This is my kettle

My Kettle

This is my kettle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Kettles form a core part of Newspaper Club operations, and it’s important to pick one that has a number of key features to ensure a quality cup of tea. Below I will detail the factors that contribute to this kettle’s daily success, from a systems engineering point of view.


Uptime is important with critical pieces of infrastructure. Things that move are things that break. This kettle has few moving parts – no electric heating element, or on/off switch. It’s heated by applying energy (ignited gas) to the base and waiting. This gives me the confidence that I can trust it in daily operations for many decades.

Graceful Degradation

However, if it was to fail, (say the handle fell off), it’ll still be partially usable (with an oven glove) until a repair can be made at a convenient time.

Control Surfaces

It’s not the fastest kettle, but by varying the gas throughput I can vary the time it takes to boil. If I dial it back a bit, it takes just a little less time to boil than my porridge takes to cook, so the tea is brewed just as the porridge is done.


Given a typical UK energy mix, heating things with gas is more efficient than heating things with electricity. However, as more of the UK energy mix (hopefully) shifts to renewable sources over the next few decades, gas will have a relatively larger carbon impact.


It’s a nice red.

Posted by Tom | Comments (3)

Filed under: engineering


  1. Fri, 22 Mar 2013 at 3:05 pm
    Tony Permalink

    Sorry, but you undervalued the kettle on that final point. It’s actually a VERY nice red.

  2. Fri, 22 Mar 2013 at 3:08 pm
    paul Permalink

    Cost? Or is Newspaperclub like the military, and cost no object.

    It is a nice kettle.

  3. Fri, 22 Mar 2013 at 3:47 pm
    Rev Dan Catt Permalink

    I shall buy an identical red kettle and that way you not only have redundancy but also co-location. Engineers making tea requests can receive tea from the nearest provider ensuring an efficient round trip.

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