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Author Topic:   Napier coffee maker (formally Hallmark Hell)
JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-06-2002 11:09 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[01-0735]

Received an item from my grandparents estate but it was in the attic so I never had a chance to talk to them about it.

If anyone can help me or point me in the right direction I would be most appreciative. I've already hit most of the English hallmark sites on the web, no help.

Bella

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 07-06-2002 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe this is the mark of William Padley & Son of Sheffield, England. It was a Victorian Sheffield Plate making firm. I remember finding additional info on this maker at one point, but can't find it at the moment. Will update you when I find it.

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-06-2002 05:01 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you June...

I appreciate anything that you can find on the item. It's a "Napierian" vacuum coffee brewer. Designed by Robert Napier. You can see an example of one here: Old Coffee Roasters

Of course the item that I have is all silver and apparently not quite as old. Here is a newer version:

Thanks again for your help, I hope you can find your "additional" information.

Jimbo

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-13-2002 11:06 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any sucess June? I've not been able to find really anything specific and it's driving me NUTS! Unfortunately I live in the "sticks" and don't have anyone around that collects or speciallizes in silver for me to speak to in person. Looks like I'm gonna have to make a trip into the "big city".

Jimbo

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 07-13-2002 07:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
William Padley & Son were silversmiths in Sheffield for generations until they went out of business when the silver trade was badly hit at the beginning of the twentieth century due to the South African war. A favorite pattern used by the firm for engraving was a willow pattern. The firm specialized in producing these Napier coffee machines which were popular from after their design in the early 1840's through to the beginning of the twentieth century.

We had seen a few rare examples of the Napier coffee maker and were almost brought to tears when we saw one in an antique shop some years ago turned into the base of a lamp. The next one we saw that was relatively intact, we brought home with us for safekeeping. Here is our baby. We date it to pre-1890 since it does not have the addition of a service tap.




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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-24-2002 12:34 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you very much June!

I've attached a picture of the Napier that I have. If you can tell me any thing else about William Padley & Son or anything else about the Napier that I have I would be very greatful.

By the way, I REALLY like the Napier that you have, and yes, I can tell by looking at it that it's much older than mine.

Thanks again.

Jimbo

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-24-2002 11:14 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the edits Scott!

Jimbo

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Crocodile Mark

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iconnumber posted 07-24-2002 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Crocodile Mark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can you do cappachinos in these????

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wev
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iconnumber posted 07-25-2002 12:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Probably; my grandfather used to do a short batch of gin in his. . .

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-25-2002 01:31 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You would only make traditional "coffee" in the Napier's... you just controlled the brew strength by how long you left the water to mix with the grounds. You then extinguished the flame and the coffee was then drawn into the flask for serving. As for being used as a still? I don't see how it would work as the Napier wouldn't have much tube length to allow steam to condense properly. Dunno...

Jimbo

P.S.

I know how the Napier operates but I'm looking for some specifics on this one... such as model type, decoration type, what the numbers below the marks mean, etc.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 07-25-2002 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This type of coffee/tea making is most often referred to as Vacuum or Syphon method. The Scottish marine engineer, Robert Napier, is given credit for inventing the Napier Coffee maker (circa 1840). However, long before Mr. Napier popularized his coffee maker, all over the world many a late night in scientific laboratories would be cause for coffee/tea to be brewed this way.

Today "true" coffee afficionados' will swear that using the Vacuum or Syphon method is the only way to get the perfect cup of coffee/tea. But a vacuum/syphon coffee maker, which resembles laboratory glassware, is cumbersome, fragile and requires painstaking attention and careful storage.

It was not flavor but convenience and a need for a quick fix of caffeine that seems to have been the driving force in the evolution of the coffee maker. Such that the percolator, filter and "Mr. Coffee" methods are the norm today. Then there are the super designer coffees which deliver higher concentrations of caffeine in shorter brewing times. For example; espresso, cappuccino, French press, etc.

Ask anyone who has compared the slow brewing Vacuum/Syphon method to the more speedy, convenient, high caffeine methods what they think? You will hear that the Vacuum/Syphon method is the only way to get a full-flavored cup of "Joe" that tastes just like it smells.

Vacuum/Syphon coffee makers are still made. They can be expensive. But some would say "what does price matter if it results in the perfect cup."

Vacuum Pots are the least expensive and look like:


  1. The ground coffee is placed in the upper globe and held in place by a filter.
  2. Cold water is poured into the lower globe to the half-way mark. This leaves air in the other half of the lower globe.
  3. Heating the sealed lower globe causes the air to expand and consequently the pressure forces the water up the tube into the upper globe.
  4. When the heat is taken away, the pressure decreases and the now infused coffee filters down into the lower globe.

Napier style brewers are still made:

These add a feature, an automatic burner shut off, that is not found on JimboJava or on our antique Napier coffee maker. The left one uses a counter balance so as the water side empties it raises. Once high enough the burner flame cover is released extinguishing the flame. This automatically starts the Vacuum/Syphon process. The other Napier style maker uses springs, such that as the water side gets lighter it raises and does the same. I believe these are chrome plated.

