Optimus No. 1 1920-24

Discussion in 'Optimus No:1(inc. S & J)' started by abbahco1, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

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    Here are detail photos of an early 1920s Optimus No. 1, which appears to have had a silent burner for its entire life (this is the "new" silent burner introduced in 1924 by Primus and, therefore, by Optimus around the same time, with the detachable inner and outer hoods (previous silents had a fixed perforated shield with a lid). Other than the burner (which was probably fitted when the stove was originally sold) this is entirely original (down to the filler cap, airscrew and pump assembly). Also included are photos of the (rare) original box with its flip-top lid and image of the stove within. It has the same shallow tank that is seen from 1912 or so, but the pump chamber is no longer the extended one with a separate cap concealing the NRV. Other than a clumsy repair around the filler cap, this one is in excellent condition, and retains its original cast-iron trivet.

    Optimus No. 1 1920 2.jpg

    Optimus No. 1 1920 14.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 3.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 5.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 6.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 7.jpg

    Optimus No. 1 1920 1.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 13.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 11.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 12.jpg Optimus No. 1 1920 15.jpg
     
  2. Matthew Tydd Australia

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    Hello abbahco1,
    Forgive me for intruding with a long post. I will need to read the forum conditions. I joined today because I dug up the old Optimus No 1 that belonged to my father (and I suspect either to his father or his father's father.) I remember the small filler pot and the top plate (replaced by my father with a piece of sheet steel cut with an angle grinder probably around the time he braised the legs. Say 1975. As a young man I got it working again (circa 1990) I rediscovered it yesterday and have cleaned it almost well enough to be photographed. Will post decent pictures when it is properly cleaned (say half as well as yours is cleaned) Will not pull it apart until am sure I can do it properly. Research required. I have searched the site and your photo's are the closest. Horizontal pump. (Mine is braised; again the old man) Legs with rounded ends but my tank filler cap is flat. This is the only difference I can discern. The Number 1 stamp has N o an equals sign under the o with the o raised to level with the top of the N then the 1. I live in Australia and my grandfather on that side was a drover (my father was too as a young man) The flat filler cap has what looks like an A but could be an arrow followed by /B OPTIMUS with the capitalised B smaller than the OPTIMUS. Below that Made In Sweden (one line per word) and completing the circle at the bottom Stockholm in the same wrap around style as the A/B OPTIMUS. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I am not fond of ebay but any parts seller you recommend may have an order placed. I have gone slowly with cleaning (toothpaste and weak vinegar) WD 40 (Water Dispersant) allowed removal of caps for cleaning but I have done no more.
     
  3. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @Matthew Tydd

    Welcome, Matthew.

    You can get all the maintenance washers, seals, etc from The Fettle Box (member discount):

    Kit E Optimus/Primus etc 2 pint 1, 5 etc - The Fettlebox

    Photos of your stove will be a great help (maybe in a new thread in the Stove Discussion Forum; or here when you’ve got it sorted).

    Feel free to ask for any assistance.

    (My grandfather was a drover, and also ran a bullock train to take supplies to Gulargumbone).

    Cheers

    Tony

    @abbahco1
     
  4. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

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    Hi Matthew: Like you and Tony I'm also from Australia. Sounds as though your Optimus might be a bit earlier than mine. The features closely paralleled those of Primus/Hjorth. I just acquired an unused example from (probably) around 1916 or so. Will post some photos.

    Best regards, Peter
     
  5. Matthew Tydd Australia

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    Hello Peter and Tony,
    It is a small world. I knew a Ken Press (thought it was Ken) who worked at what was Centralcure in Gunnedah where I live now and he is a very good friend of my cousin Stephen who also worked there for a while and so did I. My father and grandfather both drove cattle for others on the Marthaguy creek near Gulargambone. I suspect less than 6 degrees of separation here.

