I used to have a Goblin next to my bed. It would wake me and make a cup of tea to welcome me to the new day.
No! Not a little man with pointy ears, silly! A Goblin Teasmade. The idea was that it would turn on a small electric kettle to provide freshly boiled water (tea aficionados know that only once-boiled water is good enough for a proper cuppa).
This water would, by means of syphonic action, be poured in to the waiting teapot. Once the teapot was full the pressure switch under the now empty kettle would release, and activate the alarm, et voila! Perfect tea to start the day.
The reality was a little different. I was woken ten minutes early by hissing and spluttering from the wheezing kettle. It would try to force boiling water through a narrow pipe that had become furred, due to the hard water in our region. Health and safety experts would have a field day with the idea of boiling water sloshing about on the bedside table!
It was a real work-up trying to clean the pipe. I tried all sorts of things to remove the calcium deposits, like pipe cleaners or bent wire, but it was never a real success. The Goblin was soon relegated to the garage, with the other detritus from the throw-away age.
Teasmades are still available, apparently, as retro novelty items – I’ll stick to getting up five minutes early, thanks!