Spirit kettles started appearing during the late 1600s, a time when innovation surrounding tea-drinking was at its peak. At this time, teapots were very small and didn’t contain so many tea leaves; this was because tea was still an expensive commodity that had to be used sparingly. Despite this, people were obsessing over this new beverage, and couldn’t get enough! Enter the spirit kettle: a way of topping up your teapot at regular intervals and really getting the most out of your tea leaves.
Spirit kettles were given their name based on their key feature: the burner that used spirits to form a flame under the kettle, keeping the device warm. These kettles would stand on three or four legs and could be found in various forms such as pear shaped, bulbous, bullet-shaped, oval, spherical, or melon-shaped. They were often crafted in the Queen Anne style and would be brought out during formal dinner parties, providing a definite display of wealth and spectacle. Silver tea kettles were crafted to be ornate, elaborate and show-stopping pieces. They provided a great opportunity for silversmiths to show off their skills.
How to make tea in a tea kettle
As well as being fantastic to look at, spirit kettles also serve a useful purpose. To make a pot of tea, one must add tea leaves to a teapot and then fill with boiling water. When the tea is brewed completely, it will then be dispensed into teacups. This is all well and good, but if you happen to be entertaining a large audience you are going to need top ups! The point of the kettle is to keep a constant supply of hot water or tea so that your guests never go thirsty.
Delilah Kealy-Roberts – Sales and Digital Assistant
Delilah joined the AC Silver team as a Sales & Digital Assistant in 2017 after completing her degree in English Literature at Leeds University. Delilah possesses a passion for jewellery and antiquities combined with an interest in blogging and social media.