Oldest pressure-based Camp Stove model

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by SMolson, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. SMolson

    SMolson Subscriber

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    Is there a consensus regarding the very first model(s) of kerosene or petrol-fueled non-wick camp stoves for the consumer? I've checked the reference section for the biggies, and the oldest I could find mentioned is from the Primus catalogue of 1903: Primus 100 , and the Primus 8-11, 215 and 216. . The 96/97's and other more smaller models don't start showing up until 5-10 years later.

    There are older catalogues but none list stoves with the features identifying them as camp stoves: packing cases, foldable or removable legs, spanner, smaller tanks, removable burners, center fount caps, etc.

    I have a few old 'Outdoor'-themed books, including one published by Field & Stream, from the 1920's and earlier (USA). They have nothing on camp stoves. Cooking when discussed is over a fire with a grill and aluminum or cast iron pans. Curiously, one of them mentions Carbide lamps for lighting. I guess it took a few years before the first camping stoves in Europe made a name for themselves over this way. I have read many books of the old fishing guides and others who worked in or around Algonquin Park (1910-1930's) and none mention camp stoves either - it was all on open fires.
     
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  2. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    There are surely pressure stoves that pre-date the Primus 100 line

    Pressure stoves are an 1890's concept, I've supposed.

    CR Nyberg's design is one of the earliest - some feature here ...

    Stockholm Technical Museum

    The Aetna from Germany , dated 1897, is the earliest I've worked on - well, the burner at any rate.

    John
     
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  3. SMolson

    SMolson Subscriber

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    Hi John - thank you, some amazing display old models. Love the character and creativeness of these very early pressure-stove designs, great visual treat. All of those appear to be domestic stoves, fixed legs, large tanks designed primarily for indoor use or at least around the home/cottage. I've been trying to find the earliest models of camping stoves, those with removable legs, the precursors to 96/97 types and the more modern MSRs/Primus/Optimus camp stoves of today.

    If pressure stoves had their origins in the 1890's, it wasn't long before the first pressure camping/travel models showed up, and the Primus 100 (and the others id'ed above from 1903) may have been one of the 1st or 2nd line of that type (judging by the catalog references).
     
  4. geeves

    geeves New Zealand Subscriber

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    camping back then meant cooking on open fire etc. Even your 96s etc were really picnic stoves rather than camping stoves and designed for a civilised cup of tea at a picnic.
    Using stoves for camping really didnt happen before the 50s and tramping with the exception of alpine climbing didnt take to stoves until much later. I still hike with people that had been hikeing many years before they saw people using stoves.
     
  5. rik_uk3

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    Perhaps more popular with European countries, some of which lack the space of the USA or NZ and their abundance of wood for fuel plus of course the tradition of using wood fires for cooking.

    Popular with Antarctic explorers and the Army during WW1 'Primus' and meths stoves became more popular with civilians in the 20's. Pre WW2 sales of pressure stoves were many thousands so civvies somewhere were using them.
     
  6. yonadav

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    I have a vague recollection of an article by one of the polar explorers (can't remember who), where he describes his conversion of a Primus stove for travel / camping. He made an adaptation for removable legs, and some other modifications making the Primus more suitable for packing and travel.

    Yonadav
     
  7. blaze

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    i think that most of the early portable stoves were more designed for use with the bicycle and then the motor bike finally the the car.you often see clamps that connect the stove to the bicycle frame and the early graphics on the primus 70 tins show the target market as motor bikes or boy scouts this tradition carried on in to the 1960s and for some of us is alive and kicking i still keep a stove in the car just in case i get a chance to use it optimus 99 this week!!

    regards Blaze
     
  8. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Good Morning, All,

    In the US, Coleman was making stoves, specifically for camping, and in this case, car camping, in the 1920's. I have a great magazine article which shows some of the early modifications to vehicles, to turn them into camping "tents", and such, and in most of the photos, there were stoves present and being used. Granted these are not the brassies we use today, but more suitcase stoves, and fairly large. But, the interesting thing is that even my oldest Coleman stove, the #1, works like a champ, even today, as they were super robust, and made for outdoor use and abuse. And, they were pressure stoves in every sense of the word. Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
     
  9. Nordicthug

    Nordicthug R.I.P.

