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Antarctic conservation

1 Post tagged with the cast_iron_stove tag

Drink or Die

Posted by Conservators Jun 18, 2012

Author: Stefan

Date: 7 June 2012

Temperature: -34C

Wind Speed: 17 knots

Temp with wind chill: -55C

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A



Water melting can be a frustrating chore when out in the field. It seems to be required almost constantly. As our primus stoves are designed to be light weight and small, the water melting pots in turn have a limited capacity. As you might expect Scott and his team at Cape Evans hut had a great many more important things to be filling their time with so a giant water melter was fitted to the central stove, allowing them probably two days grace, before having to shovel in a fresh batch of snow.


Image 1.jpgImage water melter 2.jpg

Conservation of Cape Evans snow melter © AHT/ Stefan


In visiting the hut you realise the ribbed cast iron stove is like the heart of the building, and the re-installation of the water melter is going to give a great deal of interpretational focus back to the hut.


Unfortunately the melter had been left outside Cape Evan’s hut for decades and has been badly corroded in the freeze thaw cycles. Although we try to ensure no modern materials are visible in the conservation of these works, it’s necessary to incorporate a mount for the melter (ensuring that the corroded base doesn’t take the weight of the main structure). I’ve currently treated the corrosion, and have fitted a reversible support to the base. The next step will be the creation of a Perspex mount which will slot into the rebate of the base, and allow the sturdy edge of the metal to support the weight. When finished the melter will be re-installed at Cape Evans, and the supports will not be visible.


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Meares at the Pianola, the melter to his left, wired to the stove  © SPRI