Late Transitional Optimus 11

Discussion in 'Optimus No:11' started by Pinky, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Hi folks!

    Here's an interesting stove I was lucky to pick up recently.
    I have not done a thing to it yet, but it's near the top of the fettle pile!
    Though filthy, it's unmolested and I expect this one will clean up very well.


    1356918159-1_opt.jpg


    My other Optimus 11 is a bit battered, so I bought this one from Sweden to replace it, figuring I'd sell off the rougher stove. While waiting for it to arrive and fawning over the auction pictures, I noticed some very odd characteristics, leading me to think this stove is a bit more special than I'd anticipated. My suspicions were confirmed when it arrived.

    Before we dive into it, the earliest appearance of the Optimus 11 I can find is in this 1939 catalogue. from the CCS reference library.

    So it was produced from approximately the late 1930's until the introduction of the Optimus 111 in about 1952.
    Aside from some minor variations, there seem to be two distinct generations of the Optimus 11, right?

    The older ones with the patent on the lid, like this one.

    And the newer ones with the Optimus globe logo, like my slightly battered one:


    1356918169-2_opt.jpg


    I propose that there's a third distinct generation of the Optimus 11, this transitional one.


    1356918177-3_opt.jpg


    I believe the one featured in this post is a very late Optimus 11, among the very last of them produced, and somewhat of a missing link between the Optimus 11 and the subsequent 111. I also propose that this was the first appearance of the familiar Optimus 111 style case, still seen today with the Hiker +.

    Take a close look at the case.


    1356918185-4_opt.jpg


    See the rounded lips of the case halves? Similar to a 111, no?


    1356918193-5_opt.jpg


    On the older model, the edges are not rolled, and are of a thicker gauge steel.


    1356918200-6_opt.jpg


    Now compare the front of the cases, including the clasps.


    1356918208-7_opt.jpg


    See how the stamped louvers are gone, and how it uses an 8R style clasp?
    This style of clasp can also be seen on the earliest 111's, like here, here, and here, and also on my early transitional Optimus 111.
    You can read more about that stove here.


    1356918216-8_opt.jpg


    One of my favorite parts of the second generation Optimus 11's is the globe logo.


    1356918223-9_opt.jpg


    It's much nicer than the embossed 111 cases, and it's tough to capture it in a picture, but the globe stamping is actually convex! The downside of that fancy logo is that they don't stack well. See how it's domed and raised off of the case?


    1356918232-10_opt.jpg


    On the featured transitional Optimus 11, the globe logo is stamped flat on the case, like on the embossed 111's.


    1356918243-11_opt.jpg


    Now lets peak around the back of the case at the hinges.


    1356918252-12_opt.jpg


    1356918263-13_opt.jpg


    The older 11's hinges integrate the handle and are fully outside of the case.

    The transitional 11 introduces new hinges, which can be seen on the early 111's too, like on Motoshi's example here.


    Another shared feature is the access hole for the regulator. In my slightly earlier 11, a wide slot is cut.


    1356918275-14_opt.jpg


    But in the later 11, the familiar round regulator hole seen on the 111 has been introduced.
    In this picture it is of smaller diameter than my transitional early Optimus 111.
    You can see here that it is smaller than the early Optimus 111 as well.


    1356918286-15_opt.jpg


    The featured 11's case is very similar to the early 111's.
    The most significant differences I've noticed are the model number embossing on the case, and the spirit cup retainer.

    Model embossing on Motoshi's early 111.

    Spirit cup retainer on Motoshi's early 111.

    Now lets discuss the wrench for a second.


    1356918298-16_opt.jpg


    Mine was bought without a wrench, but I found a correct one on a New Zealand camping supply site for a modest sum.

    Earlier 11's used a different wrench, as seen here in the middle, but I believe these double open-ended wrenches were introduced late in the Optimus 11 production, and used until the early transitional Optimus 111's.

    You can see examples of this wrench with later Optimus 11's here, and here, as well as on both of my Optimus 11's.

    You can see examples of this wrench with early Optimus 111's here, here, and here.

    You can see examples of this wrench with early transitional Optimus 111's here, here, and here.


    Another odd feature of this stove is the pump knob.
    See how it's significantly smaller than both my other 11, and a 111's?
    Maybe it's shared with a small contemporary Optimus stove? I have no idea.
    The pump shaft is also brass instead of the earlier stove's steel shaft, and there are minor variations in the pump leather retaining nut.


    1356918311-17_opt.jpg


    With all that squared away, the only other similar stove I've been able to find is seen here in Motoshi's collection. It's also an 11 with rounded case lips, the 8R style clasp, and the flat Optimus logo. Curiously, his also has the small pump knob.


