Gizmos by Category

Sinclair Stuff

Cameras & Optical

Clocks Watches Calcs

Computers & Games

Geiger Counters & Atomic Stuff

Miscellaneous & Oddities

Phones & Comms

Radio & Audio

Tape Recorders & Players

Test & Scientific Instruments

TV & Video

 

Psst...looking for cheap 

nuclear stuff?

Gizmos A - Z

15-station Desk Intercom

Academy 'Camcorder' Radio

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

Acos SLM3 Sound Level Meter

Acoustic Coupler

Advance PP5 Stabilised PSU

Aibo ERS-111 Robotic Pet

Aiwa LX-110 Linear Turntable

Aiwa TP-32A Tape Recorder

Alba PTV-11 Mini TV Clock Radio

Alcatel Minitel 1 Videotex

Aldis Folding Slide Viewer

Alpha-Tek Pocket Radio

Airlite 62 Military Headset

Airlite 71 Aviation Headset

Aitron Wrist Radio

Aiwa TP-60R Tape Recorder

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

Amstrad em@iler

Amstrad NC100 Notepad

Amstrad VMC-100 Camcorder

AN/PRC-6 Walkie Talkie

Apple Macintosh SE FDHD

Amstrad CPC 464 Computer

AlphaTantel Prestel

Archer Realistic Headphone Radio

Astatic D-104 Desk Microphone

Atari 2600 Video Game

Atari 600XL Home Computer

Audiotronic LSH 80 'Phones

Avia Electronic Watch

Avid Pneumatic Headphones

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Barlow Wadley XCR-30 Radio

BC-611/SCR-536 Handy Talkie

B&O Beocom 2000 Phone
B&O Beolit 609 EXP II AM Radio

Baygen Freeplay Lantern

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Benkson 65 LW/MW Radio

Benkson 68 Mini Tape Recorder

Benkson 79 Mini Tape Recorder

Benkson 92 Baby Sitter Alarm

Betacom BF1 Pianotel Phone

Betacom CP/6 Ferrari Phone

Bigston PS-5 Flat Panel Speakers

Binatone Digivox Alarm

Binatone Long Ranger 6 CB

Binatone Mk6 Video Game

Binatone Moontime Clock Radio

Binatone Worldstar Radio

Binotone Radio Binoculars

Bio Activity Translator

Biri-1 Radiation Monitor

Blick Time Recorder Clock

Bolex Paillard 155 Cine Camera

Bowmar LED Digital Watch

Boots CRTV-50 TV,Tape, Radio

Beseler PM2 Color Analyzer

British Gas Mk 2 Multimeter

Brolac Camera In A Can

Brydex Ever Ready Lighter

BSB Squarial

BT CT6000 Moneybox Payphone

BT Genie Phone

BT Kingfisher Answering Machine

BT Linesmans Phone 282A

BT Rhapsody Leather Phone

BT Slimtel 10 HT2A

Bush TR 82C MW/LW Radio

Cambridge Z88 Computer

Candlestick Telephone

Canon Ion RC-260 Camera

Cartex TX-160 Multiband Radio

Casio VL-Tone Keyboard

CD V-700 Geiger Counter

CD V-715 Survey Meter

CDV-717 Survey Meter

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Casio CA-90 Calculator Watch

Casio WQV-1 Camera Watch

Central C-7980EN Multimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 ciné