    I have not been overly successful even at the cleaning stage. I don't like to criticise the old man's angle grinder technique but the trivet he made is undeniably a thing of great ugliness. His braising is far better than mine though despite the overkill. I have a small rotary tool (dremel like) and may resort to it to polish it. The silvo (milder than brasso) has not been too successful but I can read the embossing now. Don't want to remove too much. I will order the repair kit from the link you gave me Tony as soon as I am certain it is the one I need. I will also see if I can get my hands on the correct trivet. I downloaded the spreadsheet which lists Optimus number 1 from 1911 to 1995 but not continually. My guess would be from the 1930's but I am not really sure. Need to subscribe to find out.

    Looking forward to your photo's Peter. I am intrigued by the term Primus/Hjorth but mine is definitely an Optimus but very similar to the image on your avatar.
    Thank you both

    20191128_114409.jpg 20191128_120937.jpg 20191128_114723.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2019
  6. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

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    Dear Matthew: Your stove is pre 1920 - the integral cone-shaped spirit cup is a give-away, as is the flat filler cap. Clearly the airscrew (Radius) is a replacement, made, perhaps before 1938, as it doesn't say "Radius Ltd". I have an identical Optimus No. 5 which has made it through 100 years without having been ever lit. Your pump appears to be the original one. Will post some photos soon, Peter
     
  7. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

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  8. Matthew Tydd Australia

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    Hello Peter and Tony,
    It's beautiful. I know it says number 5 but I really have trouble telling it from my No 1 (apart from the fact that it is properly cleaned, probably works and has a proper trivet). I want your trivet! I have ordered the kit Tony suggested so thanks Tony. Am off Trivet hunting. They seem to be harder to find than truffels. Lubricating the burner in the hope I can remove it when the kit arrives. I am very lucky to have been helped by two such knowledgable men. Will try not to ruin something which is over 100 yrs old. Pre 1920 means it was my great grandfather's. I have read a few posts and suggestions. I am delighted with the help from Stinkpot Bay. Again Thank you both.
    Matthew
     
  9. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

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    I don't think it's ever been cleaned - I think that is its 100 year old patina..P
     
  10. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @Matthew Tydd

    You have a roarer burner on your No. 5 stove. The No. 1 is fitted with the roarer burner; the No. 5 with the silent burner. Somewhere along the line your stove has had its burner replaced.

    I’ll keep an eye out for a cast iron trivet for you. In the meantime you can get generic pressed steel ones on the bay of evil (check size).

    Cheers

    Tony
     
  11. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

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    Matthew's stove is a No. 1. Mine is a No. 5 of the same vintage, P
     
  12. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @abbahco1 & @Matthew Tydd

    Apologies! I lost track of the images looking at the slideshow on my iPhone. :oops:

    Matthew: your No. 1 stove is correct.

    Cheers

    Tony
     
  13. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

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    The stove appears to have only been "fired" for its initial test in the factory. Optimus & Primus (up until the 1950s, from the evidence I've seen) seem to have tested each stove with its actual burner, and then shipped it. Certainly this seems to have been true up to around 1949 or so: I have pristine, unused Primus and Optimus stoves that have one-time-fired burners, indicating that that is how they were shipped. A glance at the catalogues for Optimus on here shows that the integral cone-spirit cup (rather than the familiar, dimpled, separate one) was current in the 1921 catalogue (but gone by 1924). So, if the catalogues are accurate, I'd date Matthew's No. 1 around 1920, maybe 1921. Straight after that the "globe" filler cap appears, as well as the low-slung legs with bulbous feet and the dimpled spirit cup (as depicted on that Optimus No. 1 box I posted earlier). I have two Lux stoves (Lux was acquired by Optimus in 1914), which also have dimpled spirit cups and the same "globe" filler cap. I always assumed that those features were acquired by Optimus from Lux, but I'm now inclined to think that it might be the other way around: that Optiimus retained the Lux brand up to 1920 or even later, and those are Optimus features applied to the Lux brand (same company that turned its attention to vacuum cleaners under the name Electrolux) Peter
     
