Prest-O-Lite "B" Tank For Gas Lamps

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Prest-O-Lite "B" Tank For Gas Lamps
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Monday, June 29, 2015 - 11:53 pm:

We have been posting on another thread regarding Carbide Lamps for several days. Rather than drift on an already long thread I would like to share some current information regarding the Prest-O-Lite "B" Tanks for anyone that may be interested.



The POL tanks contain 40 cubic feet of acetylene gas which will allow 26 hours of gas headlight operation. John Brown 16's (which I have), Victors and E & J's use the 3/4 cubic foot per hour burners. This is the size burner the suppliers are furnishing.

Once you "have" the POL tank, the gas costs a little less than $.90 per hour of headlight operation. This is based on burning the 1-1/2 cubic foot per hour that two 3/4 burners are rated at. To do that with carbide pea or nut grade will cost more than three times as much.

The POL tanks are mixed in with the standard plumbers B tanks at the welding supply houses and are distinguishable by the offset valve. If you work with your local welding supply house you can snag one or two of them. The plus is you can lay the POL's down on your running board.

Western International is the largest acetylene wholesaler in the U.S. and their home office is in Bellville, Texas. They will not fill these old style tanks with the tank pressure gauges on them.



They are good garage or shop art and that is all.

COST:

1. Airgas will sell the Prest-O-Lite tank for $110. The fill charge is $23. Total = $133

2. AG will swap you a full tank for $23 when your tank is empty.

3. If you bring a plumbers B tank (center valve style) under current certification, AG will swap you a full tank for $23.

4. If your trade-in tank is not certified but can be filled, there is a $36.50 "certification" charge plus the $23 fill cost and you walk out the door for $59.50. The next time it costs you $23 to swap tanks.

Praxair will charge the same and the above are without sales tax if applicable where you live.

There is the novelty of the carbide generator. I watched Royce light up in San Angelo last year and that was really neat.

However, if you don't have an operational carbide generator and/or you really intend to drive routinely at night you might want to look at the convenience and cost advantage of the Prest-O-Lite tank.

I do have a NOS Victor generator but I am afraid it will stay that way for now. I have burned almost 30 cubic feet out of the tank on my '14 since January.

I get more spectators for the gas lights than the hand cranking which I'm not too excited about anyway.

I use a small Uniweld acetylene regulator on the POL to get about 2-3 psi and two brass flow control valves to set the burners. Cost $100, the gas control is excellent and the burner flame stays put while you drive.


Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Gumbinger, Kenosha, WI on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 09:12 am:

Ken - Thanks for posting that....it's a nice, concise summary and comparison of the carbide generator and the "B" tanks.

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 09:43 am:

Yes,and i also say Thank You!!!!!!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris from Long Beach & Big Bear on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 10:06 am:

The work well and no mess.




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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 12:36 pm:

Frank shows the strap type tank mount. The other popular one is the forged bracket,



If you have a crowded running board, don't want any extra holes or maybe you are squeamish about laying the Prest-O-Lite acetylene tank down, there is another mount.

It is the 6-inch running board fire extinguisher bracket. Made by Kidde and others.

This '13 has it, or one like it, mounted on the carbide generator location in the factory running board. He probably didn't drill any extra holes.



I like the location of the POL tank shut off valve afforded by this mount because it allows you to shut down the gas from the drivers seat. You can keep the bonnets cool and it is always good practice to be able to shut down acetylene quickly.

Another positive for the upright mount is you can use any so-called Plumbers "B" Tank. They are NOT made to lay down. Any welding supply house has them and it is the same $23 routine I described above. Airgas could have sold me one in less time than I have been typing.

The rubber gas hose is going through the factory provided hole in the splash apron. The only thing I would suggest is the small Uniweld,




Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank Harris from Long Beach & Big Bear on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 12:42 pm:

Here is my shutoff valve and pressure gauge on the front of the tank.


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Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 12:46 pm:

For a reference, upper left hand side of the page below shows size, capacity and running time based on burner utilized:

1


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:28 pm:

Erik,

That is an informative add. The second picture I posted is of two old tanks and the one on its side is a Prest-O-Lite "E" Tank. Also, I had no idea POL traded a 70 cubic foot tank.

Do you know the date of the add?

Comparing today's "recharge" cost of $23 and yesterdays $1.50 "recharge", works out to Fifteen Times as much today!

Using the headlights with 3/4 burners on the Prest-O-Lite "B" Tank:

Cost Per Hour Today = $ .885
Cost Per Hour 1912? = $ .058

Another interesting confirmation is there is condensation to be dealt with regarding the carbide generators and the E&J Condensation Cup must have been one of the answers.

The instructions with my Victor carbide generator addressed the issue as follows,



I have not run a carbide generator so I don't really know how much of a problem it is.

Ken in Texas


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Erik Johnson on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 02:46 pm:

I scanned it from a 1913 "Ford Specialties" catalog published by Northwestern Automobile Co. in Minneapolis. They were a Ford agency until Ford Motor Co. set up an assembly branch in Minneapolis in 1912 and ended their relationship with Northwestern shortly after that time.

I had posted it previously:

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/380776.html?1376844508

http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/398204.html?1383267353


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Parker on Tuesday, July 07, 2015 - 08:32 pm:

Back in the day, Prest-O-Lite offered a setup much like Frank showed above. I had intended to put the add on this thread related to POL stuff but had a senior moment today posting it on another thread. Anyway,

This is an add that was in Motor Age Jan 1913. The purpose of the POL regulator was for the very same reason some of us are using the small regulators to get the gas pressure to about 3 psi and control the flame size on the burners today,



That $3.00 regulator was a combination regulator- flow meter.

It is easy to get the result the add claims by using a small Radnor brass flow valve in front of each John Brown with the B tank regulator set at about 3 psi.

I turn on the gas and light the headlights. That's it. The flame size on each acetylene lamp burner has stayed the same through the last half of a 40 cubic foot B Tank and that makes using your acetylene lights very easy.

Miss Happiness of 51 years sent me to the store last weekend because they had ten ears of corn for $1.00. It was an excuse to drive the Model T so I didn't whine too much,



Lighting three kerosene lamps and three acetylene lamps takes 2 minutes and 30 seconds which is less time than starting and warming up the engine.

I have not used my carbide generator but feel like it would do the same thing as the B tank. Probably not as quick to get driving and it would require a little cleanup when you got through. Another plus for the carbide generator is that it is its own regulator and no flow valves are needed. Royce and some of the rest of y'all have a lot of experience with the carbide generators.

Either way, driving a lit up Model T is more fun than should be allowed.

Ken in Texas


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