Citizen Soundwich Radio Watch

Citizen ST555 Pocket TV

Clairtone Mini Hi Fi Radio

Clarke & Smith 1069 Radio

Clipper TC-300 Tape Recorder

CocaCola Keychain Camera

Coke Bottle AM Radio

Commodore 64 Home PC

Commodore PET 2001-N

Companion CR-313 Walkie Talkies

Computer Novelty AM/FM Radio

Compact Marine SX-25

Concord F20 Sound Camera

Connevans LA5 Loop Amplifier

Coomber 393 Cassette Recorder

Coomber 2241-7 CD Cassette

Contamination Meter No.1

Cosmos Melody Organ

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

C-Scope ProMet II Detector

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Dawe Transistor Stroboflash

Decca RP 205 Record Player

Decimo Vatman 120D Calc

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Direct Line Phones x2

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

Dosimeter Corp MiniRad II

DP-66M Geiger Counter

Duvidal FT-66 Tape Recorder

Eagle Ti.206 Intercom

Eagle T1-206 Intercom

Eagle International Loudhailer

EhrcorderTP-421 Tape Recorder

Electrolysis Cell

Electron 52D Spycorder

Electronicraft Project Kit

Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart Radio

EMS Stammering Oscillator

Ericsson Ericofon Cobra Phone

Estyma Travel Radio Alarm

Etalon Luxor Light Meter

Euromarine Radiofix Mk 5

Exactus Mini Add Calculator

Fairylight Morse Set

FEP Microphone & Earphone

Ferguson 3247 Tape Recorder

Ferguson FC08 Camcorder

Ferguson FHSC 1 Door Cam

Fi-Cord 101 Tape Recorder

Fi-Cord 202 Tape Recorder

Field Telephone Set J

Fidelity HF42 Record Player

Fisher-Price 826 Cassette

Fleetwood Globe AM Radio

Fonadek Telephone Amplifier

Franklin LF-390 Guitar Radio

Gaertner Pioneer Geiger Counter

G&E Bradley CT471C Test Meter

Garmin GPS III Pilot Satnav

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

GE 3-5908 Help CB Radio

GEC C11B2 Electricity Meter

GEC Transistomatic

GEC Voltmeter

General Radiological NE 029-02

Gfeller Eiger Phone

Giant Light Bulbs

Giant Watch-Shaped  Radio

Goodsell TC Record Player

Gowlland Auriscope

GPO Headset No. 1

GPO Keysender No 5

GPO RAF Microphone No. 3

GPO Telephone Series 300

GPO Telephone Type 746

GPO 12B/1 Test Meter

GPO Trimphone

GPO Ring Microphone No 2

Gramdeck Tape Recorder

Grandstand Astro Wars

Grandstand Video Console

Grundig EN3 Dictation

Grundig Melody Boy 1000 Radio

Grundig Memorette

Grundig TK-141 Tape Recorder

H&G Crystal Radio

Harrier Pilot AM/FM/Air Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Harmon Kardon HK2000

Harvard Batalion Radio

Heathkit GR-70 Multiband Radio

Heathkit Oxford UXR2 Kit Radio

Henica H-138 Radio Lighter

Hero HP-101 Intercom

Hitachi MP-EG-1A Camcorder

Hitachi TRK-8015 Cass Recorder

Hitachi WH-638 Radio

Hitachi VM-C1 Camcorder

HMV 2210 Tape Recorder

Hohner 9806 Organetta

Homer KT-505 Phone Amplifier

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Horstmann Pluslite Task Lamp

Ianero Polaris Spotlight

Ingersoll XK505 TV, Radio

Intel QXP Computer Microscope

Interstate Video Game

International HP-1000 Radio

Internet Radio S-11

IR Binoculars No 1 Mk 1

ISI Rapid Abnormality Indicator

ITT KB Super AM/FM Radio

Ivalek De Luxe Crystal Radio

James Bond TV Watch

Jasa AM Wristwatch Radio

Juliette LT-44 Tape Recorder

Jupiter FC60 Radio

JVC GR-C1 Camcorder

JVC GX-N7E Video Camera

JVC HR-C3 VHS-C VCR

JVC HR-3300 VHS VCR

King Folding Binoculars

Kodak Brownie Starflash

Kodak 56X Instamatic

Kodak 100 Instamatic

Kodak Disc 6000

Kodak EK2 'The Handle'

Kodak EK160 Instant Camera

Kodak Pony 135

Koss ESP-6 Headphones

Kvarts DRSB-01 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-88 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-90 Geiger Count

Kyoto S600 8-Track Player

La Pavoni Espresso Machine

Le Parfait Picture Frame Radio

Linwood SImple Siren Car Alarm

Ludlum Model 2 Survey Meter

Macarthys Surgical AM Radio

Magnetic Core Memory 4kb

Maplin YU-13 Video Stabilizer

Marlboro Giant  AM Radio

Mattel Intellivision

Maxcom Cordless Phone

McArthur Microscope OU

Mehanotehnika Intercom

Memo Call Tape Recorder

Merlin Hand-Held Game

Micronta 22-195A Multimeter

Micronta 3001 Metal Detector

Micronta S-100 Signal Injector

Microphax Case II Fiche

Midland 12-204 Tape Rccorder

Military Headset 5965-99-100

Mini Com Walkie Talkies

Mini Instruments 5.40 Geiger

Minifon Attaché Tape Recorder

Mini-Z Electro Thermometer

Minolta 10P 16mm Camera

 

Widget Of The Week

Microflame Model B Gas Welding Torch, 1970?

Here’s one for Star Wars trivia fans; what is the connection between R2D2 and 3-CPO and laughing gas? Several, probably, but the one we’re interested in concerns the Microflame Model B gas blowtorch. Okay, that needs some explanation

.

The Microflame was a versatile and weirdly common piece of kit in that far, far away galaxy, making several cameo appearances in Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope, released in 1977.

