History of the Optimus No:111 - work in progress.

Discussion in 'Optimus No:111 (all variants) + later Hiker & Hike' started by parramethtrol, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. parramethtrol

    parramethtrol Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Messages:
    2,727
    This article is a 'work in progress' & a result of collaboration between many CCS members studying the paperwork & stoves they come across. It is based on the best information at the time & will be edited as new information comes to light. A 'feeder' discussion for this article can be contributed to here.
    Wherever possible facts & theories will be qualified.
    ---------------------------

    1289521593-111_1952.jpg

    The above extract comes from this 1953 Optimus brochure heralding the new No:111. This was the successor to the No:11. Like it's predecessor the first 111 was dual-fuel, burning both gasoline & paraffin using the same jet. What appears to be the major change is the addition of a self cleaning device to the burner. The brochure states the tin box is japanned in green & that the tank is available nickel plated or polished brass.

    The illustration shows the earlier 11 & is the same as used as early as a 1939 catalogue.

    The text also looks to be a clumsy re-hash of the 11 description from the same catalogue. There is the possibility that cosmetically the first 111's were the same as the 11 but I don't think so. The illustration shows a jet pricker clipped to the lid - something the new 111 would not need given it's built-in cleaning needle. The text also states the stove to be supplied with 3 cleaning needles - another error surely?

    001.jpg
    The first variant of the No:111? (photo:Brassnipplekey)

    The first 111 shared the same dark green colouring as it's predecessor. The case was distinctive in that the catch on the tin did not have a locating hole like later models, the catch locating over the lip on the lower half of the tin.

    004.jpg
    The early catch (photo:Brassnipplekey)

    The windshield on the first 111 featured a extended lip through which the priming spirit could be poured into the spirit-cup.

    002.jpg
    Windshield (photo:Brassnipplekey)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  2. Svea 121

    Offline
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2012
    Messages:
    168
    Dear Sir;
    I have a 111B which say's for gasoline on the lable. I use white gas in the US and low grade unleaded overseas. Do you think I can burn Kero in my stove?

    Best
    Svea 121
     
  3. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark SotM Winner Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,285
    Hi, SVEA 121,

    Welcome to CCS. The 111B was meant to burn only Coleman fuel, and other Naptha-based similar fuels, like panel wipe, MSR fuel, and Blazo, etc.. Because your burner only has two "arms" on it, it will not maintain enough heat to reliably and easily burn kerosene, which is a much heavier fuel than Coleman fuel, and has a much higher flash point. Whist the "B" version of the 111 was designed to burn only Coleman fuel, etc., the venerable 111 was designed to burn kerosene, and other heavier fuels. It's burner has four "arms", whilst yours only has two. You can also seek out a 111T, or 111C, which both burn Coleman fuel, as well as kerosene, and Meths (with the proper Meths jet, and a proper air restrictor). Trying to burn kerosene in a 111B is not wise, and an exercise in futility, for the most part. I hope that answers your question, Sir, but if not, ask again, and more folks can offer their thoughts. If I had to choose between the 111B and the 111, I'd take the later, just because of it's ability to burn kero, and also because that entire stove family was originally designed to do so. The 111B came along to satisfy those in the US who did not use kero (back then) and used Coleman fuel. But, the actual design of the 111 stoves require 111B owners/users to be very careful in doing it. IF your NRV gets hard, which all of them do over time, you will need to replace it, and also your fuel cap gasket, before continuing to use your stove. Not doing so will very probably result in a leak, which, with Coleman and other such fuels, can be exceedingly dangerous, and harmful to both life and property!!! I cannot stress this important fact strongly enough, Sir, so please give it deep consideration, and if you do not have the skills to remove and rebuild your NRV and other such fettling tasks, please learn them. Actually, you have several CCS members to do not live too far from you, any of whom would probably be very happy to help you, including me. So, give this some thought, and get back to us. Thanks for reading my comments, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc (who loves his 111B stoves, but uses them with extreme caution and frequent maintenance!)
     
  4. RonPH

    Offline
    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,870
    Yeah, just call Doc as he does stove house calls :lol: for sick stoves and sometimes does pro-bono.

