Kōrero: Industrial design

Thermette

The thermette, patented by Auckland electrical engineer John Hart in 1929, provided a quick and easy way to boil water outdoors. It comprises a cylinder surrounding a conical chimney on a stand that contains a fire plate. The cylinder holds water, and the tapered chimney heats the water to boiling point very fast. The contained fire allows the thermette to be used in all kinds of conditions.

When the Second World War broke out in 1939 the New Zealand army asked Hart to waive the patent so it could make its own thermettes. He agreed, and the device became standard issue to units; soldiers dubbed it the 'Benghazi boiler'. Although the thermette is often used as an example of original New Zealand design, its concept was similar to 'volcano kettles', made by Irish gypsy tinsmiths since the mid-19th century.

Using this item

Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: ABPJ W5797 7415 Box 12 35119

All images & media in this story

Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Michael Smythe, 'Industrial design - Teaching industrial design', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/zoomify/41838/thermette (accessed 23 September 2019)

Story by Michael Smythe, published 22 Oct 2014