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carbide- acetylene

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Phlash in OK
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:37 am    Post subject: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Does anyone remember the carbide generators used to produce acetylene for cutting and welding? They were also used for house lighting before rural electricty was available. The same principle was used for lamps for miners, coon hunters, etc. Can one buy big canns of carbide anymore?
 
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Jeff NWOH
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:02 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I"m not sure if you or I can buy it, but I"m pretty sure it is still manufactured. I work In a steel mill where we used to get it in 1 gal cans by the pallet load, semi loads at a time.

I believe we changed the way we treat heats and I dont see it around much any more.
 
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bill mart
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:06 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Found this on google
miners grade calcium carbide

 
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GeneMO
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:10 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I found a place that sold it, maybe ten years ago. I bought several cans, about quart sized. I also found an old antique can at a flea market, believe it or not, it was about 3/4 full. Some of it had turned to powder, but I screened it out, sealed it up and it is still good.

I use to collect and fix up old miners lamps. I have three or four that work.

Gene
 
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Mike (WA)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:10 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The guy on whose farm I worked when I was a kid was trying to get his old one going when I came to work one day. Couldn't seem to get it going properly, but we could smell acetylene, smell getting more intense as he went along. He finally turned it off, and said "We'd better clear out of here before we get blown to Kingdom Come." Next time I went over, it was gone.
 
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Russ from MN
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:11 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

When I googled it I saw pictures of a larger container, but no price. The smaller containers are quite expensive. When I was young I had a miners lamp that my Dad had used for shining deer in the 30's! I remember our neighbors using a cutting torch that had an acetylene generator. They had about a 15 gallon barrel of calcium carbide in the corner of their shop.
 
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flambeauone
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:12 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Bob and Bob cavers supply in Wheeling WV use to carry it.
 
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old
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:07 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I do not know about the carbide generators used for that type of stuff but back when I was still part of a local caving club we used a carbide light on the helmets we wore. Found my dads the other day hanging up in his shop.
 
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60 acre hillside
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:24 pm    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I learned to use a torch with one of the generators. I was told to leave the shop if the pressure got over 15 psi. I also remember a boy at school who put a few lumps of carbide in the water fountain.
 
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Stick welding
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:57 pm    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Acetylene generators are still used to produce commercial acetylene. The price of acetylene went way up a couple years ago because the only carbide plant in N. America had a HUGE explosion!!!
 
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john *.?-!.* cub owner
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:35 pm    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

No idea on where to get carbide, but treat those generators with respect. we had a welding/machine shop in town that had one of those generators. owner had used it for years and was careful, but one day it blew the back wall out of the shop. just happened that he had walked to front of building to get something and was safe.
 
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PJH
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Yeah, I remember two of those generators, in fact, I was about a block from one of them when it blew up. Blew the big swinging doors open, blew the window glass out of all the windows, even flapped the tin on the roof. I rode my bicycle down there real quick, and the old blacksmith was staggering around in a daze. Fire truck rolled up a few minutes later, but there was no fire. It was all over with the bang. The old guy's face was red all over, his hair was burned off everywhere his hat hadn't covered, and he had two white circles over his eyes where the little old-time gas welding goggles had protected his skin. You could even see where the little bead chain over his nose had been. The other blacksmith in town kept his cleaned up and working like a new one, and as far as I remember, never had a mishap with it. My welding instructer years ago said to run, don't walk, if anyone offers you a job and you find out there's an acetelyne generator working in the shop. He said that sooner or later it would kill someone. My personal experience has been 50% - it shoulda killed old Lawrence, but for some reason it just wasn't his time. Wrecked his shop & put him out of business though. Hope I haven't discouraged you, ha.

As far as buying "big" cans of carbide - up until the mid 70's or so (I'm guessing) all the local hardware stores sold it in any quantity you could walk out the door with, but the last time I wanted some for my big coon light, I couldn't find it anywhere. The folks that used to sell it said it was too hazardous to mess with, too much liability, too much hassle. I remember when you could get a Prince Albert can full for a dime, but that was back when Hector was a pup.
 
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Richard from SE AZ
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:55 pm    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Calcium Carbide is sold on fleabay. I buy it ocassionally because I collect those old miners lamps . I have about 40 and about half of them work.
 
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buickanddeere
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:57 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The shops that supply the Amish should carry carbide ?
 
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Brian G. NY
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:59 am    Post subject: Re: carbide- acetylene Reply to specific post Reply with quote

An old gentleman from our little town who was a professional welder among many other things, had one of those carbide generators for his torches.
Worked really well and I expect he maintained it as it should be. He was still using it up into the 50s.
I own an old farm house that has a carbide generator tank buried in the front lawn. It's about 4' in diameter and maybe 5' high with only about a foot sticking out of the ground. I don't think it has been used since the mid thirties when electricity came through here. The tank must be made out of good galvanized steel as there is barely any rust on it yet today.
 
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