    Ron
     
  5. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark SotM Winner Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Messages:
    18,285
    Hey, Ron,

    Sounds like you are volunteering to come and be my Stove Nurse!! :shock: :shock: :lol: :lol: Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
     
  6. RonPH

    Offline
    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,870
    Hey Doc, well, if I have the time, I'd love to be a stove nurse 1327092085-smiley-thumb-up-thumb749775.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  7. hikin_jim

    Offline
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    4,519
    Does anyone know when the 111B was introduced to the US? I've been looking through some of the various posts here, but my search skills apparently aren't up to snuff.

    Presumably a few years would have transpired between the introduction of the original 111 and the American debut of the B version of the stove.

    Mine is in a labeled (not embossed) light blue case, so I assume my 111B is much newer, perhaps 1970's, but that is just a guess. And I seem to recall that the 111B was sold through the early 1980's before being replaced by a similar stove that used a Nova burner.

    HJ
     
  8. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Messages:
    13,103
    Location:
    Far North of Scotland
  9. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Messages:
    13,103
    Location:
    Far North of Scotland
  10. hikin_jim

    Offline
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    4,519
    Thank you, Kerophile. Particularly that second link was useful. I wish that i had read it before I started fettling the day before last. I used the slot that looked perfect for a screwdriver... and split that portion of the NRV. :( Fortunately, @hikerduane had another and was kind enough to let me have it. My stove is working now.

    I had the moulded pip, so perhaps mine is from the 1970's.

    HJ
     
  11. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Messages:
    13,103
    Location:
    Far North of Scotland
  12. hikin_jim

    Offline
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    4,519
    @kerophile,
    Thank you very much for your interest. This 111B is of particular interest to me since it is a find "in the wild," so to speak. It's easy enough to find what one wants on eBay, provided one is willing to pay the price, but this 111B was found in a consignment shop in the small town of Bishop, California, which is about 475 km (about 300 miles) north of here. I also had fun talking him down from his price of $75 to I think $65 and I got him to throw in a short Primus 71 also.

    This 111B had a moulded pip in the NRV whose "tail" fit into the spring.

    Photos:
    Exterior of case.
    IMG_7706[1].JPG

    Label, what's left of it. I can make out what's left of "Optimus" and what appears to be (presumably) the last two digits of "111" as well as a "B".
    IMG_7707[1].JPG

    Closure detail.
    IMG_7708[1].JPG

    Wrench
    IMG_7709[1].JPG

    Interior as a whole.
    IMG_7710[1].JPG

    Tank cap detail.
    IMG_7711[1].JPG

    Burner detail.
    IMG_7712[1].JPG

    Burner sans flame ring and windscreen. Only two tubes, so clearly a gasoline/petrol type burner.
    IMG_7715[1].JPG

    Chain detail.
    IMG_7717[1].JPG

    Attachment to spindle, detail. One can also see some markings on the inside of the control wheel. It looks like a star, the number 41, and a "K". IMG_7718[1].JPG
    Control wheel, detail.
    IMG_7719[1].JPG

    Flame ring, detail. It simply is marked "SWEDEN" in two places, 180 degrees opposite one another.
    IMG_7720[1].JPG

    Windscreen and interior of tank cap.
    IMG_7722[1].JPG

    Hinge detail
    IMG_7723[1].JPG

    Pump attachment and knob detail.
    IMG_7726[1].JPG

    Heat shield and tank attachment, detail.
    IMG_7727[1].JPG

    Thanks and regards,

    HJ
     
  13. Jack Enright

    Offline
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    Messages:
    150
    Hi, Jim

    I was just looking at the moulded red control knob; I think that letter is actually an 'R', rather than a 'K', as you can just see the top right section of it is curving to the left, rather than continuing straight out.

    The marks may be those put on the tool (mould) used to make the parts, so that - if you have a quality control issue, you can tell which tool, or which part of a tool, is turning out dud parts.