When dining was an art, I am sure these Vacuum/Syphon makers had an honored place at table.



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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-25-2002 07:04 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice article Scott, I've been into vacpots for quite awhile now and YES they do produce the BEST coffee hands down. They are a little of a pain to maintain, especially the narrow neck Silex models but it's worth it!

***************************************

There are a few variances that you missed that mark the differences between Vacpot, Syphon and Balance brewers.

----------------


  1. Vacpots rely on a tube that extends into the "serving" pot so that when the water is brought to a boil it is forced by pressure into the vessel containing the coffee grounds. Remove the heat and the liquid is drawn back into the "serving" vessel by a vacuum.
    ----------------
  2. Syphon (the Napier is a true siphon brewer) pots were originally designed this way: You would put your grounds in the "brewing vessel" and pour you boiling water over the grounds. You would then light the burner under the "serving" vessel which would cause the air inside to expand (only a small amount of water was in the serving vessel primarily to prevent breakage of the earlier glass models), remove the heat and the resulting vacuum would syphon the brewed coffee back into the serving vessel. Napier syphons differed from vacpots in that they DO NOT have a tube running into the serving vessel, it terminates just at the rim.
    ----------------
  3. Balance brewers work in the same manner as the syphon brewers in that the tube extends into the serving vessel. You would start with cold (or hot) water in the serving vessel which was forced into the brewing vessel, the flame was then extinguished by the counter-balance and then the brewed coffee was drawn back.
    ----------------


Jimbo

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-25-2002 07:08 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
C. Balance brewers work in the same manner as the syphon brewers in that the tube extends into the serving vessel. You would start with cold (or hot) water in the serving vessel which was forced into the brewing vessel, the flame was then extenguished by the counter-balance and then the brewed coffee was drawn back.
-----------------------
I meant to say that Balance brewers are similar to both Vacpots and Syphons, like the Syphon it operates side-by-side and like the Vacpot it relys on a tube that extends into the serving vessel.

Sorry...

Jimbo

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-30-2002 07:39 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
June,

Have you ever tried to use your Napier? I would like to try mine but the gasket is severly compressed and dried and I don't think that it will form a vacuum.

I use a Cory or Silex vacpot almost every day and love the coffee they make, much better than a autodrip. I'm interested to see what a Napier would make.

Hmm...

Jimbo

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wev
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iconnumber posted 07-30-2002 08:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you know a local machine shop, they should be able to order you up a gasket that will fit; most of the major parts catalogs offer every variation of diameter (inside and outside), thickness, and material. That and a good cleaning with vinegar should bring it back to life.

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 07-30-2002 08:25 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by wev:
snip... That and a good cleaning with vinegar should bring it back to life.


Thanks for the tips about the local shops... will give it a try. It will need to be foodgrade silicone tho'

As for the vinegar... no amount of "miracle cures" will work with a gasket that is over 100 years old.

Jimbo

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wev
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iconnumber posted 07-30-2002 08:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The vinegar is for the metal works, not the gasket -- sweetens the metal, to quote my gran. As for the gasket, pure Indian rubber is still available and should (after a good washing) be fine. As an alternative, you might try a restaurant supply house -- the local here carries all sorts of gaskets and washers for various machines -- you may find one that is close enough.

[This message has been edited by wev (edited 07-30-2002).]

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 07-30-2002 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jimbo,

We have not actually tried to made coffee with our Napier, but I must say, this thread has gotten us inspired to give it a go. I'll keep you posted.

June

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JimboJava
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iconnumber posted 08-18-2002 09:43 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
June,

I bought a small, thin sheet of "food grade" silicone and cut out a gasket for my Napier and then proceeded to make a pot of coffee. Let me tell you, I was quite impressed with how well it worked! I even used the original alcohol burner. The coffee was as good or better than my vacpots that I use! Now that I feel more comfortable with using it and less afraid of "ruining" it I'm likely to use it a little more often, most likely during dinner parties and when good friends are over.

If you haven't given your Napier a try, do so... Also, I have a couple of friends that are interested in the Napiers now, if you ever find anymore and don't want them yourself, please let me know. Also, if you ever want to part with yours, let me know!


Jimbo

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June Martin
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iconnumber posted 08-18-2002 09:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jimbo,

Now you've really got me jazzed about trying the Napier. Thanks for the update. Will certainly keep you in mind if we find another one in our travels.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 11-26-2002 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was strolling about the web and ran across this cool version of a Napier coffee maker. It is Polish in origin, c 1900.

It stands 16" tall and 9" wide.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 03-01-2005 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is an example of the Napier shown near the start of this thread but this is a newer model with a spigot.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 01-22-2014 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The balance brewer form of the Napier has become the new rage ...

Here is a video of a Balance brewer in action

Here is a very comprehensive review of balance brewers.

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 01-22-2014 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Russian video

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 08-30-2016 01:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 07-11-2017 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
See:

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