An oven glove, or oven mitt, is an insulated mitten that's usually worn in the kitchen to protect the wearer's hand from hot objects like ovens, oven shelves & racks, stoves, barbecues, hot foods (e.g. baked potatoes), cookware etc. Oven gloves can protect the hands against heat but only for short periods of time. Fabric gloves consist of heat insulation surrounded by cotton fabric, usually with a decorative pattern. Newer type oven gloves are made from silicone instead of fabric, and this makes them both water- and stain proof.
Since oven gloves protect your skin from burns, they must be used properly to be effective. Gloves should only be used when completely dry. They are not a permanent protection against heat which means they can only be used for short periods at a time. The gloves should not come into contact with heating elements, gas flames or similar sources of ignition or high temperature. Note that fabric gloves will not protect you from scalding hot liquids. (In fact, they may actually cause more severe injuries because the heat is actually in contact with the skin for longer - when oven gloves are wet, they are difficult to get off quickly.)
Silicone oven gloves are extremely effective and allow you to grasp much hotter objects than conventional cotton insulated gloves. However, they are extremely inflexible, and using them is like typing with boxing gloves.
Addendum: Since the original article, I have found these mini-silicone oven gloves (see picture on right). They are good for pots, but don't provide good protection if your hands are inside a very hot oven. (Cost - a few pounds from Morrisons).
If you are prepared to fork out £29, then Danish company Eva Solo has taken the basic oven glove to the next level. This is a corrugated silicone, heatproof, dishwasher-proof, bacteria-resistant, potholder that also protects your hands from the hot pots. Perfect for anyone who doesn't like the lumpiness of oven gloves and who tends to grab a tea towel in a hurry.