Companion Heaters Pty Ltd

Discussion in 'Manufacturers' started by abbahco1, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

    Aug 17, 2007

    Companion Heaters Pty Ltd By Dr Peter Watchorn

    As an ex-pat Aussie, I own a number of Companion stoves. A vintage WWII instruction booklet "The Story of the Companion Stove" explains how the war situation had isolated Swedish ports from British shipping (including Australia, still, despite Federation in 1901, a colony) and "the lack of stoves and blowlamps (in Britain and the colonies) quickly became irksome". It also indicates that the firm of Max Sievert (Svea) licensed the patterns to the firm "Companion Heaters" for manufacture in Australia from around 1939.

    The pamphlet goes on to reveal that the contractual obligation (to make a stove exactly to the Swedish pattern) has been "faithfully honoured, and the stove is offered with some pride. It is entirely Australian in materials and workmanship...."

    Actually, Companion products were made in Melbourne. I would also add that the Companion stoves were perhaps the best made of any, including the Swedish products, and it's rare that you will find a Companion stove with re-soldered joints or legs - it was a beautifully produced stove. After the second world war, the burners were, with increasing frequency, supplied from Svea in Sundbyberg, Sweden.

    The Companion stove retained the model designation of the Swedish prototype (No:1 roarer, No:5 silent).

    Companion Range (L.Langley)

    Companion produced the kerosene domestic models No:1 and No:5 (which were the patterns most commonly imported into Australia from Sweden), and a replica of the Svea No:155/6 range (which could be bolted together to make a double burner stove).

    Companion were a little casual (perhaps an example of Aussie practicality?) about assigning model numbers (no number was stamped on the tanks of any of the Companion products) - so the No:1 was distinguishable from the No:5 only by its burner. Occasionally the tank bore both the Companion name and Svea logo.
    Companion No:5 The box label often had a blank space left for the model number (which was perhaps added by the dealer, depending on whether the customer purchased a silent or a roarer).

    I saw my last new Companion kerosene stove (they continued manufacturing bottled gas products) in an Australian hardware store in about 1973, but they lingered on in Army Disposals stores for another 5 years or so.
    The sheer number and diversity of manufacturers of kerosene pressure stoves (including Companion) is yet more proof of the once indispensable role which this ingenious invention played in the life of nearly every household. It's good to remember that they were not always mere collectibles.

    Companion No:5 (A.White)