Optimus 111 (ex-Antarctic)

Discussion in 'Optimus No:111 (all variants) + later Hiker & Hike' started by Tony Press, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    I fettled one of the Optimus 111s I got recently. I'm off on a long road trip tomorrow, and I wanted to get one going for the journey.


    The fettled stove:

    1408436717-Op111a.jpg

    1408436732-Op111b.jpg

    1408436742-Op111c.jpg


    The stove tin before cleaning and painting:

    1408436753-Op111d.jpg

    1408436765-Op111e.jpg

    1408436778-Op111f.jpg

    1408436789-Op111g.jpg


    The tin (above) was not the one the stove came with - it was one that I obtained that had no stove. The tin the stove came in needs an overhaul of its hinges as they are broken and have been temporarily repaired with the result that the lid sits unevenly on the bottom in such a way that it pushed the silent burner out of shape. I did not have enough time to work on the that tin, so I used the spare one.

    The original tin:

    Note the hinges and the silent burner.

    1408436801-Op111h.jpg


    The tin had been attached to something at some stage:

    1408436817-Op111i.jpg


    The stove as it came (and alight):

    1408436828-Op111j.jpg

    1408436838-Op111k.jpg

    1408436848-Op111l.jpg

    1408436860-Op111m.jpg

    1408436876-Op111n.jpg

    1408436888-Op111o.jpg

    1408436900-Op111p.jpg


    The burner was stamped "Made in Sweden" with some Arabic text (three times in the circle):

    1408436914-Op111q.jpg


    Cleaned up and ready to reassemble. I cleaned the burner with carburetor cleaner; the gauze wadding was new.

    1408436925-Op111r.jpg

    1408436939-Op111s.jpg


    To be continued...
     
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  2. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    Some notes on the provenance of this stove.

    The stove was used by the Australian Antarctic Program. I was returned to Australia from Casey Station in 2008 (see photo below). It was subsequently bought at auction along with the other stoves shown here:

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/27882

    It was sold on eBay and via a convoluted route ended up with me. I subsequently managed to get the rest of the 111s associated with that stove (hence the collection in the above link).


    1408356144-Optimus_111__1_web.jpg


    1408356198-Optimus_111___1_web_2.jpg


    RTA = Return to Australia:

    1408356275-Optimus_111__1_web_3.jpg
     
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  3. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    Now... any help with dating this stove.

    Beside the photos above (I expect that the "o"-ring pump may be a modern replacement for the original), it came with a "cookie cutter" regulating wheel:

    1408356691-IMG_5404.jpg


    Any help with dating would be appreciated.

    Cheers

    Tony
     
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  4. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    On the subject of dating Optimus 111 stoves, the following are the variations it stove parts that came with that pile I got hold of. Only one tin had the "embossed" Optimus No 111 on the tin lid.

    Control wheels:

    1408362296-IMG_5404.jpg


    Fuel cap/release valves:

    1408362353-IMG_5398.jpg

    Pump brass markings (note 'left-hand' and 'right-hand' pump knob knurling:

    1408362512-IMG_5400.jpg


    1408362537-IMG_5401.jpg


    1408362595-IMG_5402.jpg


    Only two labels survived:

    1408362715-IMG_5405.jpg


    1408362757-IMG_5406.jpg
     
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  5. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Congrats on a fantastic score Tony!!!
    :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

    I too have one of these Antarctic veteran 111's.
    You may find some helpful info and links in this post:
    Link
    (Sorry it's not formatted better. That was one of my earliest posts.)



    I suspect that our stoves came from the same surplus batch, and that there was a lot of mixing and matching of parts while they were in service. Although mine is a mid to late 1950's model, it uses a 1970's/early 80's red regulating knob, but I like the mix of parts and have elected to leave it original, as it speaks to the history of the stove.



    On your particular 111T shown here, all of the parts say 1980's 111T to me, not a 111/7, so I'd imagine the cookie cutter knob was added to the stove while someone was servicing the stoves and mixing and matching parts to make 'em work. The correct knob for this stove would be the black plastic one (the one that's not a muti-tool.) I'd say keep it how it came to you though, since it shows that these were workhorse field stoves, and to respect its history.



    I don't think looking at the regulator knobs would be a good way to date these stoves, since it's plain to see that parts have been switched around.
    That being said, I've been trying to narrow down 111 age identifiers the past couple years, and my estimate for regulator knobs is as follows:

    • Black cookie cutter knob (same as Optimus 11 but longer shaft): 1952ish
    • Green cookie cutter knob: early 1950's
    • White cookie cutter knob: early 1950's
    • Green cookie cutter knob that's been painted blue (3-4 examples of this. Too many to be a coincidence): early 1950's
    • Red cookie cutter knob: Mid-1950's to late 1960's (this one is tricky, b/c I dunno when they ended.)
    • Thick plastic red knob: early 70's to early 80's (Again, tricky, b/c I'm not sure when they began.)
    • Thick black plastic knob: early 80's to late 80's. (1989 or so.)
    • Black multitool: 1989ish to early 2000's (There have been a few variations of the multitool to go with different models though.)

    ***Again, those are just estimates!!!*** :lol:



    Judging from other identifiers at a glance, I'd estimate most of the stoves you posted are 1970's models.
    Link



    These old workhorses have obviously seen a lot, and folks' lives depended on them down there! Congratulations on finding such a wonderful cache, and I know you'll be a fantastic steward of their history! I hope to see some posts of them back on the ice alongside your old Primus No. 1!
    Link
    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
     
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  6. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    Pinky

    Yes, your stove (linked above in your reply) was from the same lot as my pile (although you mention the seller was from Queensland: he lives in Hobart).

    Thanks your comments.

    Cheers

    Tony
     
  7. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Woohoo! :D/

    I've always wondered what happened to the rest of those stoves! :-k

    Super glad you were able to get them Tony! :clap: :thumbup: 8)
     
  8. Primus 96

    Primus 96 Subscriber

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    That 'O' ring pump seal was OEM for the 111T.
    Mine was a bit of a pain (didn't really seal properly). After a borrowing the pump rod from my 00 for a time I got a complete replacement pump rod, cap & leather cup.
    Maybe the idea was that a replacement '0' ring would be easier to find.
    I have no idea if a imperfect seal was a general problem or just if the '0' ring was worn.
     
  9. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    Interesting observation. Most of the other 111s I have came with the leather cup.

    On my recent (just completed) road trip the 'O'-ring was ok, but sometimes it did not seal properly... Until I lubricated it about three times with light machine oil. I was thinking of replacing it with a leather cup.

    Cheers

    Tony