    Tangentially, another odd but relevant stove can be seen here, here, here, and here in Morris's collection. His must have been among the very earliest of the 111's, as it used the same 11 embossed case, but modified for the early 111 burner.


    Well, that was all terribly pedantic.
    Thanks for suffering through this post, and I hope that this has contributed something to the evolution of the 111!


    1356918325-18_opt.jpg


    I feel very lucky to have both of these in my little collection, and this new stove is high up on the fettle pile.
    I'll make sure to post pictures of the results!


    Happy stoving!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  2. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Oh! And here's a shot of the spirit cup retainer, clearly showing that this case is for an Optimus 11.

    1356921583-19_opt.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  3. teletim

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    Great stoves ,I love the early versions of the Op box stoves :thumbup:
    Hard to come by.
     
  4. Trojandog

    Trojandog United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Great post Pinky, and a lot of work gone into it. It's very helpful when a member shows differences between his stoves. Especially for people like me who sometimes have trouble grasping the subtle differences. The links were provided were also very helpful and much appreciated.

    Now all I need to do, is find me a No11 :) .

    Regards,
    Terry
     
  5. itchy

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    Nicely done. The attention to detail is much appreciated.
     
  6. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator, R.I.P. Subscriber

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    I totally agree - a great post highlighting many things of interest.
    This is the sort of post that is ideal for the archives and will be of use to many people who will be trying to research their 11 stoves.

    You certainly have me thinking about my No.11 stove - now if only I could find it . . . . . . :whistle:
     
  7. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Thanks gang!

    I'll try to have some flame shots for y'all this weekend!
     
  8. Lighthouse

    Lighthouse Sweden Subscriber

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    Hello Pinky,

    Sorry for using your topic for a question but it seems you know most about the Optimus 11. I need to replace the jet and have managed to taken it out but I can't insert it again... The opening is too narrow, no way I can get it in. It does also seem like no key was with the stove originally. I'd appreciate any answer and wish you a good day. :)

    Frank
    ______________

    Love any boxed stove..
     
  9. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Nice post Pinky.
    Great details as always.

    Frank, pictures would help, and may be best if posted in the 'Stove Forum'.

    Ken in NC
     
  10. Hessu

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    Hello all!

    New owner of Optimus 11 stove joins in. I have not owned stoves like this before, just happpened to buy this stove from my colleque and started to find information from the internet and luckily found this great forum :p

    Thanks to Pinky, I can see that this nice stove is same kind of late transition model like his and dates in to the early 50's, I suppose? Wrench is different to Pinky's, but I suppose this older model could be the original one delivered with this model.

    This stove of mine has been stored over 30 years and has not been used within 40 years. Anyway, I am going to use it as soon as I can find some information how to do it...

    1393876222-IMG_0849_a.jpg 1393876509-IMG_0851_b.jpg 1393876612-IMG_0850_b.jpg 1393876773-IMG_0852_b.jpg 1393877040-IMG_0855_b.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  11. Hessu

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    And it works! Couldn't wait any longer, drove to city to buy some purified gas (or what ever should I call it in English...), replaced tank lid's gasket with new, filled the tank, preheated with alcohol and ignited it :D/ And cooked a pot of fresh coffee for me and my wife, yes :!: Couldn't help to feel a childish enthusiasm with this and celebrated the moment by lightning my Savinelli Sienna ;)

    Pump is not working, I think I must replace the leather gasket, fortunately there are good instructions here for that, too. It was only +2 degrees Celsius outside while cooking and stove was working quite well - at least in my rookie opinion - without pressurizing. Cooked two liters of cold water and the flame was getting better all the time. Some pictures attached; first fires within 40 ears or so!
    1393956143-Ensitulet1.jpg 1393956191-Ensiitulet2.jpg 1393956293-Sumpit2.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2015
  12. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Frank, PM sent a while back! Good luck, and please let us know how you fare!


    Thanks Ken!!! :D


    Hessu, that's a gorgeous example! Congratulations!!! :D/
     
  13. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Hessu mentioned purified gas, isn't this a kerosene stove?

    Ken in NC
     
  14. Wim

    Wim Subscriber

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    Hi Ken, the N°11s were "real" dual fuel stoves, they were advertised to run on both white gas & kerosene. I've only used mine on kero as I don't think the nrv set up is safe for gas. Just my 2€cents! ;)

    All the best,

    Wim
     
  15. snwcmpr

    snwcmpr Subscriber

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    Thank you, The 11 is on my list, but like an 8 or a Campingo, difficult to acquire.

    Ken in NC