The Swedish-made Svea 123R is a great stove. The “R” means it has a built-in cleaning needle. The spindle key that comes with the vintage stoves has several cut-outs in the key. The purpose of the cut-outs is to lighten the spindle key, to allow the key to dissipate heat and to serve as useful tools for the stove in the field. Here is a quick explanation of the functions of the tool cutouts in the spindle key.
The predecessor of the Svea 123R is the Svea 123 (it has no “R” in the stove name.) The spindle key that was bundled with Svea 123R stoves also had cutouts for this earlier version, the Svea 123. The keys were used interchangeably during the years that both types of stoves were co-produced.
The spindle nut is smaller on the Svea 123, and the opening in the photo below is used to tighten or loosen the spindle nut. Usually used to tighten the nut as the graphite packing in the spindle wears with use.
The cheaply made and low quality Optimus Svea 123R stoves now coming out of Taiwan still feature a spindle key that includes the opening for the Svea 123 spindle nut even though the Taiwanese never made that stove and that stove stopped being produced in Sweden pre-1970.
Some people, new to these sorts of stoves, or with little background on these stoves, will claim that the Taiwan stoves are of equal quality. But, sadly, those people have never had a genuine Swedish-made Svea in their hands. It is fairly well documented on social discussion forums about stoves that the Taiwanese Svea 123R stoves are of lesser fit and finish than the original Swedish made stoves. There have been quite a few reports about failures to positively shut-off straight out of the box. In my own work repairing stoves I have had a half dozen brand new Taiwanese Svea 123Rs sent to me in just the last year for failures to positively shut-off. The spindle seats are often poorly formed and the brand new stoves will leak right out of the box. If you are considering the purchase of a Svea 123R, PLEASE buy a used vintage one. There are lots of them around and they are much better made than the poor quality Taiwan stoves.
Primus paraffin stoves, lanterns and blow lamps (blowtorches) are stamped with a letter code starting in 1911. The letter code can be found on the bottom of the tanks of these liquid fuel pressure appliances. The letters Q and AQ are not used in the coding system. Starting in 1955, the code method changed and a six-digit code was used. The last two digits of the six-digit code correspond to the year of production. The six-digit code can often be found on the leg of the stove or on the burner riser of the stove. Toward the end of the last years of Primus production, the code was no longer stamped on the stove but was found on the carton the stove shipped in.
There is often an additional number or letter stamped on the tank. It is unclear what this was for, but it is possible it was a production line identifier, or lot batch number.
Primus is the only liquid-fueled pressure appliance company of which I am aware that dated their offerings with a date code. Other manufacturers appliances must be dated by examining the features of the appliance and comparing them to catalog drawings, photos, illustrations and known dated appliances of the type.
You are welcome to freely copy and distribute this dating chart, link to the dating chart, or link to this webpage. Click on the chart or the photos below for larger and higher resolution images. While I made this chart from scratch, I am not the originator of the chart. For the record, I only published my homemade chart here after I saw that the original chart (found on a popular and well-known social discussion forum requiring a membership and/or subscription fee) has been published in full resolution far and wide all over Pinterest. So, the horse has already escaped the barn. I do not believe knowledge should be held ransom behind a subscription fee. Apparently a lot of Pinterest users agree, and you should agree, too. 👍
Here are some examples: