Primus is a brand name of Aktiebolaget B.A. Hjorth, Sweden. Their lantern models 981 (upper left and lower) and 991 (upper right) are single-mantled, 300 cp, and kerosene burning. Model 981 is date stamped AD which is 1939 while Model 991 is date stamped AT which is 1954. Model 981 hasn’t been used and came from Swedish Army storage (Swedish Army logo in lower image is on the bottom). Originally nickel plated, the Model 991 lantern has been polished to brass. It is in Neil McRae’s collection.
Neil McRae has identified 3 Primus models that were made in WWII that were converted from kerosene burners to alcohol burners due to a shortage of fuels. This 391 lantern, in Magnus Thilander’s collection, is one of these models. A 200cp lantern, it is dated 1940 and has the original model plate covered by the Model 391 plate.
These Model 1001 Primus lanterns date to 1930 (left), 1931 (center), and 1937 (right). The model varies in the ventilator finish and clips, collar holes, and other features. It is unusual in having two air tubes meet the generator below the burner. The mantle is tied above and below as on a Tilley. George Burl owns the lantern on the left and Frederik Tivemark owns the lanterns in the center and on the right.
Model 1003 (left image) is a large fount version of Model 1001 above. This lantern, in Bo Ryman’s collection, “…is specially suitable for Poultry Farms, etc., as it will burn for 20 hours on one filling of 4 pints of paraffin.” (Condrup Cat. No. 347). For comparison in the right image (l to r) are Models 1080, 1021 (see below), and 1003. This 1003 lantern is date coded 1932.
This Primus Model 1020 lantern (left) is brass rather than nickel plated brass. It was made in 1931 and is in Magnus Thilander’s collection. This model is a 300cp kerosene fueled lantern. Primus Model 1320 (right), in Frederik Tivemark’s collection, was made in 1941 using the Model 1020 but with different generator parts to burn alcohol.
Primus Model 1021 is a larger fount version of Model 1020 above. This lantern in Bo Ryman’s collection, is date stamped 1938. The fount has a 4 3/8 pint capacity and was advertised as being able to run for 14 to 15 hours on a single filling, in “…many places, where it has to be left for several hours without attention.” (Primus Cat. 5457, 1934).
Primus made an acetylene fueled lantern, Model 1031. The silver upper chamber holds water which is dripped at a controlled rate (upper left valve) on calcium carbide crystals in the lower chamber to produce acetylene. The flame lacks a mantle and provides a modest light. This lantern was repainted by a previous owner.
Model 1051 is an earlier model (1930 left and center), 1937 (right) with two mantles & gasoline fueled. The torch (center) is kept in an alcohol supplied fount well and can be removed to preheat the generator. There is a blow torch preheater on the 1937 version that produces a gentle flame only. These lanterns are in Neil McRae’s collection.
This Primus Model 1060 lantern is a gasoline, not a kerosene model, and is a copy of the Coleman 236 Major – note the fuel cap, globe, and generator tip cleaner lever. This lantern, dated 1954, now in George Remkus’ collection, was originally owned by an employee of Primus and has never been used.
Primus Model 1080 is a 400cp kerosene lantern that was available with an alcohol preheater cup (as seen here) or a kerosene preheater torch. It also came with a mica globe rather than a glass globe (Neil McRae). This lantern, in Steve & Jill Wood’s collection, is dated AC=1938. The nickel plating on the ventilator was removed during restoration.
Primus made Model 1082S (compare to above) which they rated at 450 cp. This version, in Juan Caiti’s collection, also burns kerosene and is preheated with an alcohol cup. This model was made from 1952 to 1954, according to Nils Stephenson, who also notes that this model was B.A. Hjorth’s first attempt at producing a high output lantern.
Aktiebolaget Lux, Stockholm, Sweden, made this single mantle, gasoline fueled, 250 cp lantern that had the model or code name Sirius. Bo Ryman dates this model to 1914-20. Christer Carlsson, whose collection this is in, has cleaned and run the lantern. The generator includes a tip cleaner and preheater cup that can be filled from above.
This Optimus Model 100 lantern was made by Aktiebolaget Optimus in Sweden. It is in Bo Ryman’s collection. This kerosene model is 100 cp and holds 0.75 pint of fuel.
Similar to the Model 100 above, this 100N was made in the 1950’s, near the end of pressure lamp manufacturing in Sweden, according to Bo Ryman. This lamp, in Darcy Vantiger’s collection, has a modified handle and a bracket was added by a previous owner, perhaps for wall mounting.
After an initial design of Model 200 that was only made in 1930, Optimus modified the design as you see above, which was produced from 1931 to about 1935. This version, in Frederik Tivemark’s collection, can be identified by the filler cap and generator type. The ventilator cap is held in place by bracket on this early version. A mica globe was optional in this period; this one is a reproduction.
The Model 200P Optimus on the left was owned by the Swedish Civil Defense, as signified by the yellow stamp. Many were sold to the public in 2000 when the Army reduced its inventory at surplus stores. This military version of the model, in Kevin Darnell’s collection, lacks a pressure gauge and air bleed screw. The version on the right, Model 200G (but marked 200P on the fount) in Frederik Tivemark’s collection, was made circa 1973 based on printed material in the box and includes a manometer. This kerosene model is 200/300 cp and holds 1.25 pints of fuel. To date, we don’t know what the “P” suffix in the model number stands for.
