Optimus No. 1 1920-24

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

  1. abbahco1

    abbahco1 Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Australia
    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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2013
    Messages:
    6,011
    Location:
    Stinkpot Bay, Howden, Tasmania, Australia
    @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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Australia
    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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    300
  8. Matthew Tydd Australia

    Offline
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Australia
    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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2013
    Messages:
    6,011
    Location:
    Stinkpot Bay, Howden, Tasmania, Australia
    @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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Matthew's stove is a No. 1. Mine is a No. 5 of the same vintage, P
     
  12. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

    Offline
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2013
    Messages:
    6,011
    Location:
    Stinkpot Bay, Howden, Tasmania, Australia
    @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

    Offline
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    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