Optimus 300 (Nickel plating removed)

Discussion in '300' started by Mantis, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. Mantis

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    Acquired through our local on-line auction site. It unfortunately came with an Aida burner head which did not fit, so have another to replace it. Having looked through the reference photos for Optimus I am unable to determine the model of this lantern. It has no numbers on the underside of the font. Between the Optimus logos it states 300CP. Perhaps this might be a franken lantern.

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  2. Graham P

    Graham P Australia Subscriber

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    A very nice lamp
    Don`t Know much about these but it may have a C/Power stamped on Jet and measurements of glass and physical dimensions should help those who know more with identity.
     
  3. Mantis

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    It states 300CP on the base below the generator. The generator is an Aida unit as well. Is it possible Aida parts were used from new or swapped by a previous owner?
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    Have removed the cover from the pressure gauge. Since I am unfamiliar with this type of gauge, does anyone know what the word is on the face of this unit?
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  4. David Shouksmith

    David Shouksmith United Kingdom Founder Member

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    Solar, a Chinese manufacturer - Union Metal Works, Hong Kong.

    Looks like you have a 'bitsa' lantern...
     
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  5. Graham P

    Graham P Australia Subscriber

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    The gauge may have been replaced due to breakage or failure less likely with a Preston`s loop vaporiser, a blockage possibly. The outer casing looks original Optimus
     
  6. Mantis

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    So if this is not the original gauge then what would the original look like, and can they be still obtained? It would be nice to return this lantern back to its original condition if at all possible.
     
  7. Bo Ryman

    Bo Ryman Founder Member Subscriber

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    That is for sure an Optimus 300 you have there. The unusual is that it is clean brass. Or has the nickel been removed? Any signs of old plating?
    My guess is that this lamp is from the 50:s. You can see that from the style of the filler cap and the plastic control wheel. Another strange thing is the badge at the collar. I have neve seen any like that. Almost looks home made, but why?
    Original pressure gauges for these models are hard to find but I have a small stock. They are in nickel and of later model so not exact the right but it is original Optimus. PT me if you are interested.
    Bo
     
  8. Claus C

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    Beside the tag then the hood is strange too. No enamel and only 1 screw to fix the inner. :-k
    The overall impression looks origin and un-fettled to me though. Nice lamp. :thumbup:

    Claus C
     
  9. Bo Ryman

    Bo Ryman Founder Member Subscriber

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    The lack of enamel is a strange thing. That's why I suspect this is a custom made lantern. This style of hood was introduced in the early 50:s. The ventilator slots are rectangular and higher that on earlier models. And the top was fixed with one screw only and on later models, welded.
    I know Optimus made special designed items, mostly for military purpose. Maybe this is a model for New Zeeland army.

    Bo
     
  10. Mantis

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    If you look at the photo of the top of the tank you can see a ring where the bottom of the frame sits, both have a faint coating of the original nickle, now that I have cleaned the dirt away. The rest of the lantern is void of nickle so it must have been immersed in some acid or like solution to remove the nickle; any suggestions as to what might have been used? There appears to be no stress cracks in the tank, which is a blessing.
    This lantern was bought by the previous owner at a country fair in Holland back in the 1990's, in this condition.
    So it would seem that this is a 300 model but with a custom hood.

    Given that this discussion is turning into a fettling thread or an Optimus 300 one, perhaps the moderator might consider shifting it.

    Looking at the other 300 models it might be easier to unscrew the pressure gauge and replace it with a blank; does anyone have a blank I could purchase?
     
  11. Nils Stephenson

    Nils Stephenson Founder Member

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    This is an interesting lantern. At first glance it looks like a fairly standard Optimus 300P from about 1956. That was the basic design used for the last variation of the 300P.

    Now we get to the things that don't fit the pattern. If we start at the top, the normal 300P would have a red enamell top hat but they did make chrome or nickel top hats for the Norwegian military so this could be explained that way.

    The Aida parts will not be original and most likely from a later repair.

    The label on the collar looks to be home made. I have never seen anything like it before from the factory. That doesn't rule it out, but I'd like to see more proof.

    The pressure gauge has also been added later. Maybe at the same time as the Aida parts.

    Now for the bit I think is the strangest. The stamping on the tank only says Optimus. If it was a 300P it would be stamped 300 P after the name Optimus. The 300CP under the name is also unusual. This stamping has to come from the factory which makes it unusual. The later tanks from the 350/550/1350/1550 series only had the word Optimus, but they did not have 300CP stamped on the tank.
     
  12. Mantis

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    Yes agree the name plate does seem unusual. You would think that if they etched off the nickle then the plate would be ruined as well. Perhaps they removed it first or it is a replica, but why?
    Now does anyone know how they might have removed the nickle so well, can it be removed in a liquid bath of some solution?
     
  13. David Shouksmith

    David Shouksmith United Kingdom Founder Member

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    In theory, just about any acid will remove nickel; the trouble is, it would remove some of the brass as well. That, and the position of the nickel remnants leads me to suspect it was removed mechanically i.e. polished away, rather than chemically. Why would anyone do that? - probably the nickel was in poor condition for whatever reason; lack of care, maintenance, something spilled on it, whatever.

    The label may have been made professionally but whoever fixed it on the lantern (after the polishing) didn't do much of a job. Anyone worth his salt would have at least mounted it symmetrically. Probably the holes were in the wrong place in relation to the slats in the collar.

    Some people do the oddest things without there seeming to be any logical explanation. For example, I hear some people chuck themselves off bridges and cranes with only a rubber band attached to their ankle. Beats me... =; :lol:
     
  14. Mantis

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    Well I finally got around to servicing this lantern and getting it working and polished up. Thanks to Bo for sending me a genuine blank bolt so I could close off the vent where the pressure gauge would normally be fitted.
    Yesterday the daytime temp got to 32 degrees C so it made for a nice warm evening and a good excuse to bring out the lanterns. This Optimus was just one of three that I lit.

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