... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Ripping yarns

Oh, we have been buying some things (I know I never posted the promised photo of the inappropriate bling, but we'll get there in the end. This is even more exciting).

It was Jim MacDonald, on Elizabeth (a fascinating boat) who said, when I was complaining at Alvecote about the Primus, that we should get a Beatrice stove. So we did (although not as nice, or indeed as cheap, as this beauty, albeit the same model). When our paths crossed again at Retford, I mentioned how pleased I was with it. Jim (M.) then said that he'd spotted a Rippingilles stove at Newark antiques market the previous week. Too my shame, I had never heard of one of these, although they get a (relatively) famous mention in Erskine Childers The Riddle of the Sands, which I immediately downloaded onto the iPad and began to read. I also Googled a few pictures and decided that this was definitely something worth looking at, so as Jim had just collected the car from Alvecote, we hopped in and set off from Retford back to Newark last Thursday. The market was somewhat denuded as there was a big event on somewhere else, and I though that we wouldn't see it after all, until Jim (C.) nudged me and whispered 'behind you!' and there it was. Having seen it of course we had to buy it.
It's in astoundingly good condition and looks as if it's never been used, although I suspect it's lost its original hotplates. It is, of course, paraffin fired. It has two tanks/burners, each with a 4 1/2 inch wick, two hotplates on the top and an oven in the middle. They were made by the Albion Lamp Company of Birmingham, from around 1880 onwards. Not many were sold in Britain as by this time most households (at least those in the market for this sort of thing) had gas - at least, so Wikipedia tells me. But they were a big hit in the colonies as you might imagine. My reproduction 1907 Army and Navy Stores catalogue carries four or five different models, as well as some gorgeous enamelled heating stoves. None seems to have the ornate cast iron sides of ours though.

It is destined for Singapore, where it should look absolutely gorgeous. As to whether it will cook, that remains to be seen. It seems a shame to put a match to those wicks after all these pristine years. Isn't it wonderful though.


  1. Used to cook breakfast for 5 on one of these about 20 years ago.

    The Riddle of the Sands reference is for a Rippingille no.3, is that in the catalogue you mention perchance?, have not found it to date.

  2. There seems to be a profusion of model numbers. The book I have is called 'Yesterday's Shopping' and is a facsimile of the 1907 Army and Navy Stores Catalogue - all 1282 pages of it. This lists Rippingilles stoves numbered 13, 14, 438 and 464. Mine is numbered 270. This chap here
    has another one again. The differences, other than size, seem to be mainly variations on the type of door and catch.

    A couple of people have suggested that they might have continued manufacture in India after production ceased in Britain (which one source says was in the early/mid 1920s, while another shows an Indian ad for them in the 30s) and that this might account for the fancy cast sides on ours which do not appear on any of the other ones I've seen pictures of. This sounds plausible, but I can find no reference anywhere to it having been the case. I guess an email to the Birmingham Museum might be my next step.

    By the way, ours seems to be missing the plates/covers in the top. It does have two cast pot stands, but they seem to fit better inside the holes, on top of the oven. From your experience would you say that this is right, or shouldn't they be there at all?

  3. Sorry, mine is numbered 470.

  4. Mine is numbered 116 A

  5. Hi all,

    not sure if anyone still uses this thread, but came across your fascinating information about a No.464 Rippingille being mentioned in the 1907 edition A&N Store catalogue.
    I still have my grandmothers No.464, but sadly it is very rusty in condition so I am amazed at the condition of the one you were so lucky to find. Mine looks very similar apart from the ornate side panels. Could you let me know where you found the facsimile of the A&N catalogue, I would really appreciate it,
    kind regards, Stephanie