Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Archer Microflame torch

Leonard E. Laske of Minneapolis, Minnesota, received a U.S. patent for this torch in 1966. These torches were popular in the 1970's.  They consisted of a red cartridge containing butane, and a second cartridge containing "Micronox", a trade name for compressed nitrous oxide.  The cartridges were forced into place in the same manner as CO2 cartridges for air guns.  The torch produced a flame of slightly over 5000 degrees F. (2760° C.). (This is hot!  By contrast, a propane torch produces 3,623°F (1,995°C.) and an acetylene/oxygen flame burns at about 6,332°F (3,500°C)).   I don't think I'd want my hand so close to such temperatures!  The Micronox burned more quickly than the butane, so you needed 2 of those cartridges to use one butane cartridge, which would give you a half hour of use. The setup was designed for thin stock, 1/32" thickness maximum.  

This heating technology has now slipped into history. Until it expired in 2007, "Archer" was a trademark of the Tandy Corporation, owners of Radio Shack, which filed for bankruptcy in February 2015.  It has since been saved by Standard General, a hedge fund, which plans to operate some of the stores in partnership with Sprint.  While only about 1740 of Radio Shack's more than 4000 stores will remain open, the deal will nevertheless preserve as many as 7500 jobs.

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