    If you look at this picture of a finished moulding (from Wikipedia), you can see the sprue - the channel through which the plastic flows in order to reach the part of the tool which shapes the required component.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprue_(manufacturing)#/media/File:Sprue.JPG

    In some tools I've worked with, they made as many as 20 - 30 items per fill of the tool, and the tool itself was made up of dozens of precision ground blocks of steel - some fixed and some sliding to eject the finished parts, locating pins, ejector pins and so on - all of which were subject to general wear and tear. The completed tool is a bit like one of those 3-D Chinese puzzles made of wood, so if a tool is giving problems, being able to identify which part of the tool is the cause saves the toolmaker a lot of time - and the company a lot of machine downtime and production loss.

    This picture shows a relatively simple tool, used to make plastic mouldings:

    http://www.avinjection.co.uk/images/service/plastic-injection-design.jpg

    As even a few thou of wear on the edge of a critical component can cause problems, you can imagine just how difficult and time-consuming it would be to pinpoint the problem without the identifying marks on the mouldings.

    Many thanks for posting the photos, Jim; despite the wear and tear and corrosion, they do show up, very clearly, the quality and craftsmanship which went into those stoves, don't they? I mean, just look at the attention to detail on the chain, so that users didn't gouge grooves in their skin - a real risk, as skin gets dry, brittle and easy to damage in very cold weather.

    With best regards,

    Jack
     
  14. hikin_jim

    Offline
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    4,519
    @Jack Enright

    I'll check when I get home tonight, but you may well be correct. My eyesight isn't what it used to be. And that makes complete sense that the markings would be used to trace problems.

    Indeed they do. I'm laughing at myself because I'm already inordinately fond of the stove, but it's nice to hear that other people see, as do I, that there's more here than just another camp stove. It is indeed a classic. Brass = class. :)

    HJ
     
  15. Primus 96

    Primus 96 Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    370
    The idea of the complete, ready to use stove began in the 1920's with the Campingo.
    The 111 looks to be much more compact: Never encountered a Campingo 1. They look like something industrial in nature.
    I thought that the original roarer 111 in full flow was the king of loud, as though you were boiling a kettle on a Pratt & Whitney jet engine.
    Apparently not. The new variant with the Nova burner could re-define 'loud'.
     
  16. tretrop

    tretrop Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Sweden
  17. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Messages:
    13,103
    Location:
    Far North of Scotland
    Hi @tretrop . It is interesting that the illustration used for this 1952 “NEW” Op. No. 111 has the air pump mounted on the top, rather than on the end of the tank. It looks like they have just used the illustration for the earlier Op. No.11.

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/1952-optimus-paraffin-gas-range-brochure.122/

    However, this 1953 Optimus Stove brochure also introduces the Op.111 but has the correct end mounted pump in the stove illustration:

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/1953-optimus-camping-stove-brochure.121/

    The NEW Op.111 is listed as burning either kerosene or gasoline using the same burner. The specialised gasoline burner and Op.111B came along later.

    The 1956 Optimus catalogue shows that both the kerosene Op.111 and gasoline burning Op.111b roarers were available by that year:

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/1956-optimus-catalogue-1600.37610/

    The first Op.111 with a silent burner option, the Op.111/7 appears in this 1959/60 catalogue.

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/1959-60-optimus-brochure.9087/

    We seem to be developing a timeline for the Op.111 stove, thanks to the additional catalogues that are now available on the CCS Site.

    Best Regards,
    Kerophile.
     
  18. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr SotM Winner Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    16,200
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  19. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,220
    Location:
    ILLINOIS, USA
    @tretrop,
    Thank you. It has come up and from what we've seen
    yes it is most probable that the 1st year the 111 was offered was 1952.

    @shagratork Nov. 2016 "I think that the Optimus 111 was introduced in 1952" link

    Source Apr. 2017, 3 comments:
    @Ray123 : "In this 1952 catalog it describes the 111 as the NEW camp stove developed by clever engineers. Maybe it was the first year it was offered. Without a time machine who can know exactly."
    FYI still true today we note,
    *what is lacking is "Optimus" documents pre-52 and anything 1940s.

    Spiritburner [re 1952 brochure] "The 111 is so new they hadn't got around to doing a new illustration!"

    I added: "The "NEW" in '52 is convincing".
    thx omc

    tag *FYI @Staffan Rönn
     
  20. tretrop

    tretrop Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Sweden