Monitor Major - choice of expeditions

Discussion in 'Monitor' started by presscall, Feb 11, 2021.

  1. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    A stove that’s had me intrigued because of its unusual design and claims in contemporary advertisements (1933 to 1937 years in production) that it was chosen for expeditions, two of which were named, the Mount Everest Air Expedition of 1933 and the Rymill Antarctic Expedition of 1934-5.

    Knowing that provenance, when one cropped up for sale I was keen to purchase it.

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    Southern Lights by expedition leader, Australian John Rymill doesn’t refer specifically to the Monitor by name, but it clearly was a constant and reliable companion.

    Page 40.
    A roarer burner then!

    And, page 155.
    The Monitors taken along flawlessly provided numerous meals and brews too evidently.

    In First Over Everest - the Houston Mount Everest Expedition 1933 (Fellowes, Blacker, Etherton, Clydesdale) the testimonial to the Monitor is more explicit.
    Key highlights of the flight over Everest were filmed. Base camp and the Monitor don’t appear however.



    The patent for the Monitor Major appears in the Stove Reference Library HERE.

    Patent drawings.

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    The 2-pint capacity kerosene stove equipped with a roarer burner has a casing that serves also as a windshield and pot rest.

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    In that raised position these brackets on the windshield/casing lower rim ...

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    ... engage with the stubby (sawn off) pot rests.

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    That photo shows the burner and flame ring stowed for packing, travelling cap screwed down onto the lead seal in the fuel tank’s burner mounting.

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    Spanner (wrench) and pricker in a mounting bracket in the stove lid.

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    The burner and priming cup.

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    The stove is permanently fixed to the base pan, the feet riveted to it. The photo also shows the pivot of one of the two clamp brackets deployed when the stove is stowed.

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    Fuel filler cap incorporates a pressure release valve to protect against over-pressurising. The thick gauge of brass the tank is made of most probably makes the release valve superfluous.

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    Another refinement is a fuel strainer in the filler riser.

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    The pump has a ring in place of the usual pump knob.

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    The reason for that is explained in the patent - to provide clearance for the casing/windshield when stowed.

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    It actually provides a superior grip when pumping.

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    The lid, boldly embossed with the make/model.

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    And ‘British Made’.

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    Engravings.

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    The last line of that instruction, ‘Relief screw MUST be open when stove not in use’ can only mean when it’s not packed up. The travelling cap and closed air screw ensure its oil-tight for travel.


    The bold red Monitor decal.

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    It goes well, the windscreen proving its worth when priming particularly.

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    I’ve just to find the expedition to take it on.

    John
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
  2. igh371

    igh371 SotM Winner Subscriber

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    What a fabulous design. A contender for Monitor's best ever stove? Well deserving of such a meticulous and detailed presentation.
    Ian:thumbup:
     
  3. janders

    janders Subscriber

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    @presscall
    WOW!!! What a fantastic post!!! :clap:
    Bookmarked for reference...
     
  4. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    Thank you @igh371 and @janders. I agree that the stove’s exceptional.
     
  5. Haggis

    Haggis Subscriber

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    Absolutely cool! And a great post,,, thank you...

    Seriously cool design...
     
  6. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    Really interesting.
     
  7. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    Thanks fellas. Not just Monitor got advertising traction out of that ‘First’ Over Everest.

    Westland for their Wallace biplane, which went into service during WWII as a target tug ...

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    And Bristol for their Pegasus engines.

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    28 litres (1,708 cu.in.) 9-cylinder, air cooled radial engine, supercharged. Later versions powered the Short Sunderland flying boat and the Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber.

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  8. JP2

    JP2 Subscriber

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    Thank for sharing. An interesting stove and well presented.
     
  9. ArchMc

    ArchMc SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Great post about a very interesting stove!

    ....Arch
     
  10. Spiritburner

    Spiritburner Admin SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Great example John!
     
  11. Sedgman

    Sedgman Subscriber

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    Great post.

