Meta Fuel?

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by Pitsligo, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. Pitsligo

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    In one book from my favorite series, the characters encounter "Meta Fuel" to prime a Primus. It appears to be some sort of jellied methylated spirits, in little cubes. I've wondered about it ever since I first read the scene, thirty+ years ago. Can anyone tell me anything about it? What it was, when it was produced, how effective it actually was?

    Thanks,
    Alex
     
  2. Knight84

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    Hello,

    They can be used to prime a stove. I bought a stove once that came with some of these in the tin.

    Check out this Link

    Jeff
     
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  3. rik_uk3

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    Like this box from the 60's IIRC

    1255492201-DSCF4457__640x480_.JPG
     

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  4. RonPH

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    I would believe they do work. However, you have to line around the priming cup to be as effective as liquid fuel as you will notice, priming with liquid fuel tend to cover the circumference of the priming cup and hasten the heating of the burner enough to vaporize the fuel inside. I have seen some stoves that were really very old that come with such priming material although am not sure if it worked at best since say its been more than 30 years....like it should have an expiration date unless of course its been vacuum sealed.
     
  5. rik_uk3

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    Depending on the stove, half a bar split in half will prime it; I'll try it out when I get the chance, see the the stuff I have works after all these years :)
     
  6. Pitsligo

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    A-ha! Exactly the thing! A mystery solved at last. Perfect!

    Thank you all very much.

    Alex
     
  7. nagant

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    i think i read about Mallory on Mt Everest that they used Meta stoves with solid fuel at high altitudes. ease of use was the reason i believe. (they had primus stoves as well) often wondered what their setup looked like.
     
  8. fyldefox

    fyldefox R.I.P.

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    Here's a more modern reincarnation ( 1970's ! ) :

    1255510315-Meta_2.jpg

    I personally use them very rarely as they leave a residue when burnt for priming. Meths is best !

    Oh and notice the warning about them being poisonous, especially as you usually have to break them into pieces for use.
     

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  9. Bom Bom Bom Bom

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    Hi Alex,

    This is the stuff I referred to as being used in the Meta 50 and why it doesn't come with a spirit burner (and I don't mean a Ross).

    Cheers, Graham.
     
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  10. shagratork

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

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    In the 1970s I used to use small bits of meta fuel to prime my paraffin stoves.

    I stopped doing this when I realised that meths was better. When snapping up the meta sticks you always got different sized pieces and also small meta 'crumbs' all over the place. The meths is easier to measure (i.e. a spirit cup full) and gives a more predicable burn. Also, the meta fuel does not burn down to nothing, it leaves a dirty deposit. On the slightly larger stoves, the auto lighters don't work with meta fuel.
     
  11. Stonehopper

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    What was that stuff called that came in tubes and squeezed out like toothpaste (toothpaste do I hear?) No, it was almost clear, but jelly like. Easier to administer to a spirit cup, but seem to remember it was costly, and most of a tube went with two or three lightings. Useless with a Mamod of course. But so was the Mamod! My school pal had a stationary engine made in Germany - WOW! On a plinth with hand-rails; separate engine from the boiler, and a 'factory' chimney! :shock:

    Ah! Firepaste! - or much the same.

    Derek
     
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  12. David Shouksmith

    David Shouksmith Subscriber

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    No. Meta is short for metaldehyde. I've forgotten the exact chemistry involved but it's a kind of polymer of formaldehyde IIRC...
     
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  13. Bom Bom Bom Bom

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    If I recall correctly from a previous post on the subject, isn't it similar or the same as the active ingredient in slug pellets?

    Cheers, Graham.
     
  14. Pitsligo

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    From Chapter V of "Missee Lee", by Arthur Ransome:

    "Already she had shaken the Primus stove and found that it had some oil in it. She took two of the little cubes of Meta and put them in the place for the methylated spirit. She found a cleaner and cleaned the nozzle. She put a match to the Meta. The little cubes melted and turned into something exactly like spirit, with a blue dancing flame. They watched until the flame began to die down, when Susan closed the valve and gave a few strokes with the pump. The Primus started up with a joyful roar."

    Does that sound like the stuff you folks know as Meta? Obviously, I've never used the stuff. AR is pretty well recognized as knowing what he wrote about, so I'm curious whether he got this right too.

    (I think I might have cleaned the jet before loading it with primer, but that's just me.)

    I know flame paste, as I've used it with my Svea 123 --much safer aboard a rocking boat than an eyedropper full of naptha, that can slosh over the edge of the tank-- and like it quite well, except you need to break up the chunks to make sure it burns completely.

    Alex
     
  15. rik_uk3

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    No liquid Pitsligo, just a powder like residue at the end of the burn


    1255536166-DSCF4459__640x480_.JPG

    1255536186-DSCF4461__640x480_.JPG

    1255536228-DSCF4463__640x480_.JPG
     

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  16. fyldefox

    fyldefox R.I.P.

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    I wouldn't Alex !
    Regular and unnecessary use of prickers just widens jets. Only prick when absolutely necessary, which most of the time it isn't if your fuel is clean.
     
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  17. Spiritburner

    Spiritburner Admin Subscriber

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    You will see soon!
     
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  18. shagratork

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

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    My taste buds are ripe with anticipation! :D
     
  19. nagant

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    O.K. whats up Ross? did they find Ervine for certain?
     
  20. Pitsligo

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    Keith: Right. Duly noted. Though I meant more that if I were to be using the pricker, it would seem to make more sense to do so prior to filling the priming cup, just to minimize the chance of spillage.

    So has anyone done a lifecycle comparison of the jets of stoves with and without integral cleaning needles?

    Alex