Electric hot water bottle

Selected because it is such a bizarre object. We would love to know whose idea it was.

Electric hot water bottle
Case number - PHSL : 3
An electric bed warmer in the shape of a traditional hot water bottle. It has an internal heating tube designed by Frank Stanley Spooner.
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DesignerUnknown - Wanted
ManufacturerRA Rothermel
Date1945 (circa) - Wanted
Dimensionslength 330 mm, width 200 mm
Materialsplastic, Bakelite, PF, phenol formaldehyde
Methodcompression moulded
InscriptionMoulded "BRITISH PATENT NO 561789 RA ROTHERMEL LTD"
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Electric hot water bottle PHSL : 3 How can such a lack of imagination bring such a smile to my face? Can you find whose sense of humour came up with the idea?


An electric hot water bottle made by Rothermal Ltd who were a ‘Maker and importer of radio and electrical components and sound apparatus, of Kilburn, London’, and were part of the Rothermal Corporation. See - http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/R._A._Rothermel The bottle has the GB patent number 561789 moulded into the neck. This patent was taken out on February 22nd 1943 by Frank Stanley Spooner Wates. His patent is entitled ‘Improvements in and relating to electric heating devices applicable for bed-warming and the like’ See - http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?FT=D&date=19440605&DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&locale=en_EP&CC=GB&NR=561789A&KC=A&ND=4 This product contains asbestos.


Brilliant, Ian and thank you. Have you come across Frank Stanley Spooner Wates before? Can we be confident that he is the designer?


The real thing looks like this:


I have never heard of Frank Stanley Spooner Wates before - but it is a great name. I'm pretty convinced that the patentee is generally the originator/inventor/designer of the product. On 15 Apr 2014, at 17:36, Susan Lambert wrote:


Yes, a wonderful name, but he's the patentee of the the heating tube rather than of the exterior of the bottle that looks like squidgy rubber but is actually hard phenol formaldehyde, isn't he?


Spooner Wates’s patent only relates to the electrical heating element. The Bakelite bottle is not patented.


No, not patented - but someone came up with the idea. How can we find out who that was?

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Case notes

Susan Lambert's picture

Electric hot water bottle: Case PHSL : 3

What a maveric idea. Who's was it?

Frank Stanley Spooner has a fourth name: Wates


Congratulations to Chief Agent Ian Holdsworth, who has found the patent for the internal heating tube.  It was taken out by Frank Stanley Spooner Wates on 22 February 1943.  You can see it in the evidence locker.

We still want to know who designed this hard bottle to look like a soft rubber one. Can you help?