 

The first time we see it is in the hands of a Jawa, welding a Restraining Bolt onto R2D2. Luke Skywalker later uses his Microflame to repair 3-CPO’s arm, and for some reason Han Solo has one the gas cylinders attached to his belt. But what about laughing gas? Well, the Microflame has two gas cylinders. One contains Butane, which makes the flame, the other one is filled with ‘Micronox’, Microflame’s trade name for Nitrous Oxide. This is a powerful oxidizer, with similar characteristics to Oxygen, making the flame even hotter. Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas is best known as an anaesthetic. It’s also used in whipped cream makers, making souped up cars go faster and recently it achieved notoriety as a popular recreational drug, which the tabloid press like to call ‘Hippy Crack’.

 

When not being used to repair Sci-Fi robots the Microflame’s main claim to fame is the impressive 28000 Centigrade flame it produces at the end of the swivelling ‘wand’. That’s pretty damn hot, though the use of the word ‘welding’ in the name is a tad optimistic. It’s certainly hot enough to melt brass and copper for brazing small metal parts, but it would struggle with steel, and the flame simply isn’t large enough, and the cylinders don’t hold enough gas, to heat up large or thick pieces of metal. But that wasn’t what it was meant for; it’s a compact pocket-size blow torch for making or repairing small things, like models, ornaments, repairing metal objects and so on. Back in the 1960s, when Microflame first appeared model making, home crafts and DIY were hugely popular and big business, especially in the US.

 

The design is elegantly simple. The two cylinders are mounted in a sturdy cast metal frame that acts as a handle. They are kept in place by cup-shaped holders attached to a screw thread and a thumbwheel. Rotating the thumbwheel pushes the cylinder up and into the valve block where a thin metal tube punctures the seal in the neck of the cylinder, releasing the gas. The red and green knobs control gas flow to the burner head at the end of the wand, which can be fitted with a variety of attachments, for soldering or making larger or smaller flames. In the US a small cottage industry grew up around the Microflame with third party accessories and numerous books and magazine articles showing how to use it and construction projects.

 

Microflame caught my eye back in the late 1960s, appearing in ads in publications like the wonderful and much-missed Exchange & Mart. At the time I was briefly interested in radio controlled model aircraft and for some reason it seemed like something I might need (though flames and fabric-covered balsa wood would not have been a happy combination…). It never happened; they were prohibitively expensive at around £25, and my spectacularly unsuccessful attempts to build and fly model aircraft dissuaded me from spending any more on that doomed hobby. I had forgotten all about the Microflame until I came across this one at a car boot sale a few years ago. This time I could afford the £1.00 asking price for what appeared to be an almost complete kit in apparently very good condition in its original, though very tatty cardboard box. Not that I had any particular use for it but it rekindled the urge to own one, and as I reasoned, who knows, it might come in handy one day…

 

It came with a couple of unused cylinders and after applying some silicon spray to the rubber washers and gaskets to soften them up, decided to give it a go. It worked really well, but not for long. The Butane gas cylinder lasted about 10 minutes, which was probably due to leaky seals. Supposedly they’re good for around 30 minutes burn time, but even that wouldn’t be much, even for model engineering applications. It wouldn’t have been a huge problem back in the day. According to the price label on the box that came with the kit replacement cylinders cost 75 pence for two. That would have made it reasonably affordable to use but the problem now is Microflame disappeared in the late 90s, along with a reliable supply of cylinders. Articles on the web suggest that a UK company may still have stocks, or the facility to refill them, but at a cost. There are alternatives, however. Nitrous Oxide cylinders for making whipped cream (and brief ‘highs’) are readily available, and a couple of websites suggest that the butane cylinder can be back-filled using a cigarette lighter refill, either directly through the burner wand, or by drilling the cylinder and fitting the refill valve from a discarded lighter. Both methods appear quite risky so I won’t be trying them anytime soon.

 

What Happened To It?

Production of the Microflame began in 1966. It was the brainchild of Leonard E. Laske from Minneapolis, where he established a factory to make them. Little has been written of its history except that at some point, probably in the early to mid 1990s, it looks like the company was bought out by Radio Shack who marketed it under their Archer brand name. Radio Shack collapsed in 2007, though the re-branded Microflame disappeared from their catalogues in 2001.

