In preparation for the winter months, most of the boat's inventory has been wrapped up and stowed away to prevent damp and mould. We have decided to remove the old Rippingilles cooking stove in the kitchen in the foscle for good. The portable stove was made with Victorian ingenuity and runs on paraffin oil. It has been good for cooking and a source of back ground heat. Made of black japanned tin, it features two hobs, complete with lids and has an oven underneath. There are two decorative embossed brass vents, which double as a patriotic badge for Rippingilles. A pair of reservoirs at the base hold paraffin and long cotton wicks. This is one of many oil appliances manufactured by Frank Rippingille's Albion Lamp Co factory in Birmingham. They also produced a set of tin pans, kettle and toast hanger at extra cost. The range of stoves and accompaniments were sold at ironmongers and outdoor shops ~ even Harrods stocked them. It does take a while to heat up however, boiling a pint of water in about 20 minutes. This slow method may have been fine for the Edwardian outdoor folk, but not for 21st century needs of guests!
A Rippingilles stove appeared in one of the finest yachting stories ever ~ The Riddle of the Sands, by Erskine Childers, written in 1903. ''At the Stores I asked for a No. 3 Rippingille stove, and was confronted with a formidable and hideous piece of ironmongery, which burned petroleum in two capacious tanks, horribly prophetic of a smell of warm oil. I paid for this miserably, convinced of its grim efficiency, but speculating as to the domestic conditions which caused it to be sent for as an afterthought by telegram.'' The book and later film is a thrilling yarn of Edwardian intrigue and daring do set across the grey North Sea (once called the German Ocean) in the Low Countries. There are several key connections with the East Anglian coast. Erskine Childers was a fascinating character in his own right, with complex, duel loyalties to the Irish republicanism movement and Britain. He was sadly executed for his involvement in the troubles.
Before gas became commonplace in the 1950's, oil or solid fuel were moreoften the only option for heat and cooking. Some examples of these incongruous oil stoves were used on both hire and private boats on the Broads up until recent decades. Nigel Royall said there was a Rippingilles stove in the galley of the slender Pleasure Wherry SOLACE. Similar oil stoves are still used daily in what are patronisingly called 'undeveloped countries' or the 'third world' in places like Africa. Our interest in such quaint practices and boating traditions has sometimes conflicted with authorities views.
For further information about oil stoves, lanterns and spare parts please visit: www.base-camp.co.uk