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RECOMMENDATIONS AND TEST RESULTS
Everyone has a
different survival plan, so a "one size fits all"
approach to equipment obviously won't work. That, of
course, is why there is such a variety of cook stoves,
lanterns and heaters available. Because of this problem,
I have chosen to concentrate on equipment which will meet
the needs of the two most divergent ideologies -
mobile survival mode or
MOBILE SURVIVAL MODE
Let us assume
someone from Southern California is gathering survival
equipment. What hazards to they face? The San Andreas
"Big One" earthquake is an obvious reason to be prepared,
as if it fractured there would be no water, electricity,
natural gas or food available. In addition, the vast
population of the area would become like a cloud of
locusts, devouring everything available almost
immediately. [This could apply to many scenarios = war,
terrorism, etc.] The smart move would be to evacuate the
area at the first opportunity, and that means having
portable survival equipment already packed and ready to
go. This subject is covered very well, complete with
lists and "how to" information, in my booklet "Evacuation
#2412 pressure stove is made to disassemble and can
be safe for travel. Being of all brass construction
and with the pressure pump being the only moving part,
these stove can be depended upon to last virtually
forever. There is a cap on the end of the plunger
which can be used to seal the fuel tank - after the
burner is removed. The #2412 is a small pressure
stove with a #1 burner, but puts out at least 6,000 BTU,
which is more than enough for cooking. It also will
burn about any fuel that pours, although thicker fuel may
require 2 or more preheatings with alcohol before it will
burn. For indoors use, only kerosene should be
used, as burning kerosene produces almost no carbon
"Butterfly" kerosene stoves are available from
St Paul Mercantile is highly recommended.
Their prices are low and service is high - a great
You will need to
make up your own kit bag for travel use of the Butterfly
#2412. The burner can be removed, but it is sooty
and therefore should be kept in a plastic baggy. The
upright supports should be stored in a separate bag so
they do not get lost, as should the jet picks. The
legs should have rubber feet installed to prevent
scratching of table surfaces: the tips for door stops can
be glued on the bottom of the legs.
BASE COOKING STOVES
There are two basic
design concepts for kerosene cooking stoves available
today, the gravity flow system and the multiple-wick
Gravity Flow Stoves
Here is a set-up on my porch. #2418 on left,
two stoves under cook stands, a bottling tank on
left and waterbatch canner right.
edge-burning wick stoves date back to the 1920's when
they were made in the millions by Boss, Perfection,
Florence and many others. Millions of housewives
used these stoves for their everyday cooking needs until
Rural Electrification was completed in the 1950's.
The basic design was shamelessly copied by Butterfly
because it was proven to work for decades. These
stoves use a wick which fits on edge into a slot.
The red knob (above) is opened and fuel flows from the
glass reservoir through the tubing, through the valve
controlled by the red knob, and into the slot with the
wick. The directions
for use are the same for all of the
The advantage of
these stoves are there are no moving parts except for the
fuel flow valve. The 7/8" wide wicks are made from
fiberglass woven around a copper mesh, so the wicks last
for a long time in daily use. Every time the stove
is turned off the wick burns clean, so maintenance is not
frequently required. Thus the stoves can be used to
cook meals every day with a minimum of effort and
fuss. The maximum output of 7,000 BTU/hr per burner
is sufficient for most cooking and baking
requirements, but marginal for heavy duty use such as
Which model to
choose for your own individual requirements depends upon
how much you plan to cook, how much space you have
available, etc. I gave my mother a single burner
#2413 during Y2K, for example, because she was familiar
with these stoves, having used on during The
Depression. I have a #2418 and have used it
frequently. I gave a double-burner #2416 to my
church for use during power outages because it has legs
and could be brought out for use as required. The
double-and triple-burner models are best-sellers to
homemakers in Asia, being used as their only cook
Be absolutely sure
to order order extra wicks.
St. Paul Mercantile has them in stock, and I do also,
but they are less expensive when ordered with the
#2641 is a no-frills 10-wick stove, but it's
inexpensive and it will boil water for coffee and
cook dinner when the power goes out.
strong, 2-burner, 10 wick stove. 7,000 BTU/hr
per burner. These are versatile stoves and could be
used for everyday use.
photo above illustrates the size of the #2648 stove
top, and the grate will hold the #2421 oven
#2487 - $50.00
#2698 - $70.00
A-822 - $80.00
16-wick stove produces 10,500 BTU/hr maximum. The
cook top holds the oven securely and is wide enough
to hold a waterbath canner with ease. The open
sides provide easy lighting of the wicks. This may
be the most versatile multi-wick stove.
Maximum heat of 14,000 BTU/hr. Large and
strong enough to hold a large kettle, with enough
heat output to quickly boil a lot of water. For
heavy duty, frequent use canning or baking, this is
the stove. The steel grill is very stout and
the round design of the body is inherently
all-aluminum stove that should last for decades.
Same output as the #2698, but lighter and easier to
carry. This stove is used in restaurants in Asia.
