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Old 13th May 2021, 5:51 pm   #1
kalee20
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Default Ekco hotplate acquired!

Passing the porch of one of Lynton's churches, I noticed a basket of items and a big notice "FREE- help yourself."

A cursory glance was quickly riveted by the name 'Ekco' on a little leaflet... It belonged to a little moulded Bakelite plate-warmer. A quick rummage, all parts present, so quickly strapped onto the back of my bike, and home with me it went (to be replaced by an envelope with donation in the letter box of course!)

The unit cleaned up very nicely. It's powered by two wax burners, in glass containers, with strict instructions to use only Price's Calorettes (there was even a box with 6 remaining, with a Timothy White's Nottingham price sticker, 43p). There's a knob on the side which moves the snuffers over the burners.

Photos, and scan of the instruction sheet, below... The instruction sheet has the numbers "11/57" at the foot, which I guess is November 1957.

A look on Price's website didn't show up the calorettes, so maybe they are no longer in production. So it'll be used only on special occasions. But it's a nice companion for my Ekco PB289 radio!
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Old 13th May 2021, 6:13 pm   #2
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Fascinating!

My late mother had a similar thing in the top-shelf of her 1950s "Festival of Britain" wooden two-level tea-trolley [a precursor of the later-acquired EKCO Hostess-Trolley, which us kids always called the Hostage Trolley].

I guess that in the absence of Price's Calorettes from your local "Arkwright's Hardware" shop you could use ordinary tea-lights/?\
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Old 13th May 2021, 6:36 pm   #3
Ed_Dinning
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Hi Peter, a new meaning to "candle power"!

Ed
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Old 13th May 2021, 6:53 pm   #4
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Ekco did have a division making all sorts of moulded plastic household items in the 50s and 60s.

The 'Calorettes' do appear to be pretty bog standard tealights.
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Old 13th May 2021, 6:57 pm   #5
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

I have met similar things in Curry houses, same job but not as nice to behold. They do keep grub from cooling down during a leisurely dinner*.

*Read as "loads of beer and wine interspersed with food", warm food to boot!
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Old 13th May 2021, 6:58 pm   #6
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Yes this design (not actually made by EKCO) seem to be a feature of virtually every UK Indian restaurant I have been in so clearly a successful design.

Cheers

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Old 13th May 2021, 6:58 pm   #7
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Quote:
Ekco did have a division making all sorts of moulded plastic household items
I remember bog seats in the Pye shop.
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Old 13th May 2021, 7:01 pm   #8
The Philpott
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

I have used a similar device for keeping a Chinese takeaway hot. The only issue ended up being TOO MUCH heat! If using for food you have to be wary of dropping debris into the wax pools which can carbonise then act as a second wick.

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Old 13th May 2021, 7:16 pm   #9
kalee20
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Ekco did have a division making all sorts of moulded plastic household items in the 50s and 60s.
I had heard, though this is the first non-radio product I've come across. I guess Ekco found their expensive presses were lying idle for an embarrassing amount of time, so found a way to use them profitably!

I was wondering what happened to the Plastic Products division after the acquisition by Pye and by Philips, but Wikipedia provided the answer - it became Lin Pac Mouldings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
The 'Calorettes' do appear to be pretty bog standard tealights.
They do look similar - but the instruction sheet emphasizes the difference between night-lights and calorettes, at least. Where tea-lights fit in, I'm not sure - do we have any chandlers on the Forum?
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Old 13th May 2021, 7:27 pm   #10
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Just splash out a quid for a bag of tealights, and compare them to the Calorettes you have. I bet they're exactly the same.
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Old 13th May 2021, 8:02 pm   #11
The Philpott
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Quite a well known product was the EKCO hostess trolley, with electric heating facility (but you had to remember to unplug it before wheeling it away on it's tiny castors)
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Old 13th May 2021, 8:14 pm   #12
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Philpott View Post
Quite a well known product was the EKCO hostess trolley, with electric heating facility (but you had to remember to unplug it before wheeling it away on it's tiny castors)
Dave
See my post #2 in this thread. My mother's Hostage-trolley had an early round-pin incarnation of the IEC "Kettle-lead" connector which yanked itself out if you forgot to unplug before wheeling it away.
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Old 13th May 2021, 8:30 pm   #13
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

There was also a [Canadian] EKCO Housewares company

https://www.company-histories.com/Ek...y-History.html

which sold domestic/kitchen stuff [historically connected with UK 'Prestige'-brand kitchenwares] ??

