What is a Spirit Cooker Stove?

What is a Spirit Cooker Stove?

The Silver Spirit Stove Cast Iron Burner is a type of portable alcohol burner that was used for cooking or heating, usually on the go, like in campaign or hiking.

Liquid Courage

In the mid-1800s, there was a convergence of different types of stove users finding alcohol as a way of heating water and food. In 1850, French-born Alex Soyer was the first recorded person to cook with gas outside with a temporary stove at The Royal Agricultural Show.

Alex Soyer and his Magic Stove

This lead to his wildly popular invention: Soyer’s Magic Stove (or Lilliputian Apparatus - Lilliput being a reference to the 1726 novel Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift).  The 'magic' stove used alcohol in a container that supplied the fuel to a separate stove, yet packed in a small, light contraption that could collapse and be carried around. It provided instant heat, different than waiting for hours for a cast iron cooking stove to heat up properly.

It made quite an impression.

Soyer's Magic Stove, 1850

From Russia with Love

Around the mid 1850s mountaineer Frances Fox Tuckett created his version that came from the cook of the Royal Canoe Club, who modified his from a Russian version. It was made famous by John MacGregor in his 1866 book, A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe on Rivers and Lakes of Europe. The illustration can be seen here: 

Rob Roy Stove

To Defy the Laws of Tradition

Swedish inventor Frans Wilhelm Lindqvist started producing the Primus stove (real name) in 1892 using kerosene. This is the style of portable stove we most recognize that's still in use today - probably because many who used the kerosene portable stove weren't drinking the fuel.

Swedish inventor Frans Wilhelm Lindqvist started producing the Primus stove


Shake Hands with Beef

American Cast Iron

Nestled between that time between the 1870s to the 1890s, America got in on the action with these compact, versatile cast iron alcohol stoves were made. Some saw it as a gimmick, others saw it as an opportunity. They were lightweight, able to get wet, and with dry cotton and liquid spirits a hiker was probably carrying with them anyway, were able to heat water and food quickly. The idea eventually gave way to Lindqvist's stove became the choice for every Nature Boy and Green Ranger. 

The spirit Cooker Stove

See How it Works

To see the cast iron spirit stove operate, check out the first from the Industrial Artifacts TikTok account.
Rusty Shades restoration has a full restoration of a similar spirit stove, and an arguably safer demonstration at the end.



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