Are you fond of drinking tea? Then it is easy to assume that you have a tea kettle with you. If not, you may already have one in your kitchen, but just doesn’t recognize it as such. Here is what you need to know about tea kettles.

Tea kettles or teakettles, is a kind of pot that is usually made out of metal that is designed for boiling water. It comes with a spout, handle and a lid. It can be a small sized kitchen appliance that comes in a similar shape wherein it functions in a self-contained mode. Kettles can either be heated through a stove top, or it comes with its own heating element like how most appliances are used.

Kettles in History

The very first kettles in history can be traced back in Mesopotamia used for different purposes except cooking. Through time, these kettles that were once decorated earthenware have become used more frequently in the kitchen. The kettles in China were usually made out of iron and place over open flame. The travellers use the teakettles to boil fresh water in order to make it suited for drinking.

The word kettle comes from the Old Norse word ketill meaning cauldron. The spelling used in the Old English was cetel with the first syllable pronounced as che-, just like how cherry is sounded. In the Middle English it was sounded as chetel, which comes from the German word Kessel that also mean cauldraon. Then another word was borrowed from Latin catillus, which is the diminutive form of catinus, meaning it is a deep vessel used in cooking or servig food. Catinus is also used in various contexts for “funnel”, “deep dish” or “bowl”. The development of the teakettles over the years directly comes from the modern stove that many see today.

The electric kettle

At the end of the 19th century, electric kettles came into the market as an alternative from stove top kettles. Back in 1893, the firm Crompton and Co. in the UK started to show electric kettles in their product catalogue. The earliest electric kettle was very primitive since the heating element couldn’t be immersed into the water. What they did instead was using a separate compartment right underneath the storage area for water in the kettle. It was then used in housing the heating element. The whole design was quite inefficient compared to the traditional stove top kettles back in that time.

In the year 1922, the problem was resolved by the an engineer named Leslie Large that was working with the Bulipitt & Sons in Birmingham wherein she designed an element of wire that is wounded around the core and then sheathed with a metal tube. Since this element can be immersed into water, this design made it more efficient for electric kettles to function, not to mention more convenient compared to the stovetop kettles.

You’d find more information if you read this article and do your own research on how the modern teakettles came to be.