Saturday, December 11, 2010

Found: A Great Tea Kettle... or Not

Finally, after days of online hunting (and whining about it and then whining even more), the Proper Bostonian has discovered an ideal kettle:

This is the Simplex Beehive kettle, in chrome (it also comes in a copper, but who wants to polish copper?). It's extremely well made, holds plenty of water, and seems unlikely to leak, fall apart, melt, explode, or burn me. Simplex kettles get almost uniformly rave reviews from their owners.

And since looks matter, it's far less stern and no-nonsense than their other model:
I find this Beehive model smart, interesting, and attractive — in a slightly goofy way. It seems that I'm drawn to similar qualities in kettles and friends. (I also avoid people who leak, fall apart, melt, explode or burn me.)

Anyway, I really want this kettle as a replacement for my current deathtrap/Bodum. As long as the lid stays when I'm pouring, and the whistle doesn't get too hot, I could be in business, brewing pots of butterscotch tea for breakfast and filling my fuzzy hot-water bottle for our drafty bedroom.

Hooray. Time to get online and whip out the credit card. But, no. Wait....

Bad news: this kettle of my dreams is apparently unattainable. The Simplex company, in England, which had been in the kettle business since 1903, abruptly closed its doors this summer, with no explanation. No one knows if they will ever start production again. And wise consumers have already snapped up their stock of chrome kettles.

Isn't that always the way? It certainly is for the Proper Bostonian. She'll find some perfect thing, but purchasing becomes a seemingly hopeless quest. Often it's her own fault: she was either too cheap or ambivalent when it was the right time to pounce. But this time, it's just bad luck. She wants a Simplex; Simplex is gone with the wind.

But the PB is stubborn, resourceful, and a natural-born retail maven. If anyone can dredge up a Beehive, she can. And she'll keep you posted. Fingers crossed.


  1. luck here.

    1. We will be going into production making a new beehive kettle look on Richmond kettles web site

  2. I have also been searching - same experience. Very VERY frustrating.


    Hi a British consumer here, I too love Simplex, wanted a number 8, so phone the company, they are in my home town Birmingham, then shock horror,found like you,out of business. So I spoke to a lovely lady named Lisa, she works for the company that have bought up Simplex and tell me they hope to start production again in March this year, she is sending on all requests and invoices from customer, so you could drop her a line and maybe like me, she might have one you would like from the very few in remaining stock. I managed to get a no 6, no numer 8 sadly, but still happy to have a Simplex beauty. So drop her a line on, you may be lucky.

    Regards Shelley

  4. Dear Shelley, Just wired money for one No.2 and one No.6 minis. Never used Western Union, so I'll be glad when the transaction finishes, but thanks for the lead.... I think! I will let you know if it works!

  5. Hi, Im so glad i found this blog. I have 1 Chrome gas Simplex and was hoping to get a brass one but found out the company closed. I have emailed the lady you mentioned in this blog so i am hoping to at least get on a mailing list that lets me know when they will be making some more. I hope the new people continue to make these great Kettles to the current standards. I live in Australia so getting one of these Kettles was hard enough but they are well worth the effort of finding one.

  6. I, too, researched just which tea kettle to purchase only to arrive at Sur La Table and be told they didn't carry them anymore. "But wait! I think we have one in the back." I was SO LUCKY; it just happened to be the exact one I wanted. I'd like to buy another for a friend, so I'm hoping they get back into production soon. The Simplex is the best tea kettle I've ever owned.

  7. They are making them again. You can order them from


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