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    My earliest stove, a Coleman has a lid that unfolds into an oven, was made in the early 1920's. It is hardly a backpacking stove because the burners are cast iron as are the air passages. It is heavy, about 25 lbs. I bought it for less than $10 at a flea market, took it home, evicted the tenants with a few good blasts of compressed air, fuel it up and lit it. It worked perfectly coming to beautiful blue flames in less than five minutes. I later replaced the fill cap gasket and oiled the pump leather. It is on permanent loan to a friend who has a Model T Ford sedan that he shows. He sets up a roadside camp with my stove on q folding table, a period tent and folding cots and chairs. If he and his wife are set up outdoors, she cooks on it and makes biscuits and cookies. Quite a show. He had a new grate made for the oven from 1/8" cold rolled steel round bar. The old stove works like new.

    Gerry
     
  10. redspeedster

    redspeedster United Kingdom Subscriber

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  11. Wim

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    In the 1930's (second half I think) my mother and her brothers and sisters were regular campers. They used self-made tents (my mother's eldest sister was a professional seamstress). So, when I started accumulating these campstoves I asked her if they used any of these. In fact, she never saw one, none of their friends had one and she never saw anyone else using such contraption. They used open fires or used the campground's cooking facilities.

    Best regards,

    Wim
     
  12. SMolson

    SMolson Subscriber

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    Thanks for all your insight and experiences. It does appear that the first truly marketed as packable models were developed and appeared around 1900. As other groups saw the benefit of such stoves for their own activities (and likely pressured/inquired the manufacturers to meet them), Primus and others met the demand by designing and manufacturing smaller and even more portable models. It certainly makes sense that the first portable ones were designed for cycling enthusiasts, car touring (especially in North America) and picnicking - all quite popular activities back then.

    Judging by manufacturer's catalogs, by the late 1910's and early 1920's camping stoves really started taking off in terms of popularity. All major manufacturers were on board and each offered different models of various sizes to cater to these needs, including those in North America.

    We generally, and still do, follow many European trends (takes a few years to catch up) so it's no surprise Coleman offered up their offerings, targeting the car-camping/cottagers/travelling crowds (which were booming activities back then). I have a circa 1920 single-burner National Stamping & Electric Works ' Camping No. 2 Stove ' - she's bigger and heavier than some domestics, but has no legs nor is she collapsible. Her fuel tank sits on the ground, but she has a carrying handle that swings down over her single burner. This may have been one of North America's first 'camping' pressure-stoves using Coleman Fuel/Petrol. I have an old Optimus 200 from 1910's, which is likely my oldest 'camping' stove. I love the looks of the very early Primus camping models in Brian and Rob's post, especially of the Baby Primus with legs supported on the fount. They look like they extend down into little sleeves fitted inside the fuel tank. Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to find one such as this.

    Seems another big milestone year for the camping models was post WW2, when more models appeared with beefier cases, better performance, safer, more options, etc which continued on well into the 1950's. Seems they may have reached their peak at that time.

    The Art of Camping book sounds like a great read. Our local library has it so I'll reserve a copy.
     
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  13. orsoorso

    orsoorso Subscriber

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    http://www.

    1867, and really little doubt it is of the pressure family: it even got a safety valve.
    Come on, I am sure somebody is able to find something older.

    orsoorso
     
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  14. cazna

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    Hi Guys, How old do you think this burner could be??

    1378496855-1309334241-DSCF2357_opt.jpg 1378496870-1309334172-DSCF2354_opt.jpg
     
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  15. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    As Doc and Gerry point out, the Coleman suitcase petrolburners go back to the 20s, and were in continuous use thereafter for car camping. By the 50s, it seemed every family had one.

    Hiking stoves were very rare here, though, until the late 60s and 70s.