 

Microflame may be no more but butane gas powered blowtorches live on, both as DIY and kitchen tools. Some of them are even smaller than the Microflame but as far as I am aware it still holds the record for temperature, thanks to the extra firepower from the nitrous oxide cylinder. Temperatures of 3000 degrees and above are still achievable but only from much larger, professional and industrial dual-cylinder outfits, none of which fit easily into the hand, or pocket. Original vintage Microflame kits appear to quite collectable, if ebay prices and the healthy demand in the US are anything to go by. Sales regularly achieve between £50 and £150, depending on the type, age and condition. They appear only occasionally on ebay UK and the two fairly rough looking examples I followed sold for only £10.00 and £18.00. It is notable that the US offerings with the highest prices prominently mention the Star Wars connection so there may well be a few fast bucks to be made if you can find one cheap enough at your local boot sale or antique market.

 


DUSTY DATA

First Seen:                   1966

Original Price:             £25.00

Value Today:               £30 (0220)

Features:                     Micronox (Nitrous Oxide) & Butane gas welding torch, 28000 C flame temperature, rotating flame ‘wand’ interchangeable nozzles, soldering iron attachment

Power req:                       n/a

Dimensions:                     138 x 50 x 30mm

Weight:                            336g

Made (assembled) in:       USA

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):     7



Web

dustygizmos

Dusty Navigation

About Dustygizmos

Crystal Radios

Transistor Radios

Mini Tape Recorders

Spycorders

Sinclair TVs

Manuals

Tape Recorder Gallery

A - C    D- M     N - Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Gizmos A - Z

Minolta-16 II Sub Min Camera

Minolta XG-SE 35mm SLR

Minolta Weathermatic-A

Minox B Spy Camera

Modernage Bookcorder 405

Mohawk Chief Tape Recorder

Monatone D 5151 AM Radio

Motorola 5000X Bag Phone

Motorola 8500X ‘Brick’

