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Twinings is a British tea and coffee company. It was founded by Thomas Twining, who bought a coffee house in Devereux Court, just off the Strand, London, in 1706. By 1717, Thomas Twining had acquired three small adjacent houses and converted them into a shop where dry tea and coffee was sold retail.

After Thomas Twining's death in 1741, the company passed to his only son, Daniel, reputedly the first Twining actually to export tea. The early ledgers of the company show that, as early as 1749, Twinings teas were being exported to the American colonies, with the Governor of Massachusetts Bay as one customer. Twinings continued to prosper, despite tea's high price and exclusivity.

As Chairman of London Tea Dealers, Richard Twining had the ear of Prime Minister William Pitt. His influence was part of the reason that the Commutation Act was carried through Parliament in 1784 and the tea tax was reduced. Tea was on its way to becoming affordable to all. The Twinings sign, hung up in 1787, is one of the oldest commercial signs still in continuous use in the world.

Together with his brothers George and John, Richard Twining II (1749-1824) succeeded his father in 1818.

(Source: Jane Pettigrew, Twinings)

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