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The Independent Online
JUDGING by the flood of entries, the cafetiere is a subject dear to your hearts. Many were excellent. Tom Parker, of west London, wrote: 'With the 2003 prohibition on caffeine-based products the state banned the cafetiere, which had become the fighting standard of coffee-drinking zealots. They were destroyed or converted to potato mashers. . . .'

From Clive Lloyd, of Norwich, comes this snippet: 'Sales of the cafetiere finally slumped when the link was made between increasing coffee consumption and the declining sperm count. Most examples were smashed in the New Men backlash of the early '20s. . . .'

This week's winner is Anjana Ahuja, of South Ealing, London, commended last week for her entry on compact discs.

Item 201 is a well preserved example of a plunger-and-jug system used in the 1980s to make coffee. After a spectacularly unsuccessful launch as the 'Plunge-o-Bean' in 1972, the system was renamed the 'cafetiere' and reintroduced in 1982 as the embodiment of European elan. Cafetieres quickly became popular gifts, with the cup capacity and decoration an indication of the donor's status. This 44-cup diamond-studded 1988 example was a gift from a newspaper magnate to his financial adviser.

An accompanying item is the recipient's diary (Item 266), which contains an entry thought to refer to the cafetiere. 'Lucinda from publishing brought round a mellow Phil Collins CD and some Kalahari Choker beans she picked on safari. That wasn't the only grinding we did.' The authenticity of this connection is confirmed by the traces of African toxins found on the plunger.

The next subject in our Time Pieces competition is mobile telephones. We invite you to imagine it is the year 2093 and to write - in 150 words or fewer - a catalogue entry for this Eighties icon. The prize is an Oris watch worth pounds 200 (which can be seen on page 4 of today's Independent Magazine). Entries, to arrive by Wednesday, to: Oris Competition, Weekend, the Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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