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Coleman Handy Gas Plant, No.457

Discussion in 'Coleman No:457' started by presscall, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Stu (loco7stove) helpfully posted a bulletin in the Auction Watch forum of a UK ebay listing for something described by the seller as 'Huge Coleman Stove', which turned out to be a Handy Gas Plant, model No.457.

    With no reserve price and no other bidder, I nabbed it for 99 pence plus £12 postage from Ireland.

    'Huge Coleman Stove' was a fair enough description in comparison to a Coleman (Canada) Speedmaster of 1938 vintage and a Coleman 502 Sportster from 1979

    1316123975-1.JPG


    The Handy Gas Plant stripped down - I couldn't fit the fuel tank in the photo

    1316123986-2.JPG


    The stove's missing the cast iron grate (pot rest) and a loop handle (bale) mounted on the burner.

    The handle and the stove's portability and independence from town gas or electric supplies is what made it 'handy' I suppose, capable of being lugged to wherever it was needed in farm or factory to heat large volumes of water, vats of chemicals or with a heat drum fitted, as a room heater

    1316124002-3.JPG


    Underneath the burner tray heat shield a substantial cast iron mounting plate screws onto a threaded spigot on the fuel tank

    1316124011-4.JPG 1316124021-5.JPG


    The cast iron fuel filler cap has a Coleman-pattern non-return valve built in and this particular example of the Gas Plant is equipped with a schrader valve to pressurise the tank using an automobile tyre foot-pump, or bicycle tyre pump at a pinch. It needs a new seal before I can get the stove running

    1316124035-6.JPG


    Again, the scale of the stove is massive, with a comparison of its fuel filler cap with a modern Coleman and a 1938 Speedmaster cap

    1316124129-7.JPG


    Generator tube, gas tip, guide spring and pricker rod from the Handy Gas Plant (top), a Coleman 502 Sportster (centre) and a Coleman 3-burner 'suitcase' stove generator and associated components (bottom)

    1316124150-8.JPG


    Though the Coleman suitcase stove generator is longer, the Handy Gas Plant's is of larger diameter, reduced at the gas tip end to take a gas tip that's compatible with the modern generator, though with a jet insert having a larger orifice than the 'suitcase' version

    1316124160-9.JPG


    The fuel/air valve is beautifully made. A sprung detent operating at a quarter-of-a-turn from fully off makes the starting procedure foolproof (and flare-proof) provided sufficient time is allowed for the burner to reach operating temperature before the detent is released and the fuel supply is turned fully on

    1316124186-10.JPG


    Some details of the fuel/air valve assembly follow.

    Taper threads on the inner concentric tube are a nice touch

    1316124204-11.JPG


    Fuel metering rod attachment detail

    1316124216-12.JPG


    1316124234-13.JPG
    1316124252-14.JPG 1316124270-15.JPG 1316124290-16.JPG 1316124308-17.JPG


    Fuel/air setting sequence from 'off', through 'quarter turn from off starting setting' to 'fully on'

    1316124330-18.JPG 1316124351-19.JPG 1316124372-20.JPG


    TO BE CONTINUED

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  2. itchy United States

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    Another very nicely presented post John.

    Have you ever met a stove you were unable to disassemble to its macromolecular components?
     
  3. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I don't think so, Itchy.

    Apart from a genuine interest in the details of construction, it's an obsession with safety too ...

    Coleman stove and Wile-E-Coyote moment

    ... and an opportunity to check and service or replace safety-critical components before firing it up, especially in the case of a petrol stove.

    On this Coleman the fuel tank's not holed or rotting from the inside (essential it wasn't) but the generator was coked up and wouldn't have worked properly, the fuel filler cap seal was absent and there's a load of cosmetic improvements I can get done more easily while the stove's in bits.

    I say "can get done" but probably won't for a while yet, since the temptation to fire it up is considerable.

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  4. mr optimus

    mr optimus United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi John what a brilliant score and For 99 pence is unbelievable i realy am surprised no one else has seen it
    And all so well done on a brilliantly documented break down of the handy plant i am realy looking forwatd to the next installment and seeing this monster in full flamae as all ways well done John
     
  5. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Thanks Brian. Making progress, but not ready yet!

    John
     
  6. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I've been trawling for information on the Handy Gas Plant on the Coleman Collectors Forum and found it a rich source, including this example:

    CC Forum post on Handy Gas Plant

    It's enabled me to date my HGP (exposure to the CC Forum environment has got me using Coleman collectors' favoured acronyms) to the 1930's based on the style of the pressure gauge it's equipped with.


