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What on Earth would this be used for?

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Martin King 226/07/2021 16:07:28
857 forum posts
361 photos

Hi All,

We often get the old brass pump up type blow lamps in with the stuff we buy and some sell OK and some just go for scrap.

At Cheddar yesterday my wife called me over to look at this colossus!

burmos 1.jpg

burmos 2.jpg

This thing takes 5 PINTS of paraffin and pumps up to 30psi!

It is bloody heavy and I cannot see how anyone could possibly use it!

Does it have a special application? The chap I got it from said that he thought it might be something to do with old railways?

It is British made and is a BURMOS IB/4166 with a 1954 date stamp.

There are some pics on the 'net but no explanation as to what it would be used for?

Cheers, Martin

Tim Rowe26/07/2021 16:17:58
32 forum posts
4 photos


A wild guess. Maybe a starter for a hot bulb engine.


Nicholas Farr26/07/2021 16:40:21
2962 forum posts
1335 photos

Hi Martin, my father had one the same size, they can be used for brazing large lumps, or just heating metal for bending or beating out with a hammer, they will chuck out a fair bit of heat. Of course in my father's day, there weren't many convenient portable gas types about for a DIY budget.

Regards Nick.

SillyOldDuffer26/07/2021 17:01:21
7482 forum posts
1657 photos

My guess it's for soldering large lead sheathed power cables, chemical plumbing, or ornamental lead work like drain pipes and waterspouts. They all need more heat than a domestic blowlamp can provide. Do I remember early LBSC recommending 5 pint blowlamps for boiler work?


Speedy Builder526/07/2021 17:09:44
2392 forum posts
184 photos

I used one just like this for silver soldering a 5" boiler back in the 60's. I wouldn't think that they were making new hot bulb engines post 1954


John Hinkley26/07/2021 17:12:04
1171 forum posts
390 photos

According to the Blow lamp society web site (yes, there really is one) it's a brass tank brazing blow lamp, which would seem reasonable, given the size of the tank and what Nick says, above. They also made one with a steel tank, apparently. By the way, that site also states that the trade name BURMOS is that of Townson and Coxon of Birmingham. They appear still to be trading.

Michael Gilligan will soon be along with chapter and verse on the patent details, I expect. He's rather good at that!


Andrew Tinsley26/07/2021 17:14:44
1461 forum posts

I have a similar one and use it for general heat when silver soldering large boilers. It was given to me by an old model engineer who used it for 3 1/2" gauge boilers pre WW2..

I take my hat off to people like that. I am pretty sure I could not use it for small boiler work!


larry phelan 126/07/2021 17:36:09
1079 forum posts
14 photos

!Them were the days, when men were men, and women were glad about it !

My Father had one of those things, would put the fear of God into you !

Sad to say, it went AWOL, like many other things, when I had to "Move House "

On the same track, I once saw a Primus stove about 5 times as big as any I had ever seen before, I dont know what size the tank was, but you would not carry it around on your bike like I did with my little one !

I think it must have been Ex Army.

Nigel Bennett26/07/2021 17:56:29
413 forum posts
11 photos

I had one and tried to braze a boiler with it. I found that the flame (despite the thing being fully warmed up) still contained unburned paraffin and tended to cover the job with a film of oil - hardly conducive to good joints.

If you opened the throttle with it before it was vaporising properly, you would get a jet of burning paraffin shooting several yards, which was - erm - interesting. I did manage to braze up a bike frame with it, but when the vaporiser burst, thankfully with no fatal consequences, I bought a Sievert torch and since then I have used no other, as they say.

Horrendous things, 5 pint blowlamps - and as Martin says, it was bloody heavy. Glad it's gone!

Bazyle26/07/2021 18:30:35
6010 forum posts
220 photos

I think if you read Curly's ramblings from pre '60s he often mentions the 'five pint blowlamp' The alternative would have been a coke fire.

Clive Brown 126/07/2021 18:40:24
688 forum posts
32 photos

As said, standard equipment before bottled propane became widely available. Present generation of model engineers dont know they're born!

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