Thermette 1953 Registered Design (New Zealand)

Discussion in 'Other Countries' started by presscall, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    Copper kettle, 3-and-a-1/2 pints capacity, steel fire grate

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    The metallic green paint is original, as is the decal

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    New Zealand's Intellectual Property Office website is a mine of information, a search for Reg Design No. 6842 coming up with this

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    I'd spent a morning pruning buddleias (butterfly bush) and had chopped a number of the drier, woodier branches into lengths suitable to fire up the Thermette

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    Though I expected the Thermette to perform well I expected lots of smoke and some hesitancy getting the fuel to light because the trimmings were damp. I didn't play the purist ...

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    Yes there was a fair bit of smoke ...

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    ... and the damp, resinous wood had left a tarry deposit on the flue which wood ash stuck to, tar-and-feather fashion

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    Happy with the performance of the Thermette, which brought the full tank of water to the boil in around five minutes, I prepared it for a photo-shoot, cleaning off the tar with methanol without too much effort

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    The fire grate had lost its paint and I had this aerosol of stove paint in Forest Green left over from another project

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    To give an idea of the size ...

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    ... or with more precision, alongside a 1-foot rule

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    An interlude with a modern equivalent - not a Kelly brand kettle but with a water capacity of 1-litre, so about half that of the Thermette

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    Like the Thermette, it dispenses with the Kelly kettle type of hanger so can be handled single-handed using a Trangia pot grip. Just about manageable thanks to the modest size and water capacity

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    Good old Thermette

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    John
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2015
  2. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator, R.I.P. Subscriber

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    Great find John.
    A Kelly Kettle type 'Rolls-Royce'.
     
  3. mr optimus

    mr optimus Subscriber

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    Hi John brilliant score and restoration.

    To be honest, I prefer the look of Thermette kettle than a original Kelly kettle.
    Going off subject a touch, it goes to show how resinous the by products of combustion, of semi dried wood is, compared to dry soot particles of coal, the amount of tarry deposits left in the chimney/flue of the kettle is, if not mistaken I believe in the U.S.A they call it creosote may be here as well.
    I have not got one of the Kelly kettles, or its clones but if ever I see one going for a song I will snap it up.
     
  4. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark Subscriber

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    Good Morning, John,

    This is a very interesting variation of the Kelly Kettle-type stove setup, and, IMHO, far more lovely!! Excellent post and photos, as usual, and a rare and enjoyable find on your part!! Well done! There is something classy about your new Thermette, that is hard to describe, yet the photos show that class very clearly. Again, nicely done, John, and thanks for sharing your good fortune with us. Take care, and God Bless!

    Every Good Wish,
    Mark

    P.S. Brian, yes, we do call a thick build-up of that oily soot, "creosote", and too much that in your chimney can cause a very dangerous type of fire that can burn down your entire home!!! Good to get the Chimney Sweep out, at least every few years, to make sure that doesn't happen!
     
  5. mr optimus

    mr optimus Subscriber

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    Hey Doc I do believe chimney from a wood stove, needs to be swept more often than that of a coal burning stove etc. And a chimney fire caused by creosote from a wood burner, happens far more frequently than that of a coal burner.
     
  6. Trojandog

    Trojandog United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hi John. Nice to see one of these legends. They were sold in the US until fairly recently, but they were made in China and reportedly of dubious quality. I see yours is a made in NZ original.

    My experiences with the Sirram Volcano, is that the soot/tar will come off much easier if you coat the inside with neat washing up liquid before use. But you need to clean it after each use, otherwise it's a bugger to clean.

    I'm sure I read somewhere about someone using a Thermette in Mongolia for six months running it on dried Yak dung!

    Will you be bringing it to Newark? I'll be bringing a Sirram and we could compare them and their performance.

    Best wishes,
    Terry
     
  7. Wim

    Wim Subscriber

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    Hi Brian, during the 27 years I used a stove to heat my humble castle (the first 23 years a wood stove and a coal burner with limited use of wood for the next four winters) I cleaned (swept) my chimney exactly....ZERO times! It all boils down to the wood you use, the stove (mainly size and burn quality/efficiency) and the size/efficiency/build quality of your chimney. I did check the chimney every so often but never found it looked like it needed a sweep!

    Best regards,

    Wim
     
  8. presscall

    presscall United Kingdom SotM Winner SotY Winner Subscriber

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    Always good to hear from you guys!

    Yes, indeed, quite an eye-opener concerning the tarry deposit. Cold (water jacket) metal surface on which water vapour in the hot gases in contact is bound to condense. I suppose it's the other stuff that condenses with the water that's to be avoided if possible and Wim's comment about the type of wood is the key - hardwood rather than softwood is going to reduce the amount of resin/tar dumped in the chimney.

