The Corpus Callosum

My Ikea Teakettle

Since I started a little self-disclosure yesterday, I am going to
continue that theme.  Very few people know this about me.
 The fact is, I have congenital amusia.  No, that
does not mean I am “easily amused.”  It means I am tone deaf.

A couple of days ago, I heard a piece on NPR.  This was one of
those bits where they record people’s stories.   The story was
about a woman who said that some old teakettles had harmonica reeds to
make the whistling sound more musical.  She was thrilled to
get a teakettle that had three holes in the cap, so that the whistle
was not just a whistle, it was a musical chord.  

They played a recording of it.  The sound drove me nuts.
 It also sounded familiar, because I have a teakettle that
does the same thing.  It is an Ikea kettle.  The
visual design is wonderful, but the noise is maddening.  I had
no idea it is supposed to be pleasant.  To me, it sounds like
a fire alarm.

In fact, when I first heard it, I was as bemused as I was annoyed.
 How could something with such an elegant
design have such an awful sound?


(Price applies for this product as per description
when the water is boiling.
1.5 l
Designer: IKEA of Sweden



  1. #1 Scott Belyea
    March 1, 2007

    To me, it sounds like a fire alarm.

    Hmmmm … you do know that it is an alarm?? 🙂 “Take me off the heat and I’ll stop screaming!!”

    Sorry … it’s been a long day …

  2. #2 susan
    March 1, 2007

    Mine has three holes but it never whistles. I’ve almost boiled it to bits on several occasions. If you’ll excuse me, I have to look up “phenolic plastic” now.

  3. #3 Joseph j7uy5
    March 1, 2007

    Phenol is just benzene with an hydroxyl group stuck on it. It is a chemical that forms the basis for many plastics. Compounds derived from phenol are called phenolics.

    Phenolic plastic is plastic that is made using a phenol-type of compound, in which a bunch of little units are strung together.

  4. #4 Janne
    March 2, 2007

    The name “Trudelutt” means something like “small ditty” or “quick melody” in Swedish. A pretty clear clue (if you know Swedish, of course, but don’t we all?).

  5. #5 stumpy
    March 2, 2007

    A friend of mine is a super-taster — another congenital type condition — and he can’t stand bell peppers.

  6. #6 pndmnm
    March 2, 2007

    That’s hilarious — my friend has one of these, and the first time I heard it I absolutely had to get one, I liked the sound so much. It sounds like a foghorn to me.

  7. #7 Martin Price
    March 3, 2007

    On the subject of amusia, you may be interested in this item from the BBC . Click on Listen again to hear a thirty minute programme on amusia and its ophysical cause.

  8. #8 brooke
    April 24, 2010

    Only nine bucks new? Gee, I just bought this at the Goodwill for seven dollars. What a sucker I am.

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