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Flame Heated Soldering Irons

Soldering irons have been around for over 4,000 years.
Up until the 1920s most were heated by open flame.
Torch heated soldering irons (also called Coppers) were commonly used by
roofers and plumbers into the 1950s and gas powered
irons were used in manufacturing metal and tin items.

E. C. Stearns Soldering Iron
This is a late 1800s cast iron soldering iron with a copper tip.
It was manufactured by E. C. Stearns Co., Syracuse N.Y., length 12.5".
Larger Photo     Tip     Handle
Factory, Syracuse NY     E. C. Stearns Tool Catalog

Detroit Soldering Iron
Detroit Soldering Iron
This is a large flame heated cast iron soldering iron with a copper tip.
The tip is stamped with a Detroit in a diamond, and a #6. The handle has what looks to be a patent date of 12-08-20. It's overall length is 19.5" and it weighs three pounds, four ounces. The copper tip alone is six inches long and over one inch wide. This beast is the largest iron in my collection.
Larger Photo     Size Comparison     Tip     Grip

Millers Falls Soldering Casket No. 2 Millers Falls Soldering Iron Set No. 2
This Millers Falls "Soldering Casket No. 2" soldering iron set is in a wooden box with instructions on how to use it to seal and open fruit cans. The small round wooden container of rosin has instructions to poke a hole through the top and not to open the container to apply rosin.
Larger Photo

Old Reliable soldering iron with torch Old Reliable Soldering Iron
This is a soldering iron/torch combination. The wood handle iron sets in a hook on the top of the torch and the shaft rests in a holder to allow the large copper tip to heat in the torches flame.
Larger Photo

Lenk Gasoline torch Lenk Gasoline torch
This small brass torch operates on gasoline. It fills by removing a bolt on the bottom. It's only 6¾" high. It was manufactured by The Lenk Mfg. Company, Newton, Mass.
Larger Photo
Lenk Badge

Sharp and Smith trocar Fooled you...
I bet you thought this was a soldering iron. So did the person that sold it to me.
It does resemble a soldering iron. This was manufactured by Sharp and Smith of Chicago and is really an early trocar (or trochar) medical instrument. It was used to punch a hole on the abdomen to gain access or expel gas or fluids. Yuck either way.
This all metal instrument has a point like a soldering iron and a sleeve that slides over the shaft so once the instrument punches a hole, the shaft can be pulled back out leaving the sleeve in place. Total length is 9¼ inches.
Larger Photo
Sleve removed

Gas Soldering Irons Gas Soldering Iron Tips
Here are a couple of typical Gas powered soldering irons. Mostly used in manufacturing or construction settings where constant heat was needed for soldering metal work.
Larger Photo

Justrite No. 39 Soldering Iron Justrite No. 39 Soldering Iron
This Justrite Soldering Iron soldering iron/torch combination was patented in 1924 (#1518404) and uses gasoline or alcohol as a fuel. Several tips and accessories are included in the original box.
Larger Photo
Accessories in box

And now for something completely different.
Quick-Shot Thermite Soldering Iron
The "Quick-Shot" Thermite Soldering Iron
That's right "Thermite" (as in Thermite Bomb). It's quite safe if used properly, even though Thermite was used by the Germans in World War II to make bombs for burning cities and used as a trigger in hand grenades, it was also used to weld railroad rails for years, warm baby bottles, and to create heat in these "Quick-Shot" portable soldering irons.

The Quick-Shot soldering iron unscrews behind the copper tip and you insert a "Thermit" cartridge. You then pull out the spring loaded plunger at the end of the handle and let it go (just like launching a ball on a pinball machine). The plunger pierces the cartridge and starts the chemical reaction. It heats in about 20 seconds and each cartridge lasts about eight minutes.

Warning - If a cartridge is broken or pierced outside the iron
it turns white hot and there is a high risk of burns or fire.

This Quick-Shot model number KS-14582-LI above was manufactured by the Kemode Manufacturing Co. Inc. New York. Original cost with one cartridge was $5.95 in 1948 and around $16.50 by 1956. Cartridges were around $6.00 per dozen.
Larger Photo     Open     In Box     Cartridges and Box     Cartridge Warning    
1952 Patent (later invalidated)(PDF file)     1948 Ad

Instructions: Page 1     Page 2
Excerpt from 1956 U.S. Army conference on Thermite: Quick-Shot Soldering Iron (PDF file)
Clark 1007 Thermite Soldering Iron
Kemode QS-200 Thermite Soldering Iron
This never used model QS-200 set by the Kemode Manufacturing Co. contains the QS-200 iron, 3 tips (1/8, 1/4, and 3/8 inch) a cleaning brush, and a box of twelve Thermite cartridges.
Photo - Box       Photo - Items

Clark 1007 Thermite Soldering Iron
Clark 1007 Thermite Soldering Iron
This thermite iron's tips look to be interchangeable with the Kemode Quick-Shot iron shown above and the cartridges fit. I could not find any information on a manufacturer and do not know if this thermite powered iron was made for Clark by Kemode Manufacturing Co..
Warning - If a cartridge is broken or pierced outside the iron
it turns white hot and there is a high risk of burns or fire.

Larger Photo (Model 1007 - Black Handle, and model 1007 - Gray Handle)


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