Thermette Kettle

This is one of the many kettle type devices I have.  For some reason, they are like torches and headlamps.  They are pretty and I buy them.


In this case, I really wanted one of the original types.  Having made one of these in metalwork classes at school, I was already aware of the mechanics, and moreso aware that it should not be boiled empty. (solder melts easily where the water is not!)





The kettle design concept has been around for years since the early 1900’s.

The Thermette was invented in 1929 in New Zealand by John Ashley Hart. It was standard issue to the New Zealand army serving in the North Africa during WW2 when it was known as the ‘Benghasi Boiler’. In 1939 the New Zealand Army asked Hart to waive his patent so they could make their own Thermettes; he agreed and the device was issued as standard equipment to every small army unit. (source: Wikipedia “Kelly Kettle”)

I particularly wanted to get one of the New Zealand made Thermette kettles as some reports of the Chinese made ones were not flattering.  Unfinished and lumpy solder and seams was the major complaint on the forums.


The principle behind these is to get the maximum surface area exposed to the flames and also to have a great environment to burn fuel with great draft and efficiency.

I love the look of the copper and it wont rust.  There is also part of me that likes the idea of copper around water and some form of bug killer.  I am probably off the mark but I like the idea.

These are really simple to light and keep going as the chimney allows the fire to draw well.  The fire base is placed with the opening (face towards the wind) and you can get going with a simple tinder and kindling starter.  Once burning a little, place the kettle over the flames and start adding the little twigs into the top of the chimney.

2.2 litres took just over seven and a half minutes to boil and the fire was burning well.

The Thermette came in a cardboard box and the kettle was wrapped in corrugated cardboard for protection.  On the base were two silver rings.  The base and a cooking ring for the top.  I will find a box that fits it to protect it better.

Overall, it is NOT suitable for backpacking, but any other form of transport where you want heaps of water boiling in short time, go for it.  All I can say is that it does what it says it will, does it well and can burn almost anything like, even uses four or five hand-fulls of gum leaves and a few sticks to do the job.  I have used my old one burning dried cow dung (keeping mozzies at bay too).

(This is not a paid review and the product was purchased)




Thermette Kettle — 3 Comments

  1. I just found one Thermette (1979) in my garage. The box was totally damage but the unit itself does not look like the previous owner ever used it.

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