What are Hot Water Bottles?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 28 February 2020
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Hot water bottles are large rubber bottles "flattened" into an oval shape with a stopper on top that can be removed to fill them with hot water. They can be used instead of a heating pad for easing aches and pain, menstrual cramps, or to warm the baby's crib. In fact they can be used for anything a heating pad can be used for, and more.

Hot water bottles can be used in many instances where you may not want to use a heating pad, or can't. For instance if your child is in bed with an earache a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel will provide the needed relief without the dangers that an electrical pad might introduce. Hot water bottles can also be taken outside. Just heat up some water over that campfire, fill your bottle and place it under your jacket while you sip that hot chocolate!


Hot water bottles conform to your body and unlike a heating pad, you can squeeze a hot water bottle, hold it, or fall asleep and roll over it without concern about crushing or shorting wires. Many hot water bottles today come with washable fuzzy polyester covers in the form of teddy bears and other cuddly animals, perfect for packing in bed with your little ones. Even the family dog that has been with you for so many years can benefit from your placing a hot water bottle on her hips, legs or back when she gets a little sore.

The hot water bottles of Victorian times were earthenware with cork stoppers either shaped like jugs or flasks. They were used to heat bedding and might have been held in the lap for warmth but they weren't much good for cuddling or to lay on sore muscles. After Charles Goodyear created vulcanized rubber in the 1830's that could withstand heat without melting, the rubberized hot water bottle was not far behind. A Croatian inventor, Slavoljub Eduard Penkala (1871 - 1922) patented the first hot water bottle as well as the first fountain pen, named in his honor.

Hot water bottles don't present a fire hazard and they don't produce the electromagnetic current of a heating pad that some research suggests might be dangerous. They are the most natural way to deliver heat or even cold where it's needed most in the safest way possible. It's not unusual then that people have been using the trusty hot water bottle for so long and will likely be using it for many more years to come.

So get out that new hot water bottle in the shape of a teddy, fill his tummy with hot water, and let your little one who's home with a cold fall asleep with a warm little buddy in his arms. You might never get out the heating pad again!


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Post 2

Before we got a heating pad, the hot water bottle was my best friend when I had cramps. I don't know how I'd have gotten through high school without my hot water bottle!

I would heat the water in the microwave and then pour it into the water bottle. I'd wrap a towel around it, and it was usually good for two or three hours. Sometimes, that was long enough to ease the cramps, but sometimes, I'd have to go through the process again. It was never anything I looked forward to, but I sure was grateful for that hot water bottled since it was sometimes the only relief I could get and I had beast cramps.

Post 1

Hot water bottles are also good if you need to warm a pet's bed, without the current that bothers them, sometimes. Put a towel over it and you're good to go.

Before they had the rice and bean filled sleeves that you heated in the microwave and put on sore muscles, there was the hot water bottle. They were also good if you lived somewhere cold and had inadequate heat. People used to sleep with them at their feet to help ward off frostbite or they would put them in carriages in the winter! They have a long and helpful history.

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