Model 200 was also made in a benzine (gasoline) fueled, 200B version. For safety reasons this version lacks the pressure release in the filler cap. The valve wheel on the left is the fuel shut-off; the valve wheel on the right is the tip cleaner. This lantern is in Jan Merkestein’s collection.
This Optimus 300 model is unusual as it is gasoline fueled, not kerosene, and is therefore Model 300B. Note the straight generator lacking a loop as on a kerosene fueled model. The lantern still requires preheating; note the alcohol preheater cup in the right image. The valve wheel closer to the generator is a positive fuel shutoff; the other valve wheel is for the tip cleaner. This lantern, in Agostino Del Coro’s collection, dates to the late 1930s – early 1940s (Stephenson).
Optimus Model 1200 is similar to Model 200 above but includes a rapid preheater that is controlled by a valve wheel. Frederik Tivemark, whose collection this is in, dates this version to the late 1940’s – early 1950’s. The pump and pressure gauge are on the opposite side of the fount and not visible in this image.
Another Optimus Model 1200, this is the B version for benzine (gasoline). Optimus perhaps made this lantern in the 1970’s or ’80’s for markets other than European as this version does not show up there (Nils Stephenson). The generator for gasoline (right) lacks the loop at the top which is necessary for vaporizing less volatile kerosene. This lantern is in Bob Meyer’s collection.
This version of Optimus Model 1550 was made from the late 1960s to the early 1980s (Nils Stephenson). This is Model 1550G as it includes a pressure gauge (mounted in the fount to the right of the fuel valve) and a rapid preheater. The lantern was made in Sweden at Upplands Väsby and was rated at 500cp. This lantern is in Erwin Schäfer’s collection.
The Radius brand was manufactured by Aktiebolaget Radius, Stockholm, Sweden. Radius Model 101 (left), 102 (center), and 103 (right) are 100, 200, and 300 cp models that are kerosene fueled and preheated with alcohol. By turning the air regulating wire by the gas mixing tube to the left Model 101 can also be run on gasoline (Keller). Model 101 is in Herman Mulder’s collection; Model 102 is in Russ Baldwin’s collection. The windows in two of the founts show the fuel levels – to the left in the center image and to the right in the right image; they utilize floating corks on the ends of pivoting wires.
The Radius 108 lantern (left) is a little taller than the similar Optimus 930 model (right). Neil McRae dates his 108 lantern to the 1950’s or 60’s. Both are 300 cp kerosene models. The Optimus is fitted with an optional glass handle, which, with a shade, would be used in the home as a lamp.
This Radius 110 lantern was advertised in 1954-56. Instead of a valve wheel it has a lever that projects out of the collar (lower image) that can be unhooked from the closed position to the right, moved all the way to the left for tip cleaning, and run in the middle position. The lever clamps on the bottom of the tip cleaner rod (“A” in the upper right image). The threads at B engage threads inside the vaporizer at the intersection of the upper end of the loop to raise and lower the needle for tip cleaning and running. This lantern is in Frederik Tivemark’s collection.
Radius Model 110A followed Model 110 above circa 1956. This model includes a valve wheel (upper left image) that has less than a full revolution to control the rack (upper right image, lower right corner) and pinion (lower image, inside the housing). The lantern runs when the valve is open halfway and the orifice tip is cleaned when the valve is turned all the way to the left. The lantern is designed to shut off when the valve is turned all the way to the right. This lantern is in Erwin Schäfer’s collection.
Radius Model 115, in Dan MacPherson’s collection, includes a preheater torch and came in 300 and 500cp versions. and is correspondingly built with a higher collar than the Model 119 below. The pump has a bail to hold the pump handle down. This model appears in a 1939 catalog and another of this model came in a box with a 1942 date stamp.
This Radius Model 116 is also stamped Statsbanene = Norwegian State Railways. The lantern, in Harald Hogseth’s collection, has a REVOLTO torch preheater mounted on the filler cap (right) as well as an alcohol cup for preheating. The lever in the right image functions as on Model 110 above (Carlsson); it is marked Öppen (open) and Stängd (closed). This model is kerosene fueled and is rated at 300 cp.
Radius Model 118 also utilized a side to side lever in lieu of a valve wheel as on Models 110 and 116 above (upper image). This Model 118 is a 300 cp kerosene fueled lantern in Neil McRae’s collection. Neil pivoted the Revolto preheater away from the opening in the frame base plate to show its blowtorch effect (lower image). The Revolto accessory is mounted where the filler plug would normally be located and is controlled by the lever projecting to the left from the middle of the preheater in the upper image. The Revolto includes a fuel pickup tube that reaches the bottom of the fount.
Radius 119 is a 300 cp kerosene model that was made in Sweden by Aktiebolaget Radius Stockholm. Neil McRae, who owns the lantern on the left, speculates that all the Swedish companies must have licensed the burner parts from the German consortium of Hugo Schneider, Hirschorn, Erich and Graetz, and Standard Licht as these four companies jointly patented the helical coil generator around 1927. The military version on the right, in Bob Fladung’s collection, has a cook top surface.
Radius 145 is a No. 17 nickel plated tripod stove with a Radius lantern accessory replacing the stove burner. This kerosene lantern is preheated with alcohol. The wire frame, replacement Optimus globe, and generator hold the lantern burner in position and allow it to be carried by the handle. This lantern, which may date to the 1930s, is in John Rugotzke’s collection.
© 2000-2023 Terry Marsh