The Man Behind the Storm Kettle

John Grindlay and the Storm Kettle

John Grindlay and the Storm Kettle

John Grindlay, the director of the Eydon Kettle Co Ltd popped into the Ethical Superstore office today.  The Eydon Kettle Co. Ltd are the manufacturers and Suppliers of the popular Storm Kettle.  We thought this a fine opportunity to seize John for a few moments and quiz his outdoorsy engineering brain on the history of the Storm Kettle, who he is and what he does.

Here follows a short informal interview with John, one of our new favourite people.  When he arrived this morning, he presented Kirsty and Vicky with jars of homemade cherry jam.  What a nice man!

Where did your inspiration for the Storm Kettle come from?

Well, I was fishing in Ireland in 1971 when I came across some Irish travellers who were using something very similar crafted from copper.  I borrowed one, liked the idea and set about modifying the design and finding a sensible way of manufacturing it in the UK.  The success and popularity of the Storm Kettle has grown from there.

How did people react to the storm kettle at first?

When I first showed my design of the Storm Kettle to a friend of mine, he said “John, I don’t know what it is.  It looks like an artificial inseminator for cattle!”

What’s the general view of the Storm Kettle now?

The storm kettle is really well liked by all outdoorsy types and are used all over the world.  The strangest delivery we ever made was to the Solomon Islands in Australasia, where the Catholic Bishop there was particularly keen on receiving the Kettles.  Unfortunately, the ship they were sent with had problems progressing through the Panama Canal and offloaded a number of containers, including one with our kettles on it.  The bishop was a significant figure in the Solomon Islands and specifically ordered aircraft to transport it, eventually arriving at its destination 1 day before its original and planned arrival date.  The kettles are used there now by remote islanders, who boil water in the kettles to purify it.

Tell us a bit about yourself.  What are your hobbies?

My main hobby is outdoor life.  I enjoy anything connected with the outdoors.  Twice a year I travel to Austria, to ski in the winter and walk and climb in the Summer.  That’s why I love the kettles, they’re ideal for those who love the outdoors.  I hate waste.  I don’t like to see food or packaging go to waste.  That’s another thing I love about the kettles, they accept nearly any waste as fuel; cardboard, offcuts of plastic, paper, twigs and so on.
I also don’t like to waste good fruit, and as it’s such a good year for cherries, (any cherry-tree owner will tell you,) I brought some homemade cherry jam with me to give you!

Any news on advances and changes in the Storm Kettle?

The Storm Kettle Sustainable Wooden Handle

Storm Kettle Sustainable Wooden Handle

Yes, we’ve recently sourced the handles from the Storm Kettle from a different supplier.  The new handles are made from offcuts of ash tree, sustainably sourced.  For every one tree that is cut down, three more are planted in its place.

Soon after our chat, John went on his merry way to deliver more Storm Kettles.  I think you’ll agree, he’s an interesting man with a great story to tell.

Do you own a Storm Kettle?  We’d love to hear your stories of where you’ve used it and what you think of it.  We think John Grindlay will too.

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