The Fall issue of the Upton Tea Quarterly has arrived, and once again I find myself tucking in to learn more about Sir Thomas Lipton. As you can see from the cover of the quarterly, Sir Thomas was featured on the cover of Time magazine's November 3, 1924 issue.
The article references a biography of Lipton that found that between 1910 and 1914, "Lipton's worldwide tea empire grew to staggering proportions, and that growth was directly linked to Lipton's genius for generating 'news.' Newspapers loved Lipton because he sold papers and it seemed that the American public could not get enough of him."
The account also notes that after Lipton lost his third quest for the America's Cup, he received "more loving attention than the men who had won." For some reason, that reminded me of Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson, who technically "lost" the Miss America pageant this year but whose story we'll never forget thanks to the publicity generated by her heartfelt monologue about the nursing profession—and the resulting brouhaha after the hosts on "The View" belittled her. I can't help thinking Sir Thomas Lipton was in pretty much the same position!
Other things I learned from this article:
• During the Spanish-American War, Lipton made his fortune in the pork trade.
• Lipton was involved in scandal when, "early in 1914, a case was opened that implicated Lipton Limited in an illegal bribery scheme to secure contracts for provisioning military canteens." (The article notes that "Lipton appears to have been unaware of the bribery system until the case was opened," but as the well-known figurehead of the company, he was naturally called to account.)
I can't help being fascinated by the tea merchant whose name remains on tea products I sip today. If you'd like to read this article for yourself, or to subscribe to the free Upton Tea Quarterly, click here.