Once upon a time many, many, many years ago, the latest technology for boiling water may have been in animal hide over hot stones.
Just imagine if you made the mistake of offering a drink and your guest accepted.
Image from thegreenhead.com
It would have taken forever and hopefully, by the time the water had finished boiling, they would have left without a cuppa and you would have no washing up to do. Fortunately, we have come a long way since.
The stovetop kettle is most likely one of the oldest water boiling utensils and is still used to this day. They trace back to between 4500 and 200BC Mesopotamia where the kettles were made from iron. It was in the 19th century that copper was used more widely. Either way, these kettles could be placed directly on the flame (guessing that was the only choice).
Image from thekitchen.org
Soldiers and ancient travellers from China would boil water to remove impurities and give the water flavour. While in Europe, warriors and nomads added wheat grain to water leading to what we know today as malt beer.
Now they say that tea was “accidentally” discovered and that if you added green tea leaves to the boiling water, it would give great flavour to the water. Tea has now evolved into one of the most important parts of our everyday life, wherein 2018 the UK consumed, on average, 165 million cups of tea a day, but how did this happy accident occur?
The history of tea goes back around 5000 years when Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was boiling water under a tree. When the leaves of the tree blew into his pot of boiling water it produced a pleasant scent which made him curious and led him to drink the infused water.
I ask you... if something fell into your water today, and with all the knowledge we have now, would you chance drinking it?
Well as you can imagine, like Sir Roger Bannister and his conquest of the sub 4-minute mile, everyone decided to have a go at tea, the Japanese, the Russians and Persians with their Samovars and the Europeans.
Boiling water is an absolute necessity. We boil to sterilise, cook, build manufacture, we use it for baby formula and the list goes on.
The vessels we use have changed with the trends and demands over time. For instance, as I first mentioned, it started with crude methods over hot stones then onto pots then kettles with the commonality of naked heat.
All that changed in 1891 when the first electrical kettle was developed by Carpenter Electrical Company in the United States. The elements were placed in separate chambers therefore the kettle would take around 12 minutes to boil. This great new way of boiling water inspired many new companies to follow suit.
The trend grew and grew then in 1904 we got the Teasmade. For those of you who do not remember the Teasmade, it was a really cool idea that would allow you to wake up to a nice cup of tea when your alarm went off.
The design changed many times over the decades that followed but the principle stayed the same, wake up with a nice cuppa ready to start your day. They are still available today with a more modern design.
Still, with all the tech and gadgets around, we still enjoy the integral ritual of making tea with a stovetop kettle even though it uses more energy than an electric kettle.
Normally we only have a limited number of electrical sockets in the kitchen so the stovetop kettle can be a better choice for some and this can be a great excuse to enjoy one.
The stovetop kettle comes in many choices with a variety of shapes, sizes and materials but copper is still the most conductive. The prices for these types of kettles can start from £5 up to £’ss of pounds
One of the oldest and most favoured designs around today is the Simplex kettle by Newey and Bloomer, who have been around for over a hundred years and are still making the classic style stovetop kettle for both gas and electric hobs. They are all made with copper and offer a chrome or copper finish
The beauty and design of the Newey & Bloomer kettles are quite the talking point in any home with a good selection to accommodate your heat source (gas or electric hob). They are made in Birmingham UK by a small family business and the service level is next to none.
Just to be aware. Newey & Bloomer kettles are the real deal and it is sad to know that there are a number of sub standard copies out there claiming pole position.
So now you have an idea of where and how it all started! What type of kettle will you buy?
I’m off to pour myself a nice cup of Earl Grey, put my feet up and enjoy a nice book.