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Farm + Industrial Antiques and Collectibles Old belt driven farm equipment: shellers, milkers, threshers, pumps and antiquities of the industrial revolution.

Farm + Industrial Antiques and Collectibles

Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?


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Old 08-11-2018, 11:30:26 PM
markH markH is offline
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Default Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

found this gem at an estate sale, Dad and I looked at it and we figure maybe it could be a soldering iron that ran on Calcium carbide ? some white residue inside, there is a "cloth" inside also. No manufacturer markings. Any ideas ?? Thanks
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:57:34 PM
Mike Rock Mike Rock is offline
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Default Re: soldering iron, Calcium carbide ?

Sure looks like it. The carbide residue is just like we had in our mining lamps.

God bless.
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Old 08-12-2018, 10:02:39 AM
Kirk Taylor Kirk Taylor is offline
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Default Re: Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

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Originally Posted by markH View Post
found this gem at an estate sale, Dad and I looked at it and we figure maybe it could be a soldering iron that ran on Calcium carbide ? some white residue inside, there is a "cloth" inside also. No manufacturer markings. Any ideas ?? Thanks
Nice soldering iron. The fuel is alcohol, not carbide. You can see the wick in your third photo. If you try to use it, make sure the cap seals, otherwise you'll soon have a ball of fire in your hand.
Carbide appliances have two separate chambers; one for water and one for carbide. The water gravity-feeds through a regulating adjustment into the carbide where it produces acetylene.
Your soldering iron has only one chamber with a wick, so it was definitely designed for liquid fuel, not carbide.

Kirk
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:58:25 PM
radiodoc radiodoc is offline
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Default Re: Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

Many years ago a cousin of mine worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in their signal department. Out in the boonies he used a Thermite soldering iron to make repairs where there was not any electricity. He showed me how it was used. The tip of the iron would be unscrewed and a cartridge would be inserted and the tip screwed back on. He would then pull a knob on the end of the iron, let it go, and in a few seconds the tip was hot enough to solder with. I don't think the heat lasted more than maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
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Old 08-12-2018, 03:53:19 PM
markH markH is offline
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Default Re: Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

Thanks for the the responses !
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Old 08-12-2018, 06:23:02 PM
Mike Rock Mike Rock is offline
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Default Re: Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

Just wondering again.....in the second photo, there is a valve. What is just to the left of the valve? Is there a small orifice, maybe with a ceramic bead or button with a tiny hole in it? I just don't see a wick protruding for the alcohol flame. The piece of cloth may not be a wick attached to anything, but may be a source of water for the carbide to react with. It would stay damp and react long enough to do minor soldering jobs, not a production setup at all.
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:18:27 PM
Kirk Taylor Kirk Taylor is offline
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Default Re: Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

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Just wondering again.....in the second photo, there is a valve. What is just to the left of the valve? Is there a small orifice, maybe with a ceramic bead or button with a tiny hole in it? I just don't see a wick protruding for the alcohol flame. The piece of cloth may not be a wick attached to anything, but may be a source of water for the carbide to react with. It would stay damp and react long enough to do minor soldering jobs, not a production setup at all.
Do a Google image search for "Justrite Soldering Iron"; you'll get a number of similar irons that operate on alcohol and/or gasoline. Also check out patent number 1518404. It shows a good cross section of an iron and gives a general description of its function.
The liquid-fueled soldering irons work in a similar fashion to other gasoline appliances like blowtorches, lamps, and camp stoves. The wick carries liquid fuel toward the little valve where the liquid is vaporized by heat conducted by the body of the iron back from the tip. The flow of vapor is controlled by the valve. A small cup of burning fuel is used to pre-heat the tip until enough heat is generated to vaporize fuel held in fuel chamber.
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Old 08-13-2018, 07:55:55 AM
maceymadness maceymadness is offline
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Default Re: Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

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Originally Posted by radiodoc View Post
Many years ago a cousin of mine worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad in their signal department. Out in the boonies he used a Thermite soldering iron to make repairs where there was not any electricity. He showed me how it was used. The tip of the iron would be unscrewed and a cartridge would be inserted and the tip screwed back on. He would then pull a knob on the end of the iron, let it go, and in a few seconds the tip was hot enough to solder with. I don't think the heat lasted more than maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
Hey I have one of those, still in the box, Never been used.
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:52:29 AM
Mike Rock Mike Rock is offline
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Default Re: Soldering Iron, Calcium Carbide?

Neat.......and Justrite was also the maker of a lot of carbide mining lamps. The alcohol/gasoline connection now makes a lot more sense to me. They were into all things 'hot'....

Mike
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