Kid Stuff

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by Kent Vining, Jul 11, 2020.

  1. Kent Vining

    Kent Vining United States Subscriber

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    Offered here is my paltry contribution to the collected wisdom. I did not find this stove in the Gallery, nor did a search of the site reveal any of these in posts.

    Because I use my vintage gear, I've been looking for a lighter weight period correct camp stove to replace my relatively heavy 1948 Coleman 530 (3.7# without fuel). Hunting through Evilbay I came across a listing for a "VINTAGE 1950'S MINI CAMPING STOVE, NEVER BEEN USED" The first pic here is the auction listing. It was $25 plus $11.75 shipping so the price was right.

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    It appeared to be a "stick stove" and I could read enough of the instructions to see that it could be used with "canned heat" (Sterno). Stick stoves are an excellent lightwieght option for backpackers. Also called "hobo stoves", they are basically cans with a hole in the side big enough to push thumb diameter sticks into a pile of burning kindling inside and holes in the top to promote air flow. They are lightweight to begin with and have the advantage of not requiring one to carry fuel. I have a couple of modern ones and when I use them, I just start breaking off twigs and sticks from trees, bushes, and deadfall on the trail for the last hour of my hike so that I arrive at the campsite with a double handful of kindling and fuel (even in wet weather, wood taken from standing vegetation is drier than that laying on the forest floor).

    Nobody else bid on it, so it was mine for the offered price. When I got it in the mail, I discovered that it was. in fact, a decent stick stove, but it was something else as well. The reverse side of the instructions, which was not shown in the auction pics, revealed that this stove is a Quaker Oats cereal premium.

    Back when I was but a little guy, cereal companies would offer free or low cost goods to children if they cut off the box top off the box and mailed them in to the company. Sometimes all it took to get the shiny thing was three or four boxtops, others it took a couple box tops and a minimal amount of cash, easily made by doing chores, mowing lawns, or delivering newspapers. This resulted in children asking for cereal not based on nutrition, or even taste, but on what was being offered for sale or free on the back of the box. It also resulted in my Dad saying "You don't need that stuff, its crap. Eat the corn flakes."

    The cereal premium in this case is part of the "Sergeant Preston Prospector's Camping Outfit" which consisted of a small vinyl 'Prospector's Tent" ($1.00 plus two box tops from either Quaker Puffed Wheat or Puffed Rice cereal, and was inded a piece of crap) and/or the "Prospector's Caming Stove" (which we are assured is "not a toy", and cost fifty cents plus two box tops), or both could be had together for the same two box tops plus $1.50, saving your parents the cost of two more boxes of Puffed Rice. Or, if you had a Dad like mine, another week of cornflakes and unfulfilled dreams.

    sgt_preston03.jpg

    We know the exact vintage of this piece because this premium was only offered in 1952. At the time of the offering, Sergeant Preston was a character in a popular radio program called "Challenge of the Yukon." Preston was a member of the Canadian Mounted Police and was always accompanied by his faithul, and often resouceful, malamute dog Yukon King. In episodes that took place in summer, they were accompanied by his loyal, and often resourceful, horse "Rex". In winter episodes, he had a loyal, and often resourceful, sled dog team led by Yukon King. They kept law and order in the Yukon of the 1890s, the scripts usually involving crimes committed by bearded men with French accents wearing knit caps with tassles and capotes made from 5 point Woolrich blankets. In 1955, the show made the migration to television as "Sergeant Yukon of The Mounties", and I have fond memories of watching it in syndication after school during my yoot.

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    The stove itself is actually a nice piece of kit. They told the truth about this not being a toy. Its a 5 1/4" diameter 5 inch tall can, with a 2" x 3 3/4" rectangular hole cut near the bottom, with a lid that has nineteen 1/2" diameter holes which snaps onto the top with a very tight fit. You can build a respectable cooking fire inside a can of that size, and feed it with sticks 1" to 1/12" in diameter fairly easily. It features an "oven" 4" in diameter and 4 3/4" high with ten 3/8" diameter holes in the side. This is to be used for heating canned food. Open a can of beans, rip off the label and use it as kindling to set the fire inside, place the open can on top of the stove, and the "oven" on top of it, and the can will heat to eating temperature in no time as the "oven" traps heat inside. The instructions also indicate that you can fry an egg or bacon on the top of the "oven" while your can of beans is cooking. It comes with a pair of tongs that allows you to remove the "oven" while hot once your canned food is done. Best part is, it weighs 10 ounces with all the components, just a shade under 3 pounds less than the Coleman 530.

