HOTPOD is the trading name of St. Ives Alternative Energy Ltd which is a small company based in St Ives in Cornwall in the far south west of the UK.
It was set up by Dan Harding and Lucy Aldridge in 2005 to make and sell the things Dan made as a Blacksmith and for Lucy’s work as a Yoga teacher. The unusual name came about because of Dans fascination with different alternative sources of energy and was the direction he wanted the business to head in. As it happens, it was the stoves which have kept him out of mischief for the last 10 years.
Dan grew up at at Pencarn Forge, his fathers blacksmith shop where his father (Dan snr or big Dan) still works and where Hotpod HQ still resides in the old workshop behind the Forge. In his teens he lived in an old VW van and worked just enough to spend his days surfing. The work he had grown up with was blacksmithing so thats seemed like the obvious way to fund food, fuel and boardwax.
These days he is still found either at the beach or in the workshop although the ratio seems to have switched a little.
Lucy is the other director of Hotpod although these days she has nothing to do with the stove side of the business and instead concentrates on her Yoga teaching, SUP (stand up paddleboard) instructing and the combination of the two, SUP yoga instructing.
She is also a sports and remedial massage therapist.
For more about Lucy why not visit her website www.lucyaldridge.com
Dan and Lucys first home together
Hotpod is a range of uniquely designed, extremely efficient yet incredibly simple wood burning and multi fuel stoves hand-built in Cornwall, England by artist blacksmith Dan Harding.
Hotpod stove origins
Dan has been making stoves from recycled materials since 1992, originally out of necessity, for heating his VW surf-bus in the winter. The design steadily evolved until in 2001 Dan made the gas bottle stove which all the Hotpods are copies of, for his and Lucy’s first house.
The Limited Edition
In 2005 Hotpod was born as Dan and Lucy got involved in BBC2’s experimental programme “How to pay off your mortgage in 2 years”. It was decided that Dan would make and sell copies of Lucy’s stove and turn it into a business.
In 2007, after the programme had finished, Dan and Lucy reinvested in the business in partnership with the programme’s presenter, business guru René Carayol, and started working on the Hotpod Unlimited, the cast iron version of the original Hotpods. The Hotpod Unlimited launched in 2009 and in 2011 was tested for full EN13240 Compliance and passed with flying colours and an amazing 81% efficiency. At the same time it was put forward for DEFRA exemption for use in smoke free zones and this was awarded in October 2011.
in 2012, a good friend of Dan and Lucy had just finished building his Cornish Lugger and was looking for a suitable stove. That search brought him to Hotpod HQ to see if Dan had any ideas. Dan found a piece of 200mm square tube under the bench and it was tried in place in the boat and was a perfect fit. A few weeks later, the original Nautipod was born. Dan realised the potential of the stove for use in spaces for which the Hotpod was too hot. Development was slow but after selling 11 prototypes from word of mouth it was finally ready for the world at the end of 2015.
The Special Edition
Still effectively a prototype, the Special Edition has been in production since 2010 but there have only been 5 built so far and they have all been red. They have not been offered for sale until now as there have been assembly issues with enamel chipping where parts fit together. Dan now has this issue fixed and they are now offered as part of the Hotpod range and can be almost any colour and can even be colour matched from a pantone number.