    One of the links within that link has original servicing instructions reproduced in which is the best explanation I've yet read of what's going on during the Coleman 'Instant Lighting' sequence. I've highlighted a sentence which is just as true for a Coleman 502 from the seventies as this old-timer from forty years earlier - many's the time I've dawdled opening up the valve on my 502 and had it 'run out of breath' - especially when the air reserve is of a half pint volume as opposed to the one gallon on the HGP.

    When the valve wheel is opened one-quarter turn, as in starting position, the metering needle, which is slightly tapered at its lower end, still extends through fuel tip. Only a fine spray or vapor of gasoline can feed through tip while valve is in the “instant-lighting position" –opened one-quarter turn. The air pressure feeds through holes in outer fuel mixing just under valve body, to mix with this fine vapor of gasoline as it feeds through tip. This mixture of air and vapor then feeds through generator into burner casting in the form of a carbureted mixture that lights instantly with clear blue flame.
    Opening valve wide as possible pulls tapered needle entirely out of tip and permits gasoline to fill inner feed tube, thus automatically sealing off any further loss of air pressure. It is necessary, therefore, to open valve as wide as possible after burning about one minute on "instant-lighting position”, or there will be a rather rapid loss of air pressure from the tank out through the generator.
    In rare instances, gum and corrosion may collect on needle to the extent that gasoline won’t feed through tip at all with valve one-quarter open. The flame will then float away or lift up from the burner. To correct this condition, remove Instant-Gas Valve Stem from tank and scrape needle clean with knife blade.


    Notice too, that last paragraph about cleaning the fuel/air valve metering needle. Although it takes a bit more disassembly (valve held in wooden jaws in vice, fuel tank turned to loosen the joint - I'm talking small stoves here and not the HGP) it's such a basic and essential fix for those Fettling Forum posters who describe fuelling problems and hope that a few flushes of fuel might do the trick!

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2015
  7. toonsgt

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    I think that as long as you keep the tank rinsed and fresh fuel in it, you'll never have to remove that valve again. The generators on these are so easy to clean, you might consider using unleaded in it to keep from going broke filling it over there. Then you can just use the heck out of it and let it serve double duty as your lawn equipment gasoline storage. That way gunk won't have time to accumulate.

    Can't wait to see it running! They are mesmerizing to watch IMHO. Better than any Lava Lamp. HA!

    Mike
     
  8. geeves

    geeves New Zealand Subscriber

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    scape with a knife blade. Is the needle brass or hardened steel? Obviously not the ideal way if you want it to last another 80 years
     
  9. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    It's steel, but I agree that taking a knife to it to scrape it doesn't seem like a good idea!

    Robust times, so unlikely to say "take a little 00 gauge wire wool or very fine, preferably worn, emery paper ..."

    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  10. toonsgt

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    Remember, though that these were "in production" at the time and even then, Coleman did make money selling parts. Their service was top notch and nearly every hardware store in America (can't speak for Great Britain. I know they had production facilities there.) was an authorized service center. And that part probably cost 9 cents at the time, installed. But of course you're right. I wouldn't be scraping it today either.

    Ready for "FLAME ON" John? Or are you gonna do some paint and dress first?

    On lighting: The biggest mistake most folks make is to not open the fuel(in this case, the one on the generator) far enough and trying to "nurse it" until its generating. Better atomization is obtained at full on.

    Mike
     
  11. toonsgt

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    OOPS Again. Misread some literature a long time ago about Coleman. Their production facilities and and headquarters in CANADA were established to get into the British and other markets to get out of paying the steep tariffs in effect at the time. I learned something. So the day hasn't been a total wash. I have seen "Made in England" on Coleman Lantern globes though. Evidently this is a point of considerable contention. There ARE Made in England stamped Coleman product out there, but others think that may have just been a ploy to boost sales. I'm more confused than ever.

    Time for a beer,

    Mike
     
  12. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Fascinating stuff, Mike, and much appreciated.

    I'm keen to get it working before I think too much about the cosmetic stuff. A major shortfall is that it lacks its grate, so I'd best start looking for one, Stateside.

    I could paint the tank meanwhile and that would make it look pretty smart. 30's date prompts me to go for the blue and orange decal, so I'll get an order off for one of those:-

    HGP decal

    Thanks again, Mike.

    John
     
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  13. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Made some progress tonight.

