A tea kettle is typically a small kitchen appliance used for boiling water. They can be electric or be designed for stove tops. Kettles can come in several shapes and sizes, and are usually made from either stainless steel or plastic.
A stovetop tea kettle boils water by being placed over a gas or electrical stove, while an electrical tea kettle is a stand-alone appliance. Electrical tea kettles are usually made of plastic, to reduce the risk of shock in case of electrical discharge - plastic is an insulating material.
Despite the variation in appearance, a tea kettle basically consists of a handle and a spout. Some tea kettles may have lids that you can remove to pour water into, while other tea kettles are filled by pouring water through the spout. Some tea kettles additionally may have a whistle attached, to notify when the water has reached boiling point.
Tea kettles are not intended to be used for brewing tea - instead, tea kettles are used to first boil the water that goes into a tea pot designed for that purpose. The exception is the Japanese tetsubin, which can be used both as a tea kettle and as a tea pot.
Electric tea kettles
Electric tea kettles are a self-contained appliance, requiring only a power source and water for usage. Electric tea kettles typically boil water at a faster rate than regular stovetop kettles.
Electric tea kettles work by having a heating electrical element immersed in water, made of resistant material such as nichrome.
Electric tea kettles were first unveiled in 1883 in Chicago. The first electric tea kettles wasted much of the heat generated by the heating device, as it was placed on the bottom of the kettle. Arthur L. Large invented the immersed heating device in 1923.
Electric tea kettles can come in various types. There are simple electrical tea kettles that simply heat water, and then there are more advanced types with thermal and water level sensors, ability to boil water to a certain degree, and cordless electrical tea kettles.
Cordless electrical tea kettles consist of a kettle and a base. The base has an electrical connection that powers the heating element in the kettle when the tea kettle is placed on the base.
The Tetsubin tea kettle
The Tetsubin is a cast-iron teapot from Japan, often used in the Japanese tea ceremony. They are small in size and come in a range of unusual shapes which makes them popular with collectors.
The Tetsubin can be used either as a tea pot for brewing tea, or as a tea kettle for boiling water.