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This Is What Made Ruth Campbell Bigelow So Special To The World Of Tea

bigelow tea ruth campbell family

Today is a very important day at Bigelow Tea; it’s the birthday of fearless company founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow (perfect timing as it’s also National Women Inventor’s Month…another reason to celebrate Ruth’s accomplishments!). Although Ruth passed away in 1966, this incredible lady is still the source of inspiration for everything that the Bigelow family accomplishes as they continue a third generation of ownership of a tea company that reinvented tea in America. To think it all started in 1945 in Ruth’s kitchen where she diligently mixed and blended and mixed some more until she had a creation of black tea, orange rind and sweet spices that ended up being a source of “Constant Comment” among everyone who sipped this special tea flavor. And here we are today with an ever-growing community (a true #TeaProudly movement is what we call it!) of incredibly devoted tea lovers as passionate as we are about tea!

Honor Ruth today by getting cozy with a cup of “Constant Comment”® and smiling at some of these family stories that show just what Ruth was really made of:bigelow tea constant coment cup and saucer

Back in the early days when Ruth was struggling to get her product to hit it big, a shopkeeper confided to her that he left open a container of “Constant Comment”® because the
customers loved the tea’s amazing aroma. “One whiff and they’re sold!” is what he allegedly told a proud Ruth! From then on, she included an extra whiffing jar in her tea cases so that store owners could keep it next to the cash register, where a sniff led to a sale!

Another famous story: The company moved from New York to Connecticut in 1955, and hurricanes almost completely destroyed the building, leading to the Bigelow family’s own “Connecticut Tea Party”! But Ruth and Co. didn’t get knocked down- with her guidance, they got right back up and rebuilt!

Ruth is the one who said it best herself in this letter from 1945 that sums up what gave her the strength to build up a business out of nothing but sheer grit, determination and imagination – the lady was truly ahead of her time, so take a moment to read it!

Fast forward to 2017– one tea bag a time, Ruth’s kitchen creation has become an American institution with over 130 flavors of black, green, oolong, and herbal teas. So today take a big sip from your mug in Ruth’s honor!

How will you celebrate Ruth’s birthday? Tell us and tag #TeaProudly!

Bigelow Tea Shares Favorite Family Stories On Ruth Campbell Bigelow’s Birthday


ruth bigelow bigelow tea


Today, Bigelow Tea celebrates the 120th anniversary of the birth of founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow, and also celebrates her remarkable achievements as a visionary American entrepreneur.  Although Ruth passed away in 1966, the little company she started in her kitchen in 1945 continues to thrive in its third generation of family ownership. “Constant Comment“®, the company’s first tea variety, remains a best seller, even as offerings have expanded to include more than 130 tea flavors. Wow!

The entire Bigelow Tea extended family, which celebrated the company’s 70th anniversary in 2015, is proud to honor Ruth’s legacy by producing the highest-quality teasserving the community and operating as good environmental and corporate citizens. Here are a few favorite Bigelow family stories that exemplify Ruth’s signature can-do spirit:

  • Inspired by a Colonial recipe, Ruth experimented in her kitchen until she emerged with a blend of black tea, orange rind and sweet spices that she was convinced would be a winner. Indeed, it was the source of “constant comment”among her friends, and Bigelow Tea was born.
  • Ruth had an “aha” moment in those tough early days when a shop keeper said that he had opened a container of “Constant Comment”®to allow customers to smell the tea’s wonderful aroma. “One whiff and they’re sold!” he said. So Ruth made sure that every case of tea came with an extra whiffing jar that retailers could keep next to the cash register.
  • Soon after the company moved from New York to Connecticut in 1955, Bigelow Tea almost met a watery end when back-to-back hurricanes flooded the new building. But once again, Ruth and David rallied and rebuilt!bigelow tea constant comment

Stories like these are wonderful reminders of how far Bigelow Tea has come and the traditions that keep it going. Ruth would love knowing that a contemporary of hers, Gladys Hooper, wished for cake and a cup of tea when she recently celebrated her 113th birthday. Tea is truly timeless!

