Paper Bag Makes Emergency Kettle for Heating Water (May, 1931)

Paper Bag Makes Emergency Kettle for Heating Water

THE next time you want some hot water, and have none on tap nor any kettle to boil it in, try this simple little stunt. Simply obtain a paper sack made from fairly thick paper, fill it with water, and hold over a gas jet or burner for a few minutes. Although it seems impossible, the water will quickly come to a boiling point, and the bag will not burst out in flames because the water immediately conducts all the heat away from the paper.

You will find this little stunt particularly helpful when you have to put up at some small country hotel that does not provide running hot water. When shaving time comes, simply procure a bag, and the hot water will soon be forthcoming.

10 comments
  1. Scott B. says: September 27, 201110:50 am

    What could go wrong?

  2. Mike says: September 27, 201111:08 am

    I remember boiling water in a paper cup… and being amazed that it worked.

  3. Don F says: September 27, 20111:43 pm

    An old Boy Scout trick; we also boiled water in paper cups in our campfires. Then in college, the chemistry prof wowed all the non-scouts by boiling water in a bag or paper cup over a Bunson burner. It was old hat to me by then . . . .

  4. Hirudinea says: September 27, 20112:05 pm

    Gives a whole nre meaning to “Tea Bag”!

  5. Christopher says: September 27, 20117:53 pm

    At scouts, after boiling water in a paper cup, did you cook eggs and bacon in a paper bag over the fire? Yum, yum.

  6. Don F says: September 28, 20113:53 am

    BOILED eggs and bacon?? Not so yummy.

  7. Stephen says: September 28, 20115:06 am

    We did this as an experiment in school over a Bunsen burner. The problem is, as one of my classmates discovered, that if you don’t take care with the paper bag/basin and it comes to pieces, the water runs down and puts the gas out.

  8. LightningRose says: September 28, 20118:16 am

    I’m surprised that gas lighting was still so prevalent in 1931.

  9. Mike Brown says: September 28, 201110:59 am

    > An old Boy Scout trick; we also boiled water in paper cups in our campfires.

    Of course, it was always amusing when the Scout decided to use a plastic cup or a wax-coated paper cup…

  10. Andrew L. Ayers says: September 28, 201110:52 pm

    @LightningRose: It doesn’t surprise me; in the USA, electricity was still a fairly “city affair” type of thing into the 1940s in some rural areas (notably TVA territory). I would imagine it to be similar (or possibly worse) elsewhere in the world at that time…

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