    By joves, Monitor made some great stuff across a wide range of products. What a ripper stove and I love the spanner / wrench attachment and the ring pull pump. The filler cap always intrigues me on these and SH&S pressure devices as some have the truncated bit and others have the knurled fitting.

    PS Maybe Mallory beat the planes, who knows.
     
  12. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    A couple of final points. In his post on his example of the Monitor HERE @optipri drew attention to the L-shaped slots on either side of the lid and base pan.

    These are the slots - lid ...

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    ... and either side of the base pan.

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    Bo rightly supposed,
    An enlargement of part of an illustration of the Major in a Monitor catalogue shows ‘buttons’ top and bottom of the windscreen that would correspond with those slots to secure casing/windshield to the base pan and top when stowed.

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    This is one of Bo’s photos of his example, clearly showing a pair of the holes for the buttons on one side of the windscreen.

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    I suspect that even though the patent drawing shows the pivoted securing straps and not the button/slot fixing arrangement as appearing in the catalogue illustration (and the fixing holes remaining in Bo’s example), the button/slot arrangement proved to be fiddly to use and in projecting from the stove windshield the ‘buttons’ spoiled the clean outline and would catch on equipment and pack linings.

    So, the possibly costlier original securing straps went into production but stamp tooling for the lids and base plates was not replaced and the L-shaped slots remained. Evidently at least one windscreen with residual holes for the ‘buttons’ went on sale.

    Finally, showing how the ‘ring-pull’ pump solution to provide clearance for stowing the casing/windshield gains precious fractions of an inch. Comparison with pump cap and knob of a Primus 221.

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    The male-threaded pump cap on the Monitor saves a fraction too.
     
  13. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    I guess it’s down to whether a ‘blade’ air screw/release is used or the knurled ring type Iain. @Gunner did an excellent job of describing the knurled ring type in his post HERE.

    Gunner’s photos.

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    Separate ‘blade’ air screw type.

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    You’d think the knurled air release would be the ome to go for on the Monitor Major because of that issue of avoiding projections getting in the way of the stowed windshield.

    Problem would be not being able to reach the knurled air release because the windshield gets in the way when deployed.

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    As it is, the profile of the air screw blade Monitor used isn’t quite as generous to grip as some. Sufficient though. Again, to allow clearance for the stowed windscreen.
    I’d like to think he got to the peak, poor chap. Maybe.

    The ‘Wings over Everest’ commentary suggests that a mosaic of the flight still photographs taken looking straight down were used by Hillary in his planning. The cameras used were high-definition motorised film-transport devices developed from military aviation origins over the trenches in WWI and the Everest air crews were expert in their use and fastidious in getting a proper survey done.

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    The ‘oblique’ photos and cine film were the sightseeing materials used for post-expedition publicity

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  14. Sedgman

    Sedgman Subscriber

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    @presscall

    Thanks great information on the filler caps and the mountain.
     
  15. Gunner

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    @presscall - many thanks for a first rate post on this stove, John - and the analysis of the thinking which went into the design of this stove, even down to what might be considered minor details - such as the pump cap having a male thread, not female. I can fully understand why the Everest team chose this stove for their expedition.

    With best regards,
    Gunner
     
  16. Spiritburner

    Spiritburner Admin SotM Winner Subscriber

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    These seem to be rarer than a now famous Swedish 'expedition' stove!
     
  17. ROBBO55

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    Thanks John, what a wonderful and detailed writeup . :thumbup:
     
  18. Sedgman

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    @presscall
    John, This is a different ad that I found in my collection from c1933. Judging by price it accords with your different ad earlier in this post.
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  19. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    @Sedgman Thanks Iain. Mention of the ‘attractive art metal case’ again. No mention of the expeditions, which suggests it was printed before they’d taken place.

    John
     
  20. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    Here’s the Major on a title page for a Monitor catalogue. It has the ‘button’ fixings rather than the securing struts and a low-profile pump knob resembling that on a Primus 96. ‘Ring pull’ type of pump handle is found on production examples that have surfaced so far.

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