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    One thing learned is that the size of the can I used for the above pics. Its tall enough to interfere with easy use of the tongs. But Beanie Weenies? This thing was MADE for Beanie Weenies, and soup can sized cans.

    Another thing the vendor got wrong is the description that the stove had "never been used". Pristine examples are brightly tinned, and the tinning on this one has been dulled and oxidized by heat, with a few rust spots evident which indicates its been used at least a couple of times.
    1952-camping-stove-quaker-puffed_1_23f5947a8a0321d2d63857c3c02f301c.jpg


    So, now I'm in a quandry. I normally have no compunction about using used camping gear of this vintage for the tasks for which it was designed. Most of it is bomb proof, especially when compared to modern lightwieght equipment. But here I have that, plus a collectible cereal premium, a market that's relatively vibrant when compared to vintage camping gear. I'm fairly certain its more valuable as a cereal premium than it is as vintage camping gear. I'm not sure what the stovie value of this thing would be given that its pretty much a "one off" item and not exactly swimming in the middle of the "mainstream" classic stove market.

    But, given that this thing is exactly what I'm looking for as a light weight vintage piece that can be used to make coffee and oatmeal in the morning and weighs dang near three pounds less than what I have been using, I think I know what I'll do. To expand its utility, I'll use spacers of some kind to allow the use of a Palco one quart pot and/or frying pan from the cookset I use. The pics below show 1/2" diameter nuts, but I can use tent stakes, small stones, or even medium diameter sticks on the lid to allow airflow under the pots. I also figure I will be able to use the "oven" to cook a biscuit or muffin in a cut down food can or single muffin tin.
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    I'd test this thing, but its 100 degrees outside in Texas right now, which means that playing with fire, or any other outdoor activity, is not on the list for this weekend. My guess is we'd get a 10 minute boil in a one quart pot, and probably less time to cook the contents of a can using the "oven." How long it would take to make a muffin for breakfast is up to conjecture.
     
  2. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Nice kit, nice write up.
    Is it used or not used?
     
  3. Kent Vining

    Kent Vining United States Subscriber

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    The oxidation and dulling of the tinning indicates that its been used, but the condition indicates that its not been used a great deal. For those reasons, I intend to use it in place of the 530.
     
  4. ROBBO55

    ROBBO55 Subscriber

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    @Kent Vining

    Wow! I think you covered just about everything in this excellent post. :thumbup:

    I seem to remember the TV series ran in Australia. :lol:
     
  5. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    Yup, done that.

    Beautifully researched and compiled piece. It should be in the Stove Reference Gallery in my opinion, much as the equivalent ‘time capsule’ of a small, simple stove with a fascinating historical context of the ‘Buzzard’ from East Germany merited. Christer? @Christer Carlsson

    ‘Buzzard’

    C46FB5CD-C377-48AE-AB79-3197A9883B81.jpeg

    John
     
  6. Harder D. Soerensen

    Harder D. Soerensen Denmark Subscriber

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    Great post and story - Thank you for sharing!

    - a lighter smaller stove than the 530 could be the Coleman M1942 MOD or an Optimus 8 or 99/Russian PT-1 - or a Jewel 34/steel fount ? - all being flame-plate burners.
     
  7. Kent Vining

    Kent Vining United States Subscriber

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    Thanks! I'll post in the Reference Gallery directly

    I had considered the 42 as it fits in with the "Army Surplus" ethos of the immediate post war period, and one of the reasons I in initially chose the 530. I generally use a 71D inside two Palco one quart pots when I want to save some weight, but that really belongs with the pre-war kit (although I dearly love it and regularly think of excuses to carry it). Coming across this stove was just kismet, I likely would have gone with another white gas stove of proper vintage had this not come along. The late 50s/early 60s were the dawn of the movement towards lighter weight gear with the publication of Gerry Cunningham's book "Lightweight Camping Equipment and How To Make It" in 1953. This stove is illustrative of that effort, although it predates the publication by a year.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2020