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Vintage Stanley Aladdin Vacuum Flask Review

Vintage Stanley Aladdin Vacuum Flask Review

Vintage Stanley Aladdin vacuum flask review in real world use after 40 years.

A vintage Stanley Aladdin vacuum flask is a great investment if you can manage to acquire one, they are extremely well made making them suited to all tasks more than a century after their introduction.

Stanley Brand History

The guy who started it all was William Stanley way back in 1913, he invented the double wall vacuum flask made of steel and esestially made a flask so bulletproof you can still see them in use today – hence this post. Stanley flasks back then really were built to last.

How I came about this flask

It was on our trip back to the UK when this old Stanley flask appeared, we needed something for coffee when out hiking and the flask was dug out from the depths of a cupboard. It had been my Dad’s flask which he bought in the early 80’s for work when he was farming so it had been banging around in tractors and pickups for a good few years before it went into hibernation.

Vintage Stanley Aladdin Vacuum Flask
Vintage Stanley Aladdin Vacuum Flask

I’d forgotten about it, didn’t give a second thought about it at the time but my old man was a firm believer in buying the best you can afford and this is a prime example of money well spent as the Stanley still works perfectly.

  • Capacity: 1.7 litres [1.8 quart]
  • Cup capacity: 200mls
  • Height: 37cm [14.57″]
  • Base circumference: 11.7cm [4.6″]

After being boxed up for the best part of 30 years the Stanley saw daylight again and it was nice to have something of my Dad’s that I could actually use as part of our overlanding gear set up, this is no hiking flask but will sit nicely in the footwell of the Shogun during the winter months.

Vintage Stanley Aladdin Vacuum Flask
Vintage Stanley Flasks – bulletproof

Have you dug out a vintage Stanley Aladdin vacuum flask that was in the family years previously and do you intent to us it?

Putting the Stanley to use

So you can’t stuff this flask into the pocket on your back pack, at least not this size – it’s massive and reassuringly heavy. Originally purchased for using out and about on a working farm this size of flask is best for living in a vehicle which is exactly how I intend to use over the winter.

Stanley Aladdin classic

There are sometimes when you’re out overlanding and you simply cannot be bothered to pull out the back of the rig, get the gas stove out or fire kettle and all that’s involved in making coffee. Sometimes it’s just easier and less aggravation to open a flask inside the vehicle and pour yourself one – keeping warm in the process… This is where the Stanley comes in.

Performance

Before bringing the flask back to Spain with us [which involved a bag search at airport security] we had the opportunity to us this flask on two occassions in the UK while out and about. Filled with coffee for the first time in decades the flask sat in the boot of the hire car before coming out for the obligatory mid morning break then again in the afternoon.

I have to say that the coffee as kept piping hot and was still hot enough the same evening nearly 12 hours later. The weight of this big flask is not an issue when you’re using it in the car and the peace of mind that is simply won’t break is good too.

Stanley Aladdin flask
Stanley Aladdin – still good after 40 years

Leaks? Nope, none.

The handle on this model is probably the weakest point but it still does the job, it has to because even with my big hands it’s a challenge to pour the coffee without it, the circumference is that big.

My only complaint might be the drinking cup, at only 200ml it’s on the small side for a flask of this size, it is however good quality and has stood the test of time well along with the rest of the flask.

How to date a Vintage Stanley Vacuum Flask

Dating a vintage Stanley Aladdin vacuum flask is easy, you need to look at the base of the flask where you will find some writing. What you are looking out for is a letter [either A, B, C or D] followed by two numbers, for example my flask has A84.

how do i tell how old my stanley flask is?
Date codes on the base of the Stanley Aladdin

The letter denotes the quarter of the year the flask was made:

  • A – January to March
  • B – April to June
  • C – July to September
  • D – October to December

So, in my case the flask was manufactured in the first quarter of the year in 1984.

Vintage quality

A modern flask from today isn’t going to make it 40 years even if it is laid up in a cupboard for a couple of decades. These Stanley vacuum flasks were from an era when everything was made well, made to last. Companies put their name behind creating quality products and were less profit focused than they are today.

are old stanley flasks good
Stanley

You can see the same thing in cars to a certain extent, kids toys too are now made of plastic not like the post war cast iron or tin made toys of the day which lasted forever. The Stanley is also simple in design, the cavity in between the double steel layer is packed with charcoal dust [Char-Vac™] which makes the flask heavy and way more robust and bulky than the glass alternatives of the day which of course were lighter but fragile by comparison.

The char-vac design was changed in 2009, after all those years of ‘simple works’ a newer technology was introduced for a new age. The problem is that not everyone thinks that the newer flasks are as good even though Stanley introduced their ‘Master Series’ in 2017.

Scouring the net for thoughts and opinions from people who have had a vintage flask and then purchased a new one the general concensus is that the older flasks are hands down the better flask.

I for one won’t be making this comparison, I love old skool gear and this Stanley is right up my street, heavy, bulky, I don’t care, it’s a great piece of functional gear, old enough to be cool and something that will continue to serve me well for many years to come and even my own kids.

I wonder what Grandad would have thought of that.

Resources:

1600 900 Mac

Mac

K90overland is Mac and Gayle, they lived in Andalucia for 19 years before moving back to the UK. Overlanding since 2019 the pair have built up a 'budget rig' and now enjoy a relaxed approach to discovering Scotland and the north of England.

Mac
11 Comments
  • Mac,

    I found this post after searching for the country of origin (Brazil, China) for the new Stanley products being sold at Target in the U.S. Enjoyed reading this. I grew up near Nashville, TN; my father was a moldmaker in tool and die at Aladdin for 38 years. He has passed, but we still have his two or three Stanley bottles, including the original he bought in the 70s – it is well-worn but still functional! You are right – they were built to last! I was sorry to see Aladdin go – what is left of the company is in Hendersonville, TN, where they ship insulated food trays to hospitals. The lamps are imported for another company. The factory complex in Nashville has been demolished.

    • Hi Cheryl