Once was new:

Although I’m not the oldest object belonging to my present owner, she thought I might be of more interest than some of her other belongings.

My life started out as a wedding present of my present owner’s grandparents back in 1914. Now, being old has affected my memory, so the facts are a bit dented like my body. I was made at the same time as the first electric kettle who was turned on by my original owner’s mother. Theirs was the first electric kettle on the NW coast of Tasmania because its owner was a politician who brought hydro electric power to our area. That was a big celebration, from what I’ve been told.

Two private hydro-electric stations had been opened, one in 1895 on the South Esk River (it was one of the first hydro-electric power stations in the southern hemisphere. Reefton in New Zealand is the first in 1988) and Lake Margaret Power Station opened in 1914.
Both these power stations were taken over by the HEC and closed in 1955 and 2006 respectively. (thanks to Wikipedia for this information).

Life was to change dramatically when electricity arrived. Comparable to when computers arrived; life was never to be the same again. Electric lights meant all of the old kerosene lamps were put away in cupboards, just in case the power failed, as it did from time to time.

Electric ovens were installed. No longer having to chop wood to keep the fire burning, this meant a time saving step forward. My owner enjoyed polishing me and making my copper shine and my brass legs gleam. Did you notice I have a wooden power plug and a very different cord? Eventually a more modern porcelain kettle that didn’t need polishing replaced me and I was tucked away in a cupboard.

In 1969 my original owner moved into a smaller home. My present owner thought I was too special to be taken to the tip. She polishes me and helps me remember my youth when I was a prized item. Every major event, whether happy or sad, I was there to invigilate and boil water for that cherished cup of tea. Now I watch from the bottom shelf of the chiffonier, new generations playing the same games as previous generations.

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18 thoughts on “Once was new:

  1. Silver in the Barn

    As I lover of all things vintage, I think your copper tea kettle is a treasure, dents and all. Look at that power cord! I remember toasters and irons with those frayed cords. So nice that it is still in the family watching over all of you.

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  2. Martha Kennedy

    This is an amazing object. It reminds me of a natural gas iron my aunt Jo had in her collection. So odd, almost a premonition.

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    1. bkpyett Post author

      It’s funny how we took so much for granted and now those odd things are fairly unique, as others threw theirs away! I wonder what happened to your aunt’s natural gas iron? Was it copper?

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      1. Martha Kennedy

        It wasn’t copper. It looked like a little locomotive — I found a photo of one like it, but I can’t paste it here, unfortunately. I don’t know what happened to all those things. She collected. I have a hunch her collection of irons was given to the Bighorn County Museum in Hardin, Montana.

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      2. bkpyett Post author

        I do hope it was given to a museum. Gas irons would be quite unusual, I’ve never seen one!
        Thanks for answering Martha.

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  3. bkpyett Post author

    I can’t imagine it worth much, but it is probably an antique now. just! My grandmother sent so much to the tip, it was lucky I caught this one! She felt no-one had time to polish such things.
    Am sure the next generation won’t have time…

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  4. M-R

    What a beauty, Ba ! – in absolutely prime condition were it not for the dent. (I remember those terrible cords, always fraying if you looked at ’em; how comes yours is pristine ?!)
    I’ve never seen an electric kettle of that age; it’s probably worth a motza ! 🙂

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