[British-style tea] What did Orwell mean?

Referencing the famous article "A nice cup of tea" by George Orwell[1].
What do you think he meant when writing that the teapot is best warmed by placing it on the hob?
Wouldn't it damage the teapot?
Note: [1]
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Dario Niedermann.              Also on the Internet at: 

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Reply to
Dario Niedermann
On 2015-03-17 11:42:22 +0000, Dario Niedermann said:
An old-style wood or coal fired stove was often constructed with the entire top surface as one large piece of cast iron. The fire would usually be the most intense off to one side where the firebox was, and the further you got from that side the cooler it became progressively. At the opposite side from the firebox the stove would be well below a simmer (say 70-80º C or so) so you could place things you wished to keep warm there.
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Reply to
Oregonian Haruspex

Interesting, thanks! I wonder if there is a way to reproduce this with a modern gas stove. I'm interested in this waterless teapot-warming technique, because I often want to re-warm a 'pot containing spent leaves from a previous brew, to which I'll add fresh leaves to make new tea. So that, in a way, the two teaspoons of spent leaves, already in, are "for the teapot" and one teaspoon of fresh leaves "for me".
Does anyone use this method? It seems to work, taste-wise, especially if the teapot hasn't gone cold.
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Dario Niedermann.              Also on the Internet at: 

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Reply to
Dario Niedermann
I don't think you could use it readily unless you kept the stovetop warm for a good time, say with a cast-iron pan that had been left at low heat for an hour or so.
I use a Chatworth "vitrified hotelware" pot so I don't have to worry about pre-warming the pot! I highly recommend them! --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Reply to
Scott Dorsey
snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) writes:
Are you saying that when you pour boiling water into the Chatsworth, the pot removes only a negligible amount of heat from the water?
/Lew
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Lew Perin / perin@acm.org 
http://babelcarp.org
Reply to
Lewis Perin
Right, the material is very very thin and so there is little thermal mass to take heat up, unlike a thick earthenware pot. And, unlike a thin porcelain pot, it won't crack from the thermal shock.
Now, the bad news is that heat loss via radiation is more significant than it is with a thick earthenware pot.
Hmm... you know.... you might be able to pre-warm a pot effectively by pouring hot water on top of it rather than inside it. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Reply to
Scott Dorsey
snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) writes:
That’s a well-known gongfu technique (using much smaller pots, of course.)
/Lew
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Lew Perin / perin@acm.org 
http://babelcarp.org
Reply to
Lewis Perin

That's what I was thinking: the thinner walls should provide less insulation.
Must keep into account heat loss from evaporation... I wonder if it would be significant enough to prove detrimental. Maybe not, if done repeatedly during infusion? Sounds like something I could experiment with.
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Dario Niedermann.              Also on the Internet at: 

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Reply to
Dario Niedermann

Following up on an old thread I started, just to report that I eventually found a way to pre-warm my teapots on the hob (aka gas stovetop).
I can finally follow Orwell's advice, thanks to a contraption called a "heat tamer". Many models are available: mine is a solid cast iron disc. I interpose this item between the teapot and my smallest flame at its lowest setting.
Now, the process isn't quick. It might take up to 10 minutes. But it allows for two things that are important to me:
1) I can finally steep in a finely pre-determined amount of water, since I don't have to pour out "some" from the kettle, for teapot warming;
2) I can warm a teapot that contains spent leaves, to which I'll add fresh leaves to make a new cup.
I've been subjecting my teapots to this treatment for more than a month, with no ill effects; so I just thought I'd pass this trick on to the group.
Cheers, DN
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Dario Niedermann.              Also on the Internet at: 

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Reply to
Dario Niedermann
My guess is that Orwell wasn't talking about a gas stovetop but a coal or wood-fired one. The hob then is just a metal plate on top of the firebox. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Reply to
Scott Dorsey

True, "hob" meant something different back then (as I learned from this very thread). The point is that a heat tamer lets me emulate that metal plate of old, using my present-day gas hob.
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Dario Niedermann.              Also on the Internet at: 

gopher://retro-net.org/1/dnied/ , http://devio.us/~ndr/
Reply to
Dario Niedermann

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