Motorola Micro TAC Classic

MPMan MP-F20 MP3 Player

Mullard OC Transistors

Music Man Talking Radio

My Power Megaphone

Mystery Microphone

Nagra SN Tape Recorder

National Hyper BII Flashgun

National RQ-115 Recorder

National Panapet AM Radio

National Standphone Intercom

National Toot-A-Loop Radio

National WH-106 Hearing Aid

Nattax Dental Outfit

NatWest 24 Hour Cashcard

Nife NC10 Miner's Lamp

Nikkai VW58 Mini TV

Nimslo 3D Camera

Nivico JVC TR-514U Recorder

NOA FM Wireless Intercom

Nokia 9210 Communicator

Novelty AM Radio Piano

Nuclear Enterprises PDM1

Olympia DG 15 S Recorder

Onkyo PH-747 Headphones

Opax Stereo Microscope

Optikon Binocular Magnifier

Oric Atmos Home PC

Panda & Bear Radios

Panasonic AG-6124 CCTV VCR

Panasonic EB-2601 Cellphone

Panasonic Toot-A-Loop Radio

Panasonic RP-8135 Mic

Panasonic RS-600US

Parrot RSR-423 Recorder

Penguin Phone PG-600

Penncrest Tape Recorder

Pentax Asahi Spotmatic SLR

Philatector Watermark Detector

PH Ltd Spinthariscope

Philips 13RF833 Turntable

Philips CD 150 CD Player

Philips Electronic Kit

Philips EL3302 Cassette

Philips EL3586 Reel to Reel

Philips GF300 Record Player

Philips N1500 VCR

Philips N4308 Tape Recorder

Philips PM85 Recorder

Philips P3G8T/00 Radio

Philips VLP-700 LaserDisc

Philips SBC RU 098 TV Remote

Phonotrix Model 1 Recorder

Pifco 888.998 Lantern Torch

Pion TC-601 Tape Recorder

Pioneer Hawaiian Phonograph

PL802/T Semconductor Valve

Plessey PDRM-82 Dosimeter

Polaroid Automatic 104

Polaroid Land Camera 330

Polaroid Supercolor 635CL

Polaroid Swinger II

Polavision Instant Movie

POM Park-O-Meter

Prinz 110 Auto Camera

Prinz Dual 8 ciné Editor

Prinz TCR20 B&W TV

Promax GV-298 Pattern Gen

Psion Series 3a PDA

Psion Organiser II XP

Pulvelec Cabinet Battery

Pye 114BQ Portable Radio

Pye Q6 Two-Band Radio

Pye TMC 1705 Test Phone

R2D2 Lazerbuilt Novelty Phone

Quali-Craft Slimline Intercom

Rabbit Telepoint Phone

RAC Emergency Telephone

Racal Acoustics AFV Headset

Radofin Triton Calculator

Raytheon Raystar 198 GPS

Realistic PRO-62 Scanner

Realistic TRC 209 CB

Realistic TRC-503 Transceiver

Rene Meyer Headphones

Renown 402 Tape Recorder

ReVox A77 Tape Recorder

Roberts R200 MW/LW Radio

Rolling Ball Clock

Rolls Royce Car Radio

Ronco Record Vacuum

Royal/Royco 410 Recorder

Runbaken Ardwick Batt Test

Sanyo G2001 Music Centre

Sanyo MC-1/1A Mini Recorders

Sanyo MR-115 Tape Recorder

Sanyo M35 Micro Pack

Satellite AM/FM Radio

Satvrn TDM-1200 Sat Box

Science Fair 65 Project Kit

Seafarer 5 Echo Sounder

Seafix Radio Direction Finder

Seiko EF302 Voicememo

Seiko James Bond TV Watch

Sekiden SAP50 Gun

S.G. Brown Stick Earphone

Shackman Passport Camera

Sharp CT-660 Talking Clock

Sharp RD-303E Tape Recorder

Shira WT106 Walkie Talkies

Shira WT-605 Walkie Talkies

Shogun Music Muff

Silma 120M Projector

Simpson 389 Ohmmeter

Sinclair Calculator

Sinclair Black Watch

Sinclair FM Radio Watch

Sinclair FTV1 Pocket TV

Sinclair Micro-6 Radio

Sinclair Micro FM Radio

Sinclair Micromatic Radio

Sinclair Micromatic Kit (Unbuilt)

Sinclair Microquartz Clock

Sinclair MTV1A Micovision TV

Sinclair MTV1B Microvision TV

Sinclair PDM-35 Multimeter

Sinclair System 2000 Amp

Sinclair Super IC-12

Sinclair X1 Burtton Radio

Sinclair Z-1 Micro AM Radio

Sinclair Z-30 Amplifier

Sinclair ZX81

Smiths ECS Process Timer

Smiths SR/D366 Gauge Tester

Snooper Geiger Counter

Speak & Spell

Spirit Of St Louis Radio

Sony Betamovie BMC-200

Sony CFS-S30 'Soundy'

Sony DD-8 Data Discman

Sony CM-H333 Phone

Sony CM-R111 Phone

Sony FD-9DB Pocket TV

Sony M-100MC Mic'n Micro

Sony MDR3 Headphones

Sony MVC-FD71 Digicam

Sony SL-C7 Betamax VCR

Sony ST-80F AM/FM Tuner

Sony TC-50 Recorder

Sony TC-55 Recorder

Sony TR-55 Camcorder

Sony Walkman TPS-L2

Sony Rec Walkman WM-R2

Speedex Hit Spy Camera

Standard Slide Rule

Standard SR-V07 Miniature TV

Standard Radio Unicorder 61

Starlite Pocket Mate Tape

Staticmaster Static Brush

Steepletone MBR7 Radio

Stella ST415T MW/LW Radio

Stellaphone ST-456 Recorder

Stuzzi 304B Memocorder

Stylophone

Swatch The Beep Pager

Talkboy Tape Recorder

Tamrom Fotovix TF-56WE

Taylor Barograph

Tasco SE 600 Microscope

Teacup Novelty AM Radio

Technicolor Portable VCR

Telephone 280 1960

Telequipment Servicescope

Telex MRB 600 Headset

Teltape Mini Tape Recorder

Thorn Radiacmeter

Thunderbirds AM Can Radio

Tinico Tape Recorder

Tokai TR-45 Tape Recorder

Tomy Electronic Soccer

Tohphonic HP-2T Intercom

Toshiba HX-10 MSX Computer

TR Gooseneck Microphone

Triumph CTV-8000 5-inch TV

TTC C1001 Multimeter

Uher 400 RM Report Monitor

UT-66 Video Sender

Vanity Fair Electron Blaster

Vextrex Video Game

Victoreen 471 Survey Meter

Videomaster Superscore VM8

VideoPlus+ VP-181 Remote

Vidor Battery Radio

View-Master Stereo Viewer

Viking Sol Invictus Metal Detector

Vivalith 301 Heart Pacemaker

VTC-200 Video Tape Cleaner

Waco Criuser AM Radio

Waco TV Slide Lighter

Wein WP-500 Flashmeter

Wallac Oy RD-5 Geiger Counter

Weller X-8250A Soldering Gun

W E Co Folding Phone

White Display Ammeter

Wittner Taktell Metronome

Wondergram Record Player

Yamaha Portasound PC-10

Yashica AF Motor 35mm

Yupiteru MVT-8000 Scanner

Zeon T-800 Video Game

`

All information on this  web  site  is provided as is without warranty of any kind. Neither dustygizmos.com nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained  herein.

Copyright (c) 2006 - 2020 dustygizmos.com

 

 

counter statistics