How The World Looked In 1945 When Bigelow Tea Began

bigelow tea history tin
In 1945, World War II ended, the Yalta Agreement was signed and Bigelow Tea was born! As Bigelow has been celebrating 70 years as America’s family tea blenders, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on the company’s auspicious beginning and the many historical milestones ushered in during the same year. Here’s a snapshot of events and statistics from 1945, when Ruth Campbell Bigelow adapted a Colonial recipe to create “Constant Comment®”:

  • The first German war crimes trial began in Nuremburg.
  • Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from France.
  • The average American salary was $2,400.
  • The cost of a gallon of gas was 15 cents.
  • Ruth and her husband, David Bigelow, were making a living blending and packaging seasonings that they sold in New York City. They wanted to expand their product offerings, and Ruth’s hunch that the American market was ready for a more flavorful tea than the bland brew available at the time proved correct.bigelow tea ruth bigelow
  • A July 1945 article in the New York Herald Tribunereported the following about “Constant Comment,”®according to a recent account in Connecticut Explored magazine:  “One of
    Mrs. Bigelow’s Park Avenue friends was giving an afternoon party, and it was suggested she try the new blend. Not a word was said to the guest regarding its novelty, yet everyone spoke of the tea’s aroma, its flavor—there was ‘constant comment.’ A good name, why not? Labels were made and the tea was hurried to the stores where it is selling at around 75 cents for the two-and-one-quarter ounce jar. Expensive? But here’s a tea so flavorful that three-quarters of a teaspoon make six bracing cups of aromatic spiciness.”

Today, “Constant Comment”® remains one of Bigelow Tea’s best-loved flavors in a line that has expanded to include more than 120 varieties. Just ask Instagrammer @Scot30, who says “Constant Comment”® is his all-time favorite tea. Enjoy the aroma, taste and nostalgia in every cup of Bigelow Tea!


Bigelow Tea Celebrates Founder Ruth C. Bigelow’s Birthday!


btthurs_Bigelow Tea Wishes Your Family A Happy Thanksgiving!

Ruth C. Bigelow with husband David E. Bigelow Sr.

Sunday, February 8th, is a very special day as Bigelow Tea celebrates the birth of founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow! One hundred and nineteen years ago in Providence, R.I., the indomitable Ruth was born! Later, as an adult, Ruth took a great leap of faith in 1945 to launch Bigelow Tea based on a single tea she created in her kitchen: “Constant Comment®.”  What a legacy to commemorate as the Bigelow family also marks the company’s 70th anniversary this year!

Ruth will be forever remembered as a visionary whose passion for quality, family and American ingenuity continues to fuel the Bigelow Tea mission. How proud she would be to know that the business continues to be family-owned and is now America’s number one specialty tea company with more than 120 varieties blended and packaged right here in the USA!

It took determination, grit and hard work for Ruth and husband David Bigelow Sr. to achieve their version of the American dream. Driven by the belief that the country was ready for a more flavorful tea, and inspired by a Colonial recipe, Ruth spent weeks blending black tea, orange rind and sweet spices to perfect  “Constant Comment®.” It remains one of America’s best-loved teas and still generates lots of conversation, as @sharoncady shared in this heartwarming tweet:  “If friendships had a smell, ours would be #ConstantComment tea!”

Happy birthday to Ruth and her beloved Bigelow Tea … here’s to many more generations as America’s Family Tea Blenders!


The Story Behind “Constant Comment” Bigelow Tea

bttus_The Story Behind “Constant Comment” Bigelow Tea

Hey, it’s Hot Tea Month. The perfect time to talk about Bigelow Tea founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow and the inspired tea she created in her home kitchen nearly 70 years ago!

“Constant Comment”®—which was inspired by an early Colonial recipe using orange rind and sweet spices—became Mrs. Bigelow’s first variety. It got its name from the “constant comments” of her friends. How cool is it that today Bigelow Tea “Friends” are still “Commenting” about Bigelow Teas all over the web?

Back at the beginning, Ruth couldn’t simply Tweet about her teas (no social media then). So, when it came time to market her product, one shopkeeper told Ruth that the aroma of “Constant Comment” was a big selling point. She promptly set up a jar of “Constant Comment” labeled with the directions: “open and whiff.”  Shops across the country placed this whiffing jar by their cash registers and the sales began to grow!

bttues2_The Story Behind “Constant Comment” Bigelow Tea

The rest, as they say, is history. And though Ruth never saw the power of the world wide web, she’d be thrilled to know that “Constant Comment” is still generating buzz today! Check out the “good morning” mug of “Constant Comment” that @daredancer shared recently … and tell us why you love Ruth’s first tea!

Image via Home Cooking Memories

Bigelow Tea Remembers When Mrs. Bigelow “Moved The Pony Stable”

btmon_Bigelow Tea Remembers When Mrs. Bigelow “Moved The Pony Stable”

Ruth Campbell Bigelow on the left with her husband David Bigelow

At Bigelow Tea we are so proud of our company’s history and of the members of the Bigelow family who worked extremely hard to turn a little dream into a huge reality! Our new packaging includes stories about the Bigelow family and Bigelow Tea’s history, and we’d love to share one with you today!

