If you find the tea making process entirely too taxing, there are many gadgets these days that seek to automate the process as much as possible. While some of them do the job quite nicely, there’s typically a price to pay – an actual financial price, that is – for all of this high-falutin’ gadgetry. Or you could fork over as little as ten dollars for the old tried and true, low-tech solution – the stovetop tea kettle.
Not that there haven’t been some interesting and offbeat innovations in this particular area. If we’re to believe the US Patent Office, one of the first tea kettles is a device referred to as a Tea or Coffee Infuser. It’s similar in appearance to the tea kettles that followed and the patent was filed for in 1837, though it wasn’t actually granted for another half century. One of the first electric models was patented about another half century after that, in 1934, and it was nearly fifty more years before another innovation in the field – a microwave teakettle.
Many offbeat kettles utilize variations – most of them musical – of the standard whistle that sounds when water comes to a boil. These are a rather numerous sub-species and a few examples should suffice. For example, there’s this Musical Tea Kettle, patented in 1989, which uses something called rotatable valve plates and valve ports to allow the kettle to play a tune. Here’s another such gadget from the same time period that uses a different method to achieve essentially the same effect. Here’s yet another one – a Singing Teakettle, supposedly – that uses flexible reeds to get the job done. Last, but not least, is the Tea Kettle Flute, which actually uses a device resembling a flute to achieve the desired effect.
Among the assorted and sundry kettles fashioned into unusual shapes are one which resembles a carousel and one which looks like a locomotive. The Rocket Teakettle looks relatively normal, except that it’s equipped with tiny rockets on the kettle itself that apparently revolve around the perimeter when the water boils.
Going even further into left field, here’s a Combination Coffee Maker And Teakettle that alleges to provide the hot beverage drinker with the best of both worlds. Last, but certainly not least, a Tea-kettle for a Bicycle, whose Taiwanese inventor apparently did not see fit to include a description of how the gadget worked as part of his patent application.
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