  14. Matthew Tydd Australia

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    Hello Tony,
    I have ordered a second shipment of parts and and finally ordered some more parts. I went to tilleylampsandstoves.com becaues thefettlebox did not have what I wanted but felt guilty anyway. The trivet has been ordered but it is not original not does it look like an original repro. The fettlebox was excellent. I did a little youtube watching because I like the SVEA 123R but became quite disturbed by the antics of some nong called bikerbits: who should not be allowed to play with matches.
    The thing that disturbed me most was the possibility that he was right about something in the end. He is recommending shellite and I know the only thing that has ever been in my OPTIMUS Number 1 is kerosene. While I still believe kerosene is the correct fuel it occured to me that shellite may be closer to what our American Cousins call white gas and may be better. I cannot ask them as I just read a forum on the correct fuel on this site and it made no sense whatsoever (I have no idea what white gas is and I do not care). I simply want to know if the correct fuel is Kerosene (usually dyed blue) or Shellite. There is a diggers brand Shellite as well as kerosene. I brought a litre of Kero but if I am wrong it would explain why the stove was such a pain to clean as it has always been powered by Kero. Further the thought that bikerbits might know something. On the verge of firing it up and do not want to blow myself up.
    Thank you
    Matthew
     
  15. Ed Winskill

    Ed Winskill United States Subscriber

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    The Svea 123 is a gasoline (white gas, shellite) stove. It won't work with kerosene. It's self-pressurized (no pump), which requires the more volatile fuel.

    Pump auto gas will work, but is unsatisfactory for many reasons because of its additives. Use shellite/white gas.

    Your Optimus 1/5 you posted about earlier is, of course, a kerosene stove.
     
  16. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @Matthew Tydd

    1. In Australia the correct fuel for a Svea 123 or 123R is Shellite (it is the same as “Coleman Fuel” or what the Americans call “white gas”). Shellite it pure petrol (gasoline).

    2. The correct fuel for your Optimus No. 1 is kerosene.

    Cheers

    Tony
     
  17. ROBBO55

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    @Matthew Tydd

    G'day Matthew, As already stated Kerosene for the Optimus No1 stove. Using Shellite could be dangerous as the fumes released when depressurising the stove could ignite. Under normal circumstances this won't happen with Kerosene.
     
  18. Matthew Tydd Australia

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    Hello Martin,
    Sorry If I missed the line re Kerosene. I was going to stick to Kerosene but had assumed the SVEA and all older stove types (Optimus and Old Primus) used Kerosene.
    Thank you
     
  19. Matthew Tydd Australia

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    Thankyou so much. I thought s much but was concerned when I saw Shellite going into an older (Presumably Kerosene Stove) I really liked the guy on the end of FettleBox UK but coul;d not find the parts. He had said he was getting in NRV removal tools but after a couple of months I went to https://www.tilleylampsandstoves.com/product-page/primus-stove-keys-wrench-parts
    I did not get the new roarer burner
    https://www.tilleylampsandstoves.com/product-page/primus-stove-roarer-burner Perhaps should have but the price tag was adding up and I want to see if I can restore.
    I got the trivet with the cleaners (prickers and NRV just in case I stuff up) I suspect I will not try to replace the NRV. My youngest Nephew is fairly handy so he may have to replace in 20-30 yrs. I'll give him the lot.
    https://www.tilleylampsandstoves.com/product-page/primus-stove-trivet-deal
    I also got a two pack of silent burners.
    I have not been able to budge the burner from the rest of the sleeve although the base unscrewed easily from the fuel tank. There is a hexagonal nut just above the primer filling bowl. I assume it is for a reason.
    Matthew
     
  20. Matthew Tydd Australia

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    Thank you very much Ed,
    A very knowledgable answer. The pump or lack thereof is the key to understanding the fuel type in this instance. I had thought the old type stoves used Kerosene and almost tried to correct the guy in the video on youtube but then though what if he's right. After that it is only a short step to my crisis of faith that Keosene is the only fuel you should use in the Optimus Number 1. I was most concerned that the guy in the video would blow himself up at some point. It looks like the Americans do have some know how. Good luck with your elections. I hope the Russians opt out.
    Matthew