindly sent me the following photographs.

October 2010

Peter has sent me some photographs of a tea plantation in the Azores.

Marshalls tea machine
Marshalls tea machine



October 2010:

Peter has emailed me with the following photographs.

Amazing to think how far the Marshall's machinery got around the world and that it is still working. A real testament to the people who designed and built it. The Tea Plantation produces several varieties of fairly weak and green tea mostly sold in the Azores with the tea being grown in the surrounding fields.

Click on the photos for a larger view
(will open in a separate window).

Tea 1
Tea 2


Tea 3
Tea 4
Tea 5
Tea 6
Tea 7
Tea 8
Tea 9
Tea 10


Tea 11