The Thermette was first invented in 1929 by John Ashley Hart and quickly became a cultural New Zealand icon. It found its true place in New Zealand’s history during the Second World War. For New Zealand soldiers fighting in the deserts of North Africa the Thermette became a standard and treasured piece of equipment and earned the nickname the `Benghasi Boiler’. Said to “boil 12 cups of water using a few twigs in five minutes flat” it was a hit with the soldiers.
The Thermette was the most successful of 32 different inventions Hart patented during his life and the design has remained virtually unchanged since. Consisting of a cone shaped chimney which runs through a water jacket, the tapered chimney causes the air and smoke to rise quickly. This creates an area of low pressure which rapidly draws in air to fuel the flames and create a lot of heat energy which quickly transfers to the water jacket. At the same time you can benefit further by cooking over the flame on top of the Thermette.
It was originally advertised with the slogan `the more the wind the quicker it boils’, indicating its usefulness in bad weather when other stoves might not work.
With is continuing popularity today it would seem the simplicity and usefulness of the Thermette looks likely to see it being used by campers, picnickers, trout fishers, outside workers and countless others well into the future.