Back in 1945, Ruth Campbell Bigelow was trying to establish a market for her new product “Constant Comment” Tea. The going was tough. One evening Ruth was talking about a discouraging day when her sister said: “Remember … Mama moved the pony stable.” This phrase about the pony stable contained an important message—one that encouraged Ruth to keep working hard to bring her tea to the public. Here’s the story.

As a child, Ruth’s family had a pony named Bottoms who lived in a little stable. One day, her father announced that the family was moving to the other side of Providence. Bottoms was coming too, but without his stable. The children lamented that Bottoms would never be happy, and finally, Mama said, “The stable will come.”  And it did.

The move commenced and they all paraded across Providence. Four rented horses and six hired workmen moved the stable while Bottoms trotted behind them, pulling the family along. Well-wishers, advice-givers and even a few hecklers followed. But the job was done. That night, as the children slept in a strange new house, Bottoms slept in his familiar stable.

So, in 1945, as Ruth relived that scene, the significance of her sister’s comment was clear: if you wanted to do something badly enough, you could. From that point on, when Ruth was feeling defeated, she would say, “Mama moved the pony stable” and find the courage and ingenuity to carry on, creating a business that meant so much to her and her family.

If we all believe we can “move the pony stable,” imagine how much we can accomplish! With these amazing, strong family members behind us, it’s no wonder that today Bigelow Tea is the number one specialty tea company in the country!


A Letter From My Grandmother, Ruth Campbell Bigelow

I recently ran across this letter that my grandmother must have written back in 1945.  It brought tears to my eyes….it is a beautiful story that is truly the foundation of why Bigelow Tea is around today…I hope you will agree.  Cindi Bigelow

The sale I never forgot:


I was trying to establish a market for a new product…one that was unusual, unknown, and unbacked by a large advertising budget.  And I was trying to do it alone.

The product was “Constant Comment” Tea.  The market was non-existent.

For days I had called on retail stores in the area.  The owners’ answers were discouragingly similar.  They would smile and say, “But Mrs. Bigelow, we can’t handle a product which has no demand.  Build the demand; then we’ll handle the product.”

Then I would smile and say, “But how can I build the demand if there is no store where customers can purchase it?”

They would shrug…and I would shrug…mentally I would ring up another “No Sale.”

That night I returned home exhausted, discouraged, apprehensive.

I had given up a successful decorating business in New York, moved to the country and invested nearly every penny in this product I had called “Constant Comment.”  Had I done the right thing?

The product, I knew, was good.  I had complete faith in it.  The public, I was sure, would find it as delightful as I did.  But did I have strength and ability to sell both dealers and consumers?  At that moment I thought not.

Later that evening my sister telephoned.  I poured out my fears and doubts to her.  She listened, offered some suggestions, and as she hung up, she said – “And remember, Ruth, Mama moved the pony stable.”

I returned to the living room and conjured up that event in my young family life.  We children had a wonderful white Welsh pony named Bottoms.  Bottoms lived happily in a little stable just big enough to hold him, his cart, his sleigh and his food.  It was a very pretty stable – painted white, with hand-hewn beams and a shingled roof.  And it had a tiny hay mow that was a constant delight to my brother, my sister and myself.

One day my father announced that we were moving – from East Provident to The Hill.  As the conversation progressed it became apparent that, while Bottoms would make the move with us, his stable would not.

We children were extremely upset…Bottoms would never be happy, we were sure, in any other home.  Finally to placate us Mama said, “The stable will go too.”  Papa was appalled; he said flatly that it couldn’t be done, and dismissed the subject.

The next day Mama placed an order for a low, sturdy wagon.  When it was complete, she rented four draft horses, hired six workmen.  Bottom’s stable was levered onto the wagon, and we began our parade across Providence.  (And it was a parade – buildings were not moved with so little fanfare in those days).

Away we went…four patient draft horses in the front, followed by six doubtful and embarrassed men steadying the stable.  Next came a bemused Bottoms, following his home and pulling his cart, which held Mama and us children.  And behind us came a trail of well-wishers, advice-givers and hecklers.

Papa couldn’t be found that day.  Later he explained, “How could I, as a school principal, maintain any discipline in my school if I were associated with a scene like that?”  But even without Papa we made our way through traffic, around corners, up the back, less steep roads of The Hill to our new home.

That night we children slept in a strange new house – but Bottoms had his own familiar stable.

As I relived these scenes, the significance of my sister’s comments came to me.  If you really wanted to do something badly enough…you could.

I can’t say that I went out the next day and sold a million cases of tea.  But in those first months, when the going was really rough, I could say to myself, “Mama moved the pony stable.”  And I could find within myself the courage and the ingenuity to continue building the business that meant so much to me.

MORAL:  Your biggest sale is made when you have sold yourself on your
rightness and your ability.

— Written by Ruth Campbell Bigelow, 1945