I've got an EKCO 'Kitchamagig' vegetable-strainer here, inherited from my late mother, who probably acquired it via my aunt who lived in Ontario.
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Old 14th May 2021, 9:03 am   #14
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

I suspect nightlights have (had?) smaller wicks than tealights (or Calorettes) since they were rated to burn for a full 8 hours in the specified saucer of water
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Old 14th May 2021, 3:12 pm   #15
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herald1360 View Post
I suspect nightlights have (had?) smaller wicks than tealights (or Calorettes)
Yes, either that or they're taller. We had tealights available as votive candles in the former Catholic seminary near Durham where I was a volunteer, and I think they only burned for around three hours.

I've not met many of Ekco's general household plastic items, but I'm sure I remember an "Ekcoware" sandwich box that resembled Tupperware.

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Old 14th May 2021, 6:59 pm   #16
Herald1360
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Taller would work for longer burn time. Might even put the flame too close to the hotplate in the Ekco for plate comfort. Conversely, thinner wick might be too feeble heatwise.

Probably some vaguely logical reason for specifying a particular brand of "candle" even if it's only to keep consumables supply "in house"!
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Old 15th May 2021, 5:18 am   #17
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

There may have been some consideration of the wax used in the calorettes too, probably not paraffin wax, modern ones I believe are made from soy.
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Old 15th May 2021, 10:31 am   #18
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

They do modern food grade fuel for hotplates.
https://www.google.com/search?client...q=chafing+fuel
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Old 15th May 2021, 11:04 am   #19
kalee20
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Just splash out a quid for a bag of tealights, and compare them to the Calorettes you have. I bet they're exactly the same.
They may be. Though the Ekco blurb stresses that the calorettes were optimised for heat generation and no smoke.

I'm not certain what the difference is between night-lights and tea-lights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herald1360 View Post
Taller would work for longer burn time. Might even put the flame too close to the hotplate in the Ekco for plate comfort. Conversely, thinner wick might be too feeble heatwise.
It could be down to the wick. They're certainly not tall - so distance flame-hotplate does not vary massively during burn. But there's enough heat retained, especially with the little glass pot, that even with the comparatively large diameter, the top surface of wax entirely melts, it's all used, without just burning a 'core' hole down the middle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herald1360 View Post
Probably some vaguely logical reason for specifying a particular brand of "candle" even if it's only to keep consumables supply "in house"!
Could be, although AFAIK there was no agreement between Ekco and Price's - like there may have been between Ekco and Mullard...

Quote:
Originally Posted by G.Castle View Post
There may have been some consideration of the wax used in the calorettes too, probably not paraffin wax, modern ones I believe are made from soy.
The Price's website does indicate that paraffin wax is used for many of their candles. But I agree, many candles use soy wax. (And ecclesiastical candles often are more than 50% beeswax).
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Old 15th May 2021, 11:06 am   #20
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Ekco hotplate acquired!

The only real practical use for tealights is in food warmers like this, though people do use them for decorative lighting too. It should be easy enough to tell if they physically fit and if the flame height is correct.

I think the 'Calorettes' were just Price's brand of tealights, at a time when they weren't as ubiquitous and familiar as they are now. Price's were and are a major British candlemaker.

Candle based nightlights were quite popular in the 50s, but have since fallen out of favour for obvious safety reasons. They contain more wax than a tealight and burn all night.
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