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Tuesday, 27 October 2015


Non-electric kettles date back thousands of years but would leave you waiting ages for your brew. In Ancient China, kettles were typically made of iron and were placed directly over an open flame.

The 1784 'Kettle War' between the Netherlands and Holy Roman Empire involved a single shot. It hit a kettle.

The Carpenter Electric Company developed the first electric kettle in Chicago in 1891. Two years later the English Crompton and Co. firm started featuring electric kettles in their catalog. These early kettles took twelve minutes to heat the water because the element was in a separate chamber under the water, maintaining the 'fire under the water' layout of traditional boiling vessels.

The first electric kettles were a strictly functional object and were seldom seen outside the kitchen, being regarded as a supplementary appliance to the electric cooker. The separation of water from the element made the kettle inefficient and expensive to run.

                                                  Featured image: Kettle . CC0 via Pixabay.

The automatic kettle – one that switches itself off when the water reaches boiling point – was the brainchild of Peter Hobbs, one of the two founders of appliance company Russell Hobbs. Launched in 1955, it used a controlled jet of steam from the boiling water to cut the power supply via a fast-acting bimetallic strip.

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