Invented by electrician, Dan Anderson, The Builder’s Tea Box could be just your cup of char. Lee Jones talks to the Dorset tradesman about the handy drinks making kit.
A hot brew on a winter’s day is a blessing for a builder, but the means to rustle up a respectable cup of Rosie Lee is not always readily available on site. Whether it’s a kettle with more layers of paint and plaster than a Victorian townhouse, a base that went missing in that black hole between van and job, or ceramic mugs that were never meant for the muck and bullets that’s a tradesman’s lot, there’s invariably a vital component that’s gone astray – and you’re not going to be keeping that spoon for all the tea in China.
“It started as a throwaway comment on site,” recalls Bournemouth-based, sparks, Dan Anderson. “Yet another kettle that had been kicked about the back of the van had broken and I said to the lads what we really need is a tea box. That then became a bit of a standing joke with blokes bringing in cardboard boxes and the like, but it did get me thinking that there could be a market for something purpose-built.”
It was an idea that the proprietor of Ando Electrical then kept brewing in the back of his mind for some time before he set about designing a suitable solution. “I originally envisaged something like a high-end toolbox, with draws and compartments,” he explains. “The problem with that is that it’s expensive to manufacture, which pushes up the cost, and it’s fiddly for a builder to use. I went through a few prototypes but realised that simplicity and durability had to be the guiding principles.”
Like many an aspiring inventor, Dan would soon realise that bringing a product to market was certainly no tea party, especially when working as an electrician and bringing up two small children. “I was mostly working on it weekends and evenings, but the further I got into it the more determined I became. Having found a local firm who could help me with the designs, it’s now being manufactured very cost-effectively in China. It’s took three years to get in a position where we’re selling units and I’m very happy with the finished product”
The Builder’s Tea Box is designed to safely contain all the accoutrements you need for that crucial caffeine boost. It contains two enamel cups, two enamel containers to store tea, coffee or sugar, one stainless steel spoon, and a kettle that will boil two cups of water, all safely stowed in a sturdy case with a handle and shoulder strap. “It looks simple but there’s a lot of thought that has to go into it,” he continues. “The carry case material is EVA, which is strong enough to take a knock, and everything has to be designed to be easy to clean. It can’t be too big, of course, but at the same time needs to compactly hold exactly what you need. There’s a 12V version in the pipeline, and we certainly have ambitions to get it into builders’ merchants. Not only does it keep everything safely in one place, it’s going to save you time looking for cups and so on when you want to brew up.”
Dan’s investment in time and his own money is considerable, but he is also indebted to his silent partner, Carole Knifton. Originally a client of Ando Electrical, when he explained The Builder’s Tea Box idea, she immediately saw the potential and has helped him realise the product. “The best testimony I can give it is that it’s made by a tradesman for the trades,” concludes Dan, “and just like your toolbox and your radio it can be just another part of your everyday kit.”
For further information on Ando Electrical visit andoelectrical.co.uk/
YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
If Dan Anderson’s drinks making kit sounds like just your cup of tea, you’re in luck because we have 3 to give away. All you have to do is fill in the form below and you could be drinking deep with a Builder’s Tea Box.