‘Please bring a No. 3 Rippingille stove’

Carruthers describes Davies’s instruction to bring a Rippingille stove as ‘a perplexing and ominous direction, which somehow chilled me in spite of its subject matter’. He doesn’t know the half of it – when he actually sees the thing for the first time, he says this:

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.

Our first question on reading this was obvious: how on earth would Carruthers get such an item from London to Flensburg? It’s a question we’re still dubious about. This advertising poster for Rippingille’s is pretty dubious too.



By 1910, the advertising for Rippingille’s had become a little more domestic:


Rippingille’s and The Albion Lamp Co. seem to have been owned by the same family, and to have produced a range of oil stoves right the way through to the Second World War. There’s a particularly nice photo of one of these stoves on the Birmingham Museums website:


And helpfully, the museum provides the dimensions. The stove is 38 cms high, 43.5 cms wide and 29.5 cms deep. Portable? Well, perhaps – if you can afford porters, or a car!



15 thoughts on “‘Please bring a No. 3 Rippingille stove’

  1. Nice find. It’s no wonder the dingy barely made it to the ship with that loaded in.

    Here’s a couple of interesting things I’ve found that you may or may not already have seen –

    I saw this and had to pass it on just in case you didn’t know. Childers log books, including the ones he based Riddle on are available for viewing at the National Maritime Museum Library in Greenwich. I would imagine a field trip would be in order! Here are relevant links – http://www.rmg.co.uk/researchers/collections/by-type/archive-and-library/item-of-the-month/previous/%27the-riddle-in-the-sands%27-the-log-of-the-asgard

    This link is to a review written by Christine Kling and appeared in a book with entries on and from some of the best thriller writers called Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. Christine is a writer of several sailing thrillers herself, and might be an interesting person to talk to and get a female perspective on the novel. http://sailingwriter.com/?p=829

    I’ve got some books with analysis of Riddle as a spy novel that I need to scan. One in particular has some great comments one the romance element.


    1. Superb, Jeff, many thanks! We will follow up on these. We knew about the log books, but that Christine Kling link is a new one. Many thanks indeed.


  2. One of my greatest triumphs was in the early 80s, working for Yachting Monthly and arranging a ‘then and now’ display at the Earls Court Boat Show , when I managed to find a Rippingille to display next to the most uptodate yachting cooking equipment!


    1. With the early 80s being a pre-digital age I have been unable to remember where on earth I found the Rippingille but have just heard of the death of the amazing Lady Rozelle Raynes (see obit http://goo.gl/pccSXb) it brought it back to me. It belonged to Lady Rozelle and she very generously lent it to the magazine for our display at Earls Court – still no pix alas


  3. Actually, the Frank Rippingilles Stove Company were competitors to the Rippingilles Albion Lamp co. These adverts are often misquoted on the internet.
    Both companies fought a Patent War at the end of the 1900’s until Frank Rippingilles closed down in 1903. The Albion Lamp Co., renamed ‘Rippingilles Ltd.’ carried on until 1971 when the name and assets were acquired by Valor Ltd.


    1. Mike. This is very interesting. So how come there were two companies called Rippingille? Was it two branches of the same family – like Grohe and HansGrohe? Also – does this mean that if we take along a Valor branded heater of some sort on our trip, we’d be hoofing along a Rippingille of sorts – in spirit anyway?

      Tim (NotCarruthers)


  4. Re :
    “Our first question on reading this was obvious: how on earth would Carruthers get such an item from London to Flensburg? It’s a question we’re still dubious about”.

    I see what you mean although whenever I’ve read the book, it’s seemed feasible in my mind. I could well be wrong but I’m thinking that for a young man of condition, loaded with cash, there would be taxis and porters everywhere in the late 1890s. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a hard job to take all this stuff along with other people taking the load. Even in the first part of the 1960s, my grandfather was a porter at tiny Staintondale station on the Scarborough to Whitby line. He also did other things such as signalling but porter was a definite part of his role. Every little station had their own porter(s).

    An awkward load for Carruthers but perhaps not impossible? What do we think Adventurers?


    1. I think you’re probably right, Pat. I guess the comic scene with Carruthers piling all his luggage on to the dinghy is based on the idea that C assumes there will be staff, when there’s only Davies.


  5. I have an old Davey & Company catalog of ship, yacht, and boat fittings, with an advertisement for “Rippingille’s Flat Wick Cooker Size 3. Note: can be supplied with swing fittings for yachts in which the stove hangs and two brackets for bulkhead. Extra.”

    Is there a way to submit a pic to you?


  6. A friend has just purchesed a new, unused Rippingille No 4, i think it is, at our local market. Anyone wanting a pic, can do. I suspect he might be ameanable to selling it on.


  7. I have a Ripplingille’s stove! I want to sell it, also. I purchased it from a local antique store, thinking it was a child’s stove. That is also what the antique dealer thought. But surprise! It was made for a boat or camping. I have photos. If anyone is interested, do let me know. Thanks.


  8. Also have owned such a stove for many years. These were used by early campers and caravanners. No cast iron – just thin steel construction. Not difficult to carry about. Fuelled up with Paraffin in two tanks adds to the weight. Most have rusted away during the last 100 years…


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