In case you don’t know, Tala is a brand of what is now called cookware, but used to be called kitchen implements or kitchen equipment. I love Tala, and last weekend bought my daughter one of their iconic dry goods measuring jugs, a sturdy, endurable, elegant measurer with marks on the inside to show where certain weights of dry foods such as rice might come to. Ideal for someone living in a place with a shared kitchen, and someone dashing home from work and wanting to cook in a hurry!

I love Tala ware but have never really thought about where it might be made or come from or its history; I was looking at the little label from the jug I had bought and saw it was manufactured by a British company, George East Housewares Ltd; well, that’s nice to know… but what is its history? Does Tala mean something?

I looked it up on Wikipedia which didn’t actually help me – there are fifteen places (none in Britain) called Tala, it is the seventh month of the Afghan calendar and also…

… Tala may refer to:

  • Tala – a gilr’s name
  • Tala – a goddess or star
  • Tala – a rhythmic pattern in Indian classical music
  • Tala – , a fictional character in DC comics
  • Tala –  a book by Gabriela Mistral
  • Tala – another name for the South American hackberry
  • tālā – money in Samoa
  • TĀLĀ – a musician

I had to go to the Tala website to find out!

In 1899, Frederick Taylor and Thomas Law, established  a company called Taylor Law & Co Ltd to make kitchen-ware and other hardware;  they produced all sorts of different very useful items, and not just for the kitchen. They made tools for the garden, galvanised tubs and even trunks which people used when they travelled. Their market sounds very similar to ours today with a new interest in home cooking, gardening and travelling! They had a factory and an increasing number of people working for them.

After the first world war, frank law, son of Thomas took over the company, and it was he who came up with the name, Tala, combining Taylor and Law. There were all sorts of gadgets being produced, including the famous icing kits for cakes; and it was in the 1920’s that the beloved dry measure was first made.

War came again to this country, and as well as everything else, the factories began to produce munitions. Success built on success, but then in the 1970’s the company was taken over by a French firm. This also coincided with the fashion and trend for bought goods, convenience food, and not home-baked home produced meals. Cakes went out of fashion, decorating them was not a common hobby.

Then, hurrah! The company was bought by George East Housewares Ltd , based in Suffolk, and what with the upsurge in home producing, home baking, home cooking, cake making, cake decorating, Tala became deservedly popular again! Kitchen-ware became fashionable, cookery shops opened selling just bake-ware, just everything you need to decorate a cake! programmes about cakes and cake making were on TV!

What I love about Tala, well among the many things, is that as far as possible its products are made here, home-made! There are factories now in Liverpool, Accrington, Norfolk, Suffolk and Burnley

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