    This generator valve body needed sorting. Probably a bit fussy of me, but that connector spigot should be at right angles to the body but was on a slant

    1316467963-21.JPG


    The clamping of the generator in the burner makes it easy to overtighten it and evidently it gets distorted when that happens. Fussy of me as I say, but it didn't take much to de-braze the joint and silbraze it afresh, ensuring that a good fillet of silbraze offered more reinforcement

    1316467981-22.JPG


    The clamping of the generator in the burner forces these two components tightly together to make a gas-tight joint

    1316467997-23.JPG


    Generator mounting arrangement

    1316468011-24.JPG 1316468029-25.JPG 1316468040-26.JPG


    With the stove assembled and pressurised, an air-leak was apparent at the fuel/air valve mounting bush, but it was easily re-soldered and another pressure test proved the repair was sound

    1316468080-28.JPG 1316468065-27.JPG


    Generator and fuel/air valve assemblies, cleaned up and ready to install

    1316468122-29.JPG 1316468142-30.JPG


    Though scruffy, the pressure gauge functioned and once installed, it was possible to get the needle to register mid-way - equivalent to around 25psi

    1316468163-31.JPG


    A succession of tank flushes with fuel (Aspen 4T) produced absolutely no sediment or rust, so a gallon of the stuff was poured in, equivalent to a half of the recommended fuel capacity maximum.

    The starting procedure was followed - a quarter-turn of the fuel/air knob to the detent, generator valve fully opened and the burner lit - perfect! A minute later, the detent could be pressed down on the fuel/air valve and the valve fully opened, the generator valve wheel then controlling the burner output.

    Though I knew the fuel tank was clean and I'd given the burner a good blast of compressed air, there must have been residual carbon in the burner, because it initially sent out showers of sparks

    1316468187-32.JPG

    It soon got into its stride though, powerful and controllable, an absolute delight

    1316468203-33.JPG

    1316468228-34.JPG



    I'm used to large roarer burners, such as this monster ...

    Heavyweight roarer burner

    ... but the Handy Gas Plant has the characteristics of a (very large) silent burner, much quieter than the roarers and delivering the heat over a much greater surface area.

    So, just some cosmetic tweaks to do - not least that missing grate - and a good many more test firings because, as Mike (toonsgt) said:-

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2015
  14. Wim

    Wim Belgium Subscriber

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    :clap: Funtastic stove John! :D/

    Best regards,

    Wim
     
  15. toonsgt

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    Awesome!!! Love those slit burners. Beautiful! Super job John. Coleman made some quality heavy duty, though not pretty, stuff back then.

    The control valve to burner is very similar to the connection on the 220 Slant lanterns. Seems to work, but you really scratch your head wondering what they were thinking. Super fix btw. That won't break any time soon.

    Don't know what you've done with the burner, but a tool for cleaning the slits can easily be fashioned out of sheet metal a few thousandths thinner than the gap. A putty knife may be just right. Just drag it through each one a couple times and blow it out. The sound of them burning resembles Darth Vader exhaling continuously.

    Another masterful job. Now you can just send it to me, since you only wanted the washers, right? I'll give you what you paid for it plus 5 pounds for your labor. Deal?

    HA!!

    Mike
     
  16. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Yes, I did that using the craft knife pictured, followed by a thorough blasting from a compressor. I guess the firing dislodged a bit of residual stuff but it wasn't for long, so the burner must've been reasonably clean.

    (I've re-enacted the process here for photos)

    1316540571-35.JPG

    1316540595-36.JPG


    I'd made sure the drain plug (to drain off fuel if the burner's accidentally flooded I gather) was freed up and the sump around it, which was where most of the crud had settled, was cleared out

    1316540626-37.JPG

    1316540648-38.JPG



    That's what the sound is! I was trying to place it, but you're right, Mike!

    "The Force" certainly is strong with this one ...



    British Pounds? Hmm, tempting ... but like you said, it's better than a lava lamp and that would be more than a fiver.

    John
     
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  17. toonsgt

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    I can't tell if you are pushing or pulling that knife, but a knife really isn't the best for that unless you are dragging it through with the blunt side first. The bevel will tend to compress the deposits into the sides rather than remove them. Because of the narrowness of the slits, you can't get a good enough angle of attack to scrape the walls with a sharpened blade.

    Mike
     
  18. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Pulling, blunt side first Mike.

    It had a cut-out in the blade (can't figure why it had that on the first blade of a break-off blade) which gave the bit doing the scraping a vertical angle of attack when the knife was drawn through the slots as in the 'action' photo (not a lot of action I'll grant)

    1316543676-39.JPG

    John
     
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  19. toonsgt

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    I take my "action" however I can get it.....
     
  20. mr optimus

    mr optimus United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi John a superb restoration through out the flame shots are out of this world espescialy the first pic while it was burninig off the access carbon
    These monster stoves/furnaces realy generate a lot of interest i wonder how it compares in the tea test, well done John on a great restoration and as usual very well documented thread :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
     

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