PNG images: Kettle

A kettle, sometimes called a tea kettle or teakettle, is a type of pot, typically metal, specialised for boiling water, with a lid, spout, and handle, or a small kitchen appliance of similar shape that functions in a self-contained manner. Kettles can be heated either by placing on a stove, or by their own internal electric heating element in the appliance versions.

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The first kettles were used in ancient for purposes other than cooking. Over time these artistically decorated earthenware containers became more frequently utilised in the kitchen. In China, kettles were typically made of iron and were placed directly over an open flame. Travellers used the kettles to boil fresh water to make it suitable for drinking.

The word kettle originates from Old Norse ketill "cauldron". The Old English spelling was cetel with initial che- like 'cherry', Middle English (and dialectal) was chetel, both come (together with German Kessel "cauldron") ultimately from Germanic *katilaz, that was borrowed from Latin catillus, diminutive form of catinus "deep vessel for serving or cooking food", which in various contexts is translated as "bowl", "deep dish", or "funnel".

The development of kettles was in direct correlation with the evolution of the modern stove.

In the latter part of the 19th century, electric kettles were introduced as an alternative to stove top kettles. In 1893 the Crompton and Co. firm in the United Kingdom started featuring electric kettles in their catalogue. The early electric kettles were quite primitive as the heating element couldn't be immersed in the water. Instead, a separate compartment underneath the water storage area in the kettle was used to house the electric heating element. The design was inefficient even relative to the conventional stove-top kettles of the time.

In 1922, the problem was finally solved by Leslie Large, an engineer working at Bulpitt & Sons of Birmingham who designed an element of wire wound around a core and sheathed in a metal tube. As this element could be immersed directly into the water it made the new electric kettle much more efficient than stovetop kettles.

In 1955, the newly founded British company Russell Hobbs brought out its stainless steel K1 model as the first fully automatic kettle. A thermostat, triggered by the rising steam as the water would come to boil, would flex, thereby cutting off the current.

Modern kettles include a variety of technological advancements. Some electric kettles are cordless with illumination capabilities. Whistling kettles emit an audible sound as the water boils.

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