    We've noticed in the Fire Service that increasing numbers of wood stove installations in the county have resulted in more chimney/flue fires and there's a correlation between the type of wood used (cheaper, more abundant softwoods and the use of unseasoned, 'green' wood whether softwood or hardwood) and the incidence of fires, so that's one of our safety tips. I knew I was ok with the Thermette though and wouldn't be calling out the crews to bail me out (which I'd never have heard the last of) but it was an interesting experiment to use that green wood and probably something I'll use as a graphic example in a fire prevention context at work.

    Yes indeed I'll be bringing the Thermette to Newark, Terry. Can't wait to see the Sirram Volcano in the flesh as it were! England v. All Blacks. Interesting.

    John
     
  9. mr optimus

    mr optimus Subscriber

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    Hi Wim And John,it is really is down to the wood type and stove and chimney design, regarding how frequent a chimney needs to be swept.

    That is the problem John, the increasing number of wood stove installations, and people burning any wood available possibly from the free supply, and being unseasoned, especially spruce type woods that is highly resinous, which turpentine is extracted from.
    The users of these stoves burning these types of woods probably think the chimney only needs sweeping, once in a blue moon
     
  10. theyellowdog

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  11. geeves

    geeves New Zealand Subscriber

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    Who knows how many like branded copies exist.
    Doesnt the original Thermette predate all the Kelly kettles etc.
     
  12. Trojandog

    Trojandog United Kingdom Subscriber

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    The Thermette and the Sirram Volcano both date from the late 1920's and pre-date all the Kelly, Eldon, Storm etc versions.

    Thanks for the link Yellowdog, which makes things clearer. I've done a bit more digging and it would seem that in the mid to late 2000's 'Thermettes' were sold in the US by Thermette North America Inc of Washington state. They operated via thermette.com (which is now defunct) and appear to have traded without the knowledge of the true Thermette company in NZ. Posters on other forums who bought these, state they were of poor quality and the boxes were marked 'Made in China'.

    This Link shows that Thermette North America imported seven shipments of 'copper outdoors kettle' through the port of LA from Beijing, with the last shipment arriving on the 14th June 2008.

    It would therefore be wise for any North American members considering bidding on or buying a Thermette, to check that it is a genuine NZ made item and not a Chinese knock-off.

    Terry
     
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  13. theyellowdog

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    I have a new one here. It is marked made in Nz on the box but there are no markings on the actual item so without the box it may be hard for a buyer to know the origin
     
  14. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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  15. KiwiTraveller

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    This is an old thread but while running a search for a Thermette I came across it and had a read.
    Just wanted to wave the flag and point out that the Thermette is the original and Kelly kettles are the cheap and nasty copy. Originally designed for the New Zealand army back in the 1920's they quickly became a staple of kiwi hunters and campers.
    The narrower spout and use of copper means that the thermette heats more efficiently and faster than a Kelly kettle. The side handle makes it easy to pour. Also aluminium pots/kettles have a nasty habit of leaching Al+ ions into any liquid that is heated in them which is a one way no return ticket to alzheimers disease down the line.
    You can also fuel the thermette by dropping twigs/woodchip down the chimney so no need to cut it too short!
    Here's a funny story - the Thermette caused consternation amongst German soldiers during the desert war in the 1940's. Coming across places where kiwi soldiers had camped, they noticed strange burnt circles on the ground and thought the kiwis must have some strange new kind of weapon -maybe a rocket or some such. Imagine their surprise when they managed to raid one such camp and came across a couple of kiwis brewing a cuppa!
     
  16. z1ulike

    z1ulike United States SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Aluminum pots do not cause Alzheimer's.

    Ben
     
  17. Staplenz

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    @KiwiTraveller, sorry but they are all knock offs. The Thermette, Kelly Kettle, Ghillie, etc etc etc ...the Mongolians were the first to hammer these out of copper/ bronze etc.u can search them on the net but I only know their name as being either "shabu shabu "or Mongolian hotpot .I'll try and add some pics of them to this thread . ( can't add any pics sorry .they are in the wrong format ) the Thermette was just the first to patent the design.

    Kelly kettle is now making a stainless steel version.

    And the new Zealand Thermette has been being made in China for about the last fifteen ? Years . These new Thermettes are real useless they are light and weak .but then for tramping u wouldn't want to tramp carrying the weight of the old dome top Thermettes.

    btw I'm selling on" Trademe" one of the old dome top Thermettes nearly identical to John's Thermette, but mine is brand new never used .
     
  18. Garth

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  19. Garth

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    www.wilsonandco.co.nz and they ship internationally and appears on special at the moment
    In their heyday a cheaper steel one was also available the new copper ones are made to the same design as those
     
  20. Raj New Zealand

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    Very nice images Presscall. I hadn't realised that these NZ designs were accessible online.
    The original bases were made out of zinc-coated steel - interesting to see you painted yours. How has the paint lasted?

    In Blenheim NZ there is a Thermette Society which hosts group boil-ups in the winter when the fire danger is reduced. SAFA are still going in Christchurch NZ and still have the original tooling for the base. The copper top was spun and then the inner cone braised on.
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