The Swedish-made Svea 123 is a small liquid-fuel (naphtha, commonly referred to as “white gas” or “Coleman fuel”) pressurized-burner camping stove that traces its origins to designs first pioneered in the late 1800s. Svea stoves were first made by [http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Richard_Nyberg#Tillverkning_i_Sundbyberg|C.R. Nybergs Lödlampfabrik,] which also manufactured blowtorches as well as other machinery and equipment. Founded by Carl Nyberg, the firm later became one of the largest industries in Sundbyberg, Sweden. In 1922, the business was taken over by Max Sievert, an early associate of Nyberg’s, and renamed Sieverts Lödlampfabrik (later known as [http://www.sievert.se Sievert AB] ). The Svea 123, introduced in 1955, is considered to be the first compact white gas stove [ Outside Magazine, April 2002, “The Gear Years 1875-2002.”] and one of the most popular camping stoves ever made. [ H. Manning, "Backpacking: One Step At A Time," p.274 (Vintage Books 1980)] Its distinctive “roaring” sound has been likened to that of a jet engine at takeoff. [ Outsideonline, Nov. 12, 2002, “Gear Guy – Do you know of a camping stove that’s not too noisy?”] In 1970, the Svea brand was acquired by Optimus, another Swedish manufacturer of portable stoves, which continued production of the Svea 123 for another three decades. Because of its simple design [ B. Mason, "Song of the Paddle: An Illustrated Guide to Wilderness Camping," p.50 (Firefly Books 2004)] and reputation for dependable performance, [ R. Mueser, "Long Distance Hiking: Lessons learned from the Appalachian Trail," p.58 (Ragged Mountain Press 1997)] even under extreme conditions, [ F. Bouwman, "The Practical Camp Book," p.84 (Horizon 1998)] the Svea 123 enjoys a devoted following.
The popularity of portable camping stoves such as the Svea coincided with the increase during the 1950s and 1960s in the awareness of the environmental impact of backpacking, [ C. Jensen & S. Guthrie, "Outdoor Recreation in America," p.31 (Human Kinetics 6th Ed. 2006)] particularly in heavily-traveled areas, [ S. Cox & K. Fulsaas, "Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills," pp.123-24 (Mountaineers Books 7th Ed. 2003)] and the rise of the Leave No Trace ethic in the 1970s and 1980s. [ A. McGibney, "Leave No Trace: A Guide to the New Wilderness Etiquette," pp. 29, 31 (Mountaineers Books 2d Ed. 2003)] At the same time, scarcity of fuel in over-used camping areas as well as regulatory requirements (open-fire bans) also contributed to the need for a substitute for open campfires for "wilderness" area cooking. [ M. Mouland, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Camping and Hiking," p.74 (Alpha Books 2nd Ed. 2000)] Eventually stoves that were lighter in weight than the Svea, as well as those of other designs that were capable of burning a wider variety of fuels (useful when camping in other parts of the world where white gas is difficult to find) knocked it from its perch as one of the most popular backpacking stoves after nearly 50 years of production. [ C. Townsend, "The Backpacker's Handbook," p.216, 221 (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press 2d Ed. 1996)] However, the rugged and durable Svea 123 -- often described by long-time users as "bomb-proof" [ C. Latimer, "Wilderness Cuisine," p.65 (Wilderness Press 1991)] -- still remains popular and continues in wide use. [ A. Getchell & R. Getchell, "The Essential Outdoor Gear Manual," p.96 (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press 2d Ed. 2000)]
Made of solid
brass, the Svea 123 weighs about 500 grams (19 ounces), measures 100 mm x 130 mm (3.9” x 5.1”) and will burn for over an hour on full tank (about 4 ounces) of fuel. Later models (designated the “Svea 123R” and also sold as the Optimus “Climber”) were made with a built-in cleaning needle to keep the burner jet from clogging by pushing soot or other impurities outward; early Sievert models without the self-cleaning needle came with a small wire pricker that is used to clean the burner jet manually. These older models are distinguishable by their downwardly-angled spindle, which houses the control valve and to which the adjusting key is attached. The spindle on a Svea 123R with the self-cleaning needle is at a right angle to the stem. Some users have reported clogging and other operational problems with the self-cleaning needle, such as that the stove may not simmer as well as the earlier Sievert models, [ R. Wood, “The 2 oz. Backpacker: A Problem Solving Manual for Use in the Wilds,” p.94 (Ten Speed Press 1982)] but reports from years of field use of the Svea on the Appalachian Trail indicate that it has the lowest record of clogging among stoves used on the trail. [ R. Mueser, “Long Distance Hiking: Lessons Learned from the Appalachian Trail,” p.58 (Ragged Mountain Press 1997)] A brass windscreen attaches directly to the stove, and has built-in pot supports that fold inward for storage. The aluminum lid comes with a detachable handle and can also be used as a small cook-pot. [ Optimus Svea 123 Instruction Guide (undated), circa 1983.]
How it Works
The fuel tank is pressurized by lighting a small amount fuel poured into the primer pan (a small well) at the base of the burner. The tank can also be pressurized by an optional pump that may be attached to the filler cap, but this is generally not necessary except in extreme cold. The pre-heated fuel then flows through the interior gas chambers to the vaporizer (the vertical stem connecting the fuel tank to the burner), where the liquid fuel is vaporized. The vaporized fuel is then forced through the burner jet where it mixes with oxygen and then burns with a blue flame. Adjusting the flow of the vaporized fuel that is forced through the burner jet controls the flame size and heat output. The flow is controlled by turning the adjusting key on the spindle. The spindle is threaded in the burner housing, and as it is opened (by turning the adjusting key) it opens like a faucet and the vaporized fuel flows through the burner jet. Closing the spindle closes the fuel supply.
The cleaning needle on the Svea 123R model has two small toothed cogs that face each other, which cleans the burner jet from both the inside and outside when using the stove. The cleaning needle moves upward and downward when the spindle is turned; when the spindle is fully opened, the needle clears the burner jet’s opening. As the spindle is closed, the needle retracts into the burner housing. In this way, any soot that may clog the burner jet is expelled.
* Beverage-can stove
* [http://www.optimus.se Optimus SE]
* [http://www.sievert.se Sievert AB]
* [http://www.spiritburner.com Classic Camp Stoves]
* [http://stovecollector.tripod.com The Stove Collector]
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