    When my folks gave me an Optimus 45 as a birthday present in 1962, it was a totally unfamiliar item to my crowd, including the scoutmasters and other adults active with the troop. It was a real status item, being wholly unique! As I've said before, I carried it as a hiking stove on one 50-miler at Mt. Rainier, and it was always a source of wonder to other hikers.

    The Svea 123 was known to mountain climbers, of which there have always been lots hereabouts. It was advertised as a climbing stove; necessary because used above timberline. But until the late 60s or into the 70s, essentially all backcountry cooking by hikers was done on wood fires, at least here in the Pacific Northwest.

    But in the car camps, both the trusty Coleman and the fire were used, usually the former; so much easier for mom!
     
  16. Wim

    Wim Subscriber

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    Hi cazna, your burner is pretty old, I'd say pre-WW1. This model pre-dates the "modern" one we all know so well, but during the first years of the "new model" they were both available to the public. Yours has holes in its skirt which makes me think it is of later years (near the end of this type's production run, the burner on my pre-1911 Primus N°5 comes without the holes). Hopefully someone with better knowledge can tell us more.

    Best regards,

    Wim
     
  17. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi, Caszna,

    I have a SVEA #16 that dates to between 1910-1915, and it has a very similar burner to that. Kerophile very kindly sent me a special burner cap, what, whilst it's a completely different brand (Corona), fits it perfectly. The steel "mesh" of the permanent inner cap of mine had tears and holes, and BernieDawg did a fantastic rebuild of that part, making a new brass inner cap, and brazing it in place, and in conjunction with the cap that George sent, and some fettling on my part, that old SVEA #!6 is now working a treat!! Here's how it looks at full throttle, on night at the Oregon Stove Gathering:

    1378502204-DSCN0786.JPG

    My sincere thanks to George and Gary for their generous help in getting this Old Timer back up and running!

    Cazna, what brand is engraved, or stamped into your stove? What model #? Where was it made? Might help us date yours a tad better. Looks very interesting, though, and I hope we narrow things down a bit. Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Doc
     
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  18. cazna

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    Thanks so much for your replys Wim and doc.

    I have posted this stove before, I just threw a few pics into this old stove thread to see if any other clues popped up.

    Heres the thread, Its a SWS stove that seems to have little information about. The tanks not in very good shape, Its got a lot of solder on it which could be stress cracks, I just cleaned it and put it on the shelf for a rainy day and see if i could find a cap to fit it someday. No rush, Good things take time gents.

    Thanks again for your replys.

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/
     
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  19. SMolson

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    The perimeter cup on your burner looks similar to this Primus from 1907. And again in 1922, R132 and R133 .

    In that same catalogue from 1907 a number of their stoves also have their spirit dish below the extension tube (may be welded). This Primus No. 5 J:nr has one similarly located, 1915. Later catalogues I have not seen with their dish so affixed.

    Nice find orsolo - a little pressure alcohol/spirit stove. Beautiful, compact little setup with the nesting pot/fry pan doubles as the case. Looks to have been a custom job, wonderful they describe it as 'canoe cuisine' (and a version of it associated to a canoeist). Interesting how deep the burner tube and opening sits inside the bottom well, and like a coil burner has no burner plate, the pot or pan acts as such. Using a hollowed screw at the end of the removable hollow handle which is then stopped by a cork as a safety - brilliant. Curious that they refer to it throughout as a 'lamp'.

    My grandfather acquired his Primus 71 in 1947 for picnicking along the beaches of north-east Quebec. I'm still trying to find pictures of him using it, but so far haven't come across any. When I was in Scouts (late 70's early 80's) if anyone was using a stove (most were not) it was the butane types - otherwise all campfires (no shortage of wood...). I wish I paid more attention back then... My father had a couple of 1960's Primus double burners used on his Herreshoff sailboat, but these were propane stoves.
     
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  20. threedots New Zealand

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    Hello cazna.
    I'm glad you posted about your SWS again as I was supposed to photograph mine after your last topic about it.
    I have just found it again and I will try to get photos of it soon.
    It is in bad shape with no legs, pump or fuel cap and the burner is damaged. Cheers, John