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!