If you only use a large stove once a year for
canning, this is the one to have because it will
not rust in storage. Easy to light.
use cotton strands as wicks. The number of wicks
determines the heat output. The wicks are
pulled through the wick tubes and the red knob visible
above on each heater raises a plate so all wicks raise
and lower simultaneously. The wicks are inexpensive
and in an emergency you can liberate cotton strands from
a mop head to re-wick a stove. The stoves are all
metal, only one moving part, and if cared for will last
Each of the various
multi-wick stoves above fits a specific purpose. I
prefer the #2487 and A-822 for ease of lighting because
of their open sides, but the #2698 has a definite purpose
as a heavy duty stove. The two-burner #2648 is
amazingly versatile at an inexpensive price. For
everyday use it is just fine: 7,000 BTU output is more
than sufficient for normal cooking requirements.
Those who simply want to have a stove stored for power
outages will find the 10-wick #2641 extremely handy
Pages on this web
Lanterns and Ovens
Older Butterfly stoves from Y2K sometimes surface in new condition, the
box never even opened. Some of those older stoves were very
inexpensive when made and sold and need a little more care to set them
up properly. The cooking stand can also be of great help for
supporting an oven or even a canner.
Setting Up A Multi-Wick Butterfly #2628 Stove
Building A Cooking Stand
Non-Electric Cooking & Kitchen Equipment
CANNING WITH A SMALL
The stove top strength of all but the #2487 and
#2698, in my opinion, are not large or strong enough to safely support
the width and weight of a loaded water bath canner. Yes, it could be
done, but it is much better to build a cook stand...the stove fits
underneath the stand, and the stand itself supports all the weight of
a very wide, heavy canner. If you do not have the scrap metal on hand
to build a cooking stand (below), it is actually less expensive to buy
a #2687 and have not only a spare stove, but a hotter stove. Canning
with only one single-burner stove is NOT desirable! For example, how
do you simmer the lids? A small, everyday meal cooking stove combined
with a larger, hotter canning stove makes canning safe and efficient.
cooking stand may be made using inexpensive pre-drilled 1 1/2"
angle iron or the legs and top bracing, and a piece of "expanded"
steel bolted to the top.
Note details of the construction of the cooking
stand. The legs (12" average) and top brace (at least 12 x 12") are 1
" steel strap, bolted together with 3/8" bolts (3/4" long) with nuts
and lock washer on the inside.
The top is steel "expanded metal," cut to fit and
bolted to the top using 3/8" bolts (1" long) with fender washers to
secure the expanded metal to the top.
The actual measurements of the top size do not
matter so long as it is at least a foot square. If you find a scrap of
expanded steel at a lumber yard that is 12" x 15," you can use it to
make a 13" x 16" stand simply by cutting 1 " pre-drilled strapping
with 2 pieces 13" long and 2 pieces 16" long, plus 4 legs at 12"
each.. The top brackets are cut one inch longer and wider than the
piece of expanded steel so that sharp edges of the expanded metal are
recessed from the edge of the top bracket when bolted down.
Pieces of pre-drilled 1 " flat strapping are first
held against the top corners at close to a 45 degree angle, holes
aligned, then marked with a pencil. Cut with a hack saw, deburr with a
file, then bolt on the corner braces on the inside of the legs and
top. Look closely at the illustration above and you will see the
The end result is a stand that will support
literally hundreds of pounds very safely. A wide water bath canner,
for example, will easily fit and not be the least bit "tippy," and all
the weight is off the stove!
Use your imagination when making a cooking stand.
One of my stove customers (Carolyn in Lapeer, MI) made their cooking
stand from the frame of an old aquarium! Left to right, the stoves
are a Swastik, a "Golden Night," and a Premier. Note the wick stoves
are sitting in safety carry/drip trays...this is one smart lady. Here
are Carolyn's own words:
made me a cook stand for my kerosene cookers. He made it out of a
stout 4 ft. long aquarium stand that we had in the shed. He also had
a piece of galvanized steel that are used as walkway grates. He
welded that under the top of the aquarium stand. The aquarium stand
is an 18" tall "lowboy" and it is just perfect for this use. The
stand was black and he added steel sides and back and painted it red.
It looks real nice."
When reading the above descriptions of the stoves
and lanterns, you will note that I have made reference to the
"multi-fuel" capabilities of the Butterfly #2412, the "Golden Night,"
etc. "Multi-fuel" means kerosene, diesel, #1 stove oil, and other
assorted fuel oils, including alcohol, and in extreme emergencies,
gasoline. Gasoline is a highly volatile fuel, however, so I DO NOT
recommend its use. Due to the inherent burning qualities of the fuels
themselves, only kerosene should be used when the stoves or lantern
are used indoors, as the other fuels produce excessive quantities of
carbon monoxide. If used outdoors, or even in garage with the door
open, ANY place with adequate ventilation, the other fuels may be
burned without danger.
You may encounter the phrase "dual fuel" in
conjunction with some Coleman stoves and lanterns. That refers to
unleaded gasoline and white gas, also called "Coleman Fuel."
Gasoline in all its forms produces explosive vapors
and can explode. Kerosene (and other fuels) used in "multi-fuel"
stoves is NOT explosive, does NOT produce explosive fumes, and IS
stable in storage.
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