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01.01.10 Product Tank Kettle - Grandmother Product Tank struggles with her kettle.  She can’t hold it up to the tap to fill it because she has bad wrists (her arm wrestling days are over).  Instead she fills a lightweight plastic measuring jug that she takes to the kettle with enough water for a cup of tea or to pour on her sprouts (a uk winter vegetable).  It got me thinking about kettle design…

From design research into current models, traditional kettles (handle over the top) are much easier to carry, but harder to fill and pour.  Jug kettles are harder to carry, but easier to fill and pour.  Neither provides multiple handgrip options.  My design concept is a hybrid kettle, a cross between a traditional and jug handled design, hopefully taking the best bits of both, whilst discarding their disadvantages.

Two handles provide multiple grip points for filling, carrying and pouring and are angled to make each operation ergonomically easier.  My Kettle design has thick insulated walls, which save energy by keeping the water warmer for longer, cutting down on re-boiling time.  They also mean that the kettle can be held in numerous positions because the outside is not conducting heat.

The display is based on a car petrol gauge, familiar, very easy to read and in a prominent position that cannot be obscured.  You’re not craning your neck to watch a little red ball climb a clear tube hidden under the handle or around the side.

Filling can either be done traditionally, through the central aperture, or the lid, which can be swung out to any angle and filled through an anti splash mesh opening.  I conducted several design experiments to find the best aperture ratio to let enough water through, (without running across the top of the mesh) whilst eliminating splashback.  This solves the problem encountered when filling many traditional kettles of holding the kettle whilst providing enough space to get the tap past your knuckles.  When the lid is closed, it compresses an annular rubber seal, so there can be no burns from escaping steam.

Watch the video to see what I’m rambling about.


14.01.10 - Having had time to sit back and take stock of my kettle project, I realise it's not really breaking boundaries.  I set out to improve the design of the kettle, but it was the wrong approach for the project.  I questionned 'how do I design a better kettle?' instead, I should have asked myself 'how do I make it easier to make a cup of tea, or fill a pan with boiling water?'  The best solution is to have a tap that produces boiling water.  Ignoring expense, possible environmental impact etc (there are several good designs already available on the market). 

That aside, I spent a day revisiting kettle design bacause the only thing a tap does not do is save a user having to carry a heavy pan to their stove.  My idea requires the user to fill a very light over handled jug, which they then put onto the kettle base and boil.  A retractable tube and filling nozzle can then supply water to anything within range.  The design uses a small electric pump and was inspired by the dulux paint pod.  It's a quick idea, and there are ways to easily make it safe for children etc.  Quick rendering below.