The History of the Kettle

18 December 2013
Kettles have been around for years now and they remain the most common kitchen appliance in the UK. You are most likely to use a kettle to make that all important cup of tea in the morning or for boiling water for cooking purposes.

Porcelain Kettle

Boiling water using a kettle helps to rid water of impurities, something discovered by soldiers in China hundreds of years ago. Their methods of boiling water started a flow of boiling mechanisms that have finally resulted in the kettles we use to make a brew on a regular basis. Here’s a brief look at some of the major historical developments that occurred in the kettles timeline over the years.

Boiling water became essential for a wide variety of people across the world if they were to succeed in brewing all sorts of beverages, from green tea to malt beer. Europeans originally boiled water for the purposes of brewing alcohol whilst cowboys in North America would oil water to drink coffee during their breaks from cattle runs. They realised that metal was the perfect conductor of heat and coincidentally introduced a kettle made from strong metal compounds, primarily including copper.

The construction of kettles lead to a boom in the industry, although it might not be the industry you’d expect. Asian countries began to make the most of the design aspects of kettles to produce luxurious tea pots and cups made with porcelain which became highly desirable. Tea pots were traded across the globe and they became the essential appliance that they are today.

The earliest kettles that were intended to boil water were constructed from iron and placed directly on a source of heat, almost always a small fire. Iron proved to be a terrific conductor of heat and the construction of these kettles was reasonably straightforward.

Copper kettles were designed to appeal to the eyes of the consumers, with detailed finishes and wonderfully artistic designs being created for them. However, copper was easily tarnished by the heating process which meant that it required regular maintenance.

Once electric kettles arrived on the market in 1981 courtesy of the Carpenter Electric Company of the United States, there was a significant rise in the number of kettles found in homes all over the world. However, the first ever electric kettle took as much as 12 minutes to boil water because of the element being in a separate compartment to the water.

Finally, in 1922, the element was sealed in a metallic tube that allowed for a much faster boiling process. It was this design that caught on and to this day it is still the preferred kettle design produced by the vast majority of companies.

The majority of electric kettles produced today are automatic. Creating an automatic kettle proved to be the ideal development for many consumers as they wouldn’t have to worry about over-boiling the kettle any longer. The level of pressure in the kettle is assessed and subsequently turned off once the temperature of the water reaches boiling point.

In terms of kettles in the fashion industry, copper that has been adapted to last longer and prove a reliable material has always been popular with homeowners.  Copper was used historically across England throughout the centuries and is now a terrific option for period properties looking to retain the historical elements of the kitchen.

Ultimately, kettles are likely to remain with us for many years to come thanks to their growing convenience for brewing and cooking purposes. They also hold an incredible amount of significance in any kitchen which is why we are likely to see further developments in kettle design in years to come.

Author Bio
Stephen Grant is a home appliance engineer who has contributed this post on behalf of Applications Engineering, experts in the manufacture of high quality engineering components such as pressure switches and flow meters.


  1. Different kinds of kettle were being discovered since man discovered to cook in fire and water came with it. In modern times, More and more are being designed to suit modern homemaker.

  1. becca said...:

    what a fascinating post i learned something new as did my son. thank you for sharing this son can't wait to tell his history teacher this to see if he knows.

  1. Joy said...:

    a whistling kettle for water boiling to warm the cold water for bathing is its ultimate purpose in our home :)

  1. Kettles are cool. Not literally cool, but awesomely cool. There is nothing like freshly boiled hot water for one's tea.

  1. Wow how interesting I have to admit I don't really think much about a kettle bar it helping make a cup of tea. x

  1. nova hedges said...:

    And now kettles are been part for almost everyone's kitchen. I didn't realized the importance of its history on where it begin..

  1. nova hedges said...:

    Kettles are great, they will help us keep a hot water for our coffee or tea.

  1. I remember the old types of kettles that my grandparents used to have, they are unique.

  1. betchai said...:

    yep, kettles to remain :) I use it for my coffee and tea :)

  1. Cherry said...:

    kettle is a kitchen essential, it has evolved from ancient times to modern times. would love to have that porcelain kettle as a display in the kitchen. :)

  1. jo-anne said...:

    Interesting reads. I love tea and with that, I also adore pretty kettles and pots.

  1. There are many different types and designs of kettles, I've seen a lot when we were still in Korea.

  1. juliana said...:


    My kettle however isn't as utilized as it used to be since the I got my Keurig brewers about 3 years ago.

  1. AdinB said...:

    It is amazing how you learn the history of such kitchen item and how it became that way or the design. Thank you for sharing this one. Just like the cast iron skillet, iron is a great heat conductor and a great kitchen tool to have as it is also durable and retains the heat longer. We don't use a kettle in the house at all, but I sure would love to own one too.

  1. I have an old antique cast iron kettle sitting on my stove right now. I love antiques een with all the fun of technology.

  1. Candyz Nikka said...:

    I like the color of the kettle on the photo. Indeed, electric kettle is a great help for busy individuals (It can prevent fire accident from happening too).

  1. papaleng said...:

    Thank you, thank you. learned much sa post mo.

  1. Lainy said...:

    WHo doesn't have a kettle? I guess everyone has got one! I learned something new today. I feel smarter each day reading new different things. Hahaha!

  1. Rcel said...:

    Oh! You just reminded me to check out the kettle that I have been trying to buy! I hope to find a promo code for it as I am not willing to pay $29 for it! LOL.

  1. Daphne Benosa said...:

    This is correct. I love watching period movies and there are always kettles in the scenes especially during tea time. It's amazing how we still use them at present. :)

  1. Wow, I never knew that using a kettle can remove impurities - now that is a nice information!

  1. Denmark said...:

    Learn something new today.

  1. I remember hen I was kid, we always have a kettle in the kitchen, it wasn't fancy though.

  1. nova hedges said...:

    kettles are wonderful that is not part of mostly every kitchen of a house.

  1. Franc said...:

    There's a good demand for kettles which made it famous before.

  1. Bjorn Bernales said...:

    It's the story of the kettle.
    Lately, I've learned from an episode in Oprah that a small porcelain kettle can be used to cleanse the nose.

    At least, we know is not just a vessel for water but also an item to help cleanse the nose.

  1. Ria C said...:

    That kettle in turquoise is so pretty sis. I didn't know the story behind the kettle and it's good to know now. I remember my mom's collection of dainty tea pots and kettles back home made of bone china.

  1. Haddock said...:

    Like that information on the evolution of the kettle.
    Somehow I prefer the normal kettle to the electric one.

  1. Liza said...:

    Interesting post. Almost every kitchen has a kettle. In Japan kettles are not just for tea and coffee, they are placed on top of portable heaters so the temp inside the room won't be too dry.

  1. Ria C said...:

    Mom has tea pot and kettle collection back home and they're so lovely. It's good to know the history of how kettle came into being. Thanks for the info.

  1. Jhari said...:

    Awesome story. Thanks for sharing :)

    An additional knowledge to my rusting brain hehehe!

  1. Bjorn Bernales, that is new to me but glad to know..

  1. Omg! I love the image! I love tea and so I have a tea kettle but not as fancy as that one, I hope to have Cath Kidston one soon. :D What a history, kettles have come a long way.

  1. Mai said...:

    A kettle is such a handy piece in the household. I still prefer boiling water on a kettle over our automatic hot water dispenser. Too bad, gas price is so high, I had to use the latter. Wait, price of electricity is high also. Now, I'm confused, haha.

  1. Marie said...:

    This is so interesting! :) And the image is just so gorgeous!

Post a Comment