For heating water for a variety of purposes, the ubiquitous tea kettle has probably been around since shortly after fire was used to heat food and water. Originally made of metal and heated over an open fire or on the stovetop, today’s modern tea kettles are often used to brew hot beverages such as tea and are equipped with automatic shutoffs to prevent the water from boiling away and damaging the heating element.
The tea kettle has undergone major changes for such a simplistic device. Many of the first metal ones were made of metals that could rust and unless properly cared for often included a few flakes of corroded metal in the beverage. With the use of stainless steel, the tea kettle became more of a fixture in many homes for making tea and instant coffee that required hot water. Most brewing instructions require the water to be heated to the boiling point and soon they were fitted with steam whistles than sounded when the water began to boil.
In addition to the handle and spout, some of the tea kettles also had a removable lid on the top into which bags of tea could be placed for steeping once the water reached the boiling point. The kettle could be removed from the heat source and bags placed inside for typically about five minutes before the user could pour it into their cups.
Decorative Uses Found For Hot Water Vessel
The tea kettle has been used for a variety of purposes and many people, while not using them on a daily basis, probably still have one in storage. Many are coated with heat-proof enamel and used as a decoration on the top of the stove, mainly to fit into their kitchen décor. Others, however may use them for the occasional need for hot water in a hurry.
Prior to large hot water tanks being available in homes, the tea kettle was often used to heat water to pour into baths and some actually use the heated water to help remove snow and ice from sidewalks and steps. Never mind that once cooled the water turns into ice, the immediate removal of ice was considered more important.
In many homes the tea kettle has been replaced by tea making machines that turn off automatically when the water reaches a prescribed temperature. The only negative thing about the metal tea kettle is that people often forget to remove them from the heat, the water boiled away and the kettle or burner on which it sat was damaged beyond repair.