Way back 120 years ago, Patrick Kelly, a small-time farmer and fisherman in County Mayo, Ireland, got an idea about heating up water quickly to warm his bones with a cup of tea while fishing on Lough Conn for trout and salmon.

His idea was to create a two-walled chimney with an opening for adding water and a pan on the bottom to hold a small fire. The idea was that a draft would be created, drawing heat up the center of the kettle, heating the water. After several iterations and tinkering with pieces of tin and cans, Patrick created the Kelly Kettle. It burned through because of heavy use, so he made one out of copper. This one lasted.

Patrick’s son kept a kettle with him and soon they became popular with the locals in western Ireland. This may have been one of the first modern bio-fuel stoves. Fueled by twigs, grasses, and driftwood, the Kelly Kettle made something out of nothing.

Four generations later, the Kelly Kettle is still in the family. Brothers Patrick and Seamus took over the company in 2005. New sizes and accessories were added to the lineup too, like an attachment to allow cooking over the top of the chimney.

This chimney means there’s a lot of surface area, which is the key to this stove’s efficiency. Because of this, the small “standard fire” used for other stoves didn’t work so well. The Kelly Kettle needs a tall, hot fire, not a short one, so I stuck a few pine cones in the chimney and boom … instant boiling water.

Wood Test:
Water baseline temperature of 62 degrees.
Standard wood (six dowels, three trim pieces, methanol) plus two pine cones.
Rolling boil at 3:09.

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