Identifying and Valuing Optimus Camping Stove 'Prototype' Model

Discussion in 'Valuations' started by bibbishanks, Jun 30, 2019.

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  1. bibbishanks Guest

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    Hi everyone,

    My father bought this Optimus camp stove at an estate sale. The estate allegedly belonged to someone who was involved in developing MREs, but I've got no other information. The person who sold the stove said they believed it was a prototype, and the plain cardboard box it came in had "VERSION 5" written on it.

    I have no experience with camp stoves but I did my best to do my research--it looks an awful lot like the Hiker 111T model you have listed in your database but I'm honestly not sure. I can't find anything that matches the grill-cover.

    Brand new, original paint (dark brown) but doesn't have much branding or logos aside from "OPTIMUS" printed on the burner. There's also a valve that says "SWEDEN' on it too.

    Do I have an authentic Optimus stove on my hands and if so, what do you think it's value would be? Any information to steer me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated!

    More photos available upon request

    8dli0HI_d.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2019
  2. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    I'd hang onto that thing until all is made clear.....you just might have something there.

    Others with more knowledge will be along....
     
  3. CW

    CW United States Subscriber

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    Post all the photos it will help with identifying the stove correctly
     
  4. Spiritburner

    Spiritburner Admin Subscriber

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    I think you have something unique. Unique doesn't necessarily equate to big bucks though.
    Whether it's by Optimus, another company or individual using the Optimus stove & parts as its basis, remains to be known. Either way difficult to value. More pics would help. Some folk may be excited enough to pay a good price, other may not.

    @Staffan Rönn
     
  5. Blueflame111

    Blueflame111 United States Subscriber

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    Yes more pictures please
     
  6. bibbishanks Guest

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    Here are some more pictures. If there are any specific photos that might help, let me know what to take a picture of (again, no experience with camp stoves) and I'll happily snap a few more!

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2019
  7. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    Your photos aren’t appearing. Go to the “Upload A File” button at the bottom of the text box, and upload your photos (no third party hosting).

    Tony
     
  8. Christer Carlsson

    Christer Carlsson Moderator SotM Winner

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    I have uploaded the files to the site, so they are now visible.
    bibbishanks, please don't use 3rd party hosting, thanks. We have an excellent uploading system on the site, as Tony already mentioned.
    (The pics you had before wasn't showing at all for members here, since they were hosted at Imgur.)
     
  9. Spiritburner

    Spiritburner Admin Subscriber

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    Notion I've seen one before but can't pin it down.
     
  10. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi, looks like it is fitted with a tank pressure gauge and a “quick-lighter” pre-heater.
    I have certainly never seen one before.
    Best Regards,
    Kerophile.
     
  11. Simes

    Simes Subscriber

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    Has a certain military 'ruggedness' and over engineering about it.

    An interesting development prototype if that's what it is, and looks reasonably well engineered as well.
     
  12. cmb56

    cmb56 Sweden Subscriber

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    The features look little as the features of a Heinze/Geniol Dieselkocher for the Bundes Wehr.

    Can we guess that it might have been a prototype for a contract with the BW that Heinze won?
    Who knows?

    In any case an interesting stove.

    Michael
     
  13. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom Subscriber

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  14. Odd

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    My guess: Staffan Rönn - if anyone...
     
  15. Staffan Rönn

    Staffan Rönn Subscriber

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    Hi everyone,

    Well - that is a truly nice piece :thumbup:

    It would be interesting to know more details where this unit was bought to maybe guess better - USA?

    I have the following gut feeling on this unit from seeing the pictures:

    Sometime in the 1980's, the US armed forces research center in Natick outside Boston was working on developing a military multifuel stove by themselves ("MISS stove" - possibly multifuel individual squad stove). It was partly based on Optimus components such as the burner and the quick lighter. I don't have (as far as I know) any documentation on what this stove looked like exactly, but the one in this thread could well be a version from this project.

    When the final design went out for procurement tender, the contract was awarded to a US based company (south, Texas or so). There were - as always - biased terms towards domestic production. I believe Optimus (Sweden) submitted a bid too, but did not win. Anyhow - the US contractor that won could not manufacture the burners and some other parts and in the end the whole project collapsed as they could never fulfill any serial deliveries. So this US Military stove never went real other than as prototypes.

    In the aftermath, the Defence Logistics Agency in Richmond, VA, decided never to invent the wheel again, so they put out a tender for commercial stoves instead around mid 1990's. Contracts were awarded to both Coleman and Optimus. The Colemans were, I believe, the Peak 1. Optimus was listed with 111 Hiker, 8R Hunter and 10 Ranger. Optimus sold 10's of thousands of stoves, mainly 111 Hiker during a period of 2-3 years or so under this frame contract. Then orders dried out.

    Parallell to this the engineers in Natick were looking at evaluating and listing a new Squad stove. Colemans were not liked as they could not burn diesel or JP8 (jet fuel) efficiently. I was there working with this project for several years and sometime around 2001 or so they listed MSR Dragonfly and Optimus Nova as the two Natick approved squad stoves. Nova was sold in significant quantities especially during the Iraq war under this listing.
     
  16. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    I agree, you should hold onto this until you get more information.
    Unique may be valuable, or not. Wait until the cards are are in.
    Stick around here, and more members will share. That is a cool stove either way.

    MSR had a prototype for the MISS stove. Vapor Jet. Used JP8.
     
  17. Bibbishanks Guest

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    Hi there! Thank you so much for your response. This sounds about right--I'm from the US and my dad bought it in Massachusetts, around the Boston area. Such a cool insight to the possible history of this piece. If this is in fact the model you're talking about, what would be your best guess as to its value?
     
  18. Bibbishanks Guest

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    Thank you to everyone who responded to this thread! It's cool to see people who are so passionate about collecting. All your replies were so helpful in giving us a better understanding of what we might have on our hands.

    We'll definitely hang on to it until we have a bit more information. Feel free to post again to the thread if you have any more info, I'll be checking back.

    Cheers!
     
  19. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    I doubt if anyone could plausibly state a sound opinion of value. As Ross and Ken say, it may be unique, but unique may not translate into a special value. Though, of course, it might-- only an auction could tell.

    While it is a pristine beauty, it may be a one-off, and many collectors will be interested in an especially fine example of a production stove, particularly if it had limited circulation. But a prototype might excite avidity only in a very limited cohort.

    And of course if it is a 'solitary', then there is no auction or other sale history that would allow anything but pure guesswork as to value.

    Then again, an interested party may always come forth.
     
  20. Staffan Rönn

    Staffan Rönn Subscriber

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    It seems at least very probable that this is a prototype of the US Military MISS stove that never went into serial production. I don't know if there were many different versions of prototypes developed or what the difference between "version 5" and other versions could have been.

    I agree to what has been said before about value, it's not really possible to state. Even at an auction it could vary significantly depending on how many bidders there are.

    It looks like a really nice piece though and in very good state. If you can post more photos from all different angles bibbishanks, I'm sure we would all appreciate it. Maybe with time someone else that knows more will find this thread and add pieces of info.

    OT (sorry) note: @snwcmpr - the Vapore-jet stove from MSR was much later. It was developed in the early 2000's using a technology from a company called Vapore in the San Francisco Bay area. Really interesting and clever design using ceramic discs with different porosity that created a capilary force and turned the fuel into a mist which replaced the need for both pump and conventional vaporizing burner. What I have heard from military sources is that it did not really function outside of the lab environment as the ceramic discs clogged using crude fuels like JP8. As far as I know Vapore then decided to apply the technology in medical inhalers and similar things instead of outdoor stoves.