OXO’s Kettles – The Pressure is On
In 1998, OXO introduced its first Tea Kettle. Safety and practicality were the guiding principles during the development process, and our little Kettle came complete with an innovative steam shield.
Through user feedback, we realized we missed a key consumer insight – that a Tea Kettle, while a practical kitchen tool, is often a centerpiece in the kitchen. Users would leave them out on the stovetop when not in use and some even coordinated their entire kitchen decor around their Kettles. While the steam shield was innovative, it was considered by many to be unsightly (some likened it to the “Flying Nun”!).
In 1999, we corrected the aesthetic flaws to our otherwise safe, practical and well-performing Kettle with the Uplift. The kicker is that all of its elegant aesthetics came as a direct result of making the Uplift safe and easy to use.
The OXO Uplift Tea Kettle has an iconic shape that has become an instant American classic. It is the most requested OXO item used in propping television and movie sets. Look for it next time you watch “The Big Bang Theory!”
- Handles on tea kettles are positioned too close to the steam and hot water at the spout, making it uncomfortable while pouring
- Angle of kettle handles combined with weight of filled kettle make it difficult for users to lift and pour without straining wrists
- Fine motor skills required to open kettle trigger to pour hot water; difficult for many older users to maneuver
- Small opening on top makes it difficult to clean interior of kettle
- The quest for the perfect interaction point between the spout and the handle (so the kettle would not open when carried around filled with water, but would open easily when tipped forward) led us to the current connection between the spout and handle, one that resembles a splash of water.
- The same connection point was also designed to keep the spout open if the user chose, so that they could keep the Uplift’s whistle quiet while boiling water, which is especially handy when preparing an early morning cup of tea.
- While designing an opening large enough to be easy to clean, we needed to ensure it wasn’t so low as to limit the maximum water level, but we still needed to keep it in balance with the spout for aesthetic reasons.
- Through user research, we learned that steam would sometimes escape from the lid and unfortunately heat the handle, so we added a silicone seal to minimize any unintended heat transfer and keep the kettle safe and easy to use.
- Large, comfortable handle is angled away from the spout and is heat resistant and non-slip, even when wet
- Handle angle allows user to hold Kettle comfortably and without wrist strain, whether filled with water or nearly empty, by adjusting grip accordingly
- Whistle spout opens automatically when Kettle is tipped to pour – no awkward buttons or levers to press
- Wide opening on top of Kettle enables easy access for cleaning and can also be used as an opening to fill Kettle
The OXO Story:
In 1990, OXO staged a revolution (of sorts) by offering an easy-to-use, high-performing alternative to uncomfortable and ineffective kitchen gadgets. OXO’s innovative take on the traditional Swivel Peeler, complete with its pudgy black handle, raised consumers’ expectations of what could be expected from household products.
Today OXO offers over 800 products, each developed with a close (some might say “obsessive”) attention to detail. Our goal is to deliver products that maximize comfort AND performance, illustrating our mission to create innovative consumer products that make everyday living easier.
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