When we hear "Kickstarter" we think of wholly original product designs like Scott Wilson's TikTok/LunaTik or Studio Neat's Glif. Devin Montgomery's Backcountry Boiler is the first project we've seen that takes a product already on the marketplace and tries to improve it without changing the overall design.Remember the Kelly Kettle, the water-boiling camping thermos with a hollow conical fire chamber? Montgomery's Backcountry Boiler is essentially the same design, albeit in a shorter and slimmer form factor and with a silicon stopper rather than a cork one. Given that the Kelly Kettle is currently being produced by the fourth generation of Kellys associated with the kettle's design, we didn't realize this was even legal.
The Kelly Kettle design The Backcountry Boiler design
The Backcountry Boiler design
Montgomery states that the design has been around "for a long time" in several different cultures, though he neglects to mention that Kelly Kettles currently sells the object in question. This raises some thorny questions about what people can do with Kickstarter.
What do you think? Is Montgomery's refinement of the design a valid and distinct update, in the way that car manufacturers continually refine the automobile, or is it too close for comfort? We're curious to hear the design community's thoughts.