What Exactly is a Thermette?
A thermette is a cone-shaped chimney surrounded by a water jacket. The chimney is open at the bottom, so you can start a fire using any type of fuel. The design of the chimney draws in air, which makes it burn more ferociously and thus boil water more rapidly.
The thermette was invented by Auckland electrical engineer John Hart in 1929. The device, which allows you to boil water quickly while outdoors, consists of a cylinder with a tapered chimney surrounding a fire plate. The device holds water; the hot air generated by the fire heats it to boiling point very fast. The Thermette’s ability to be used in all kinds of weather conditions makes it an extremely useful tool.
In 1939, when the Second World War broke out in New Zealand, the army asked Hart to waive his patent for the thermette. He agreed, and it became a standard issue for all units. Soldiers commonly called the device a 'Benghazi boiler' after a battle in Libya. Although this device is often used as an example of original New Zealand design, its concept was similar to that of a 'volcano kettle', which Irish gypsy tinsmiths had made since the mid-19th century.
For a more detailed telling of this story, Click HERE
Since the invention of the Thermette, it has been modified to allow for cooking, and a ring has been added to support pots and pans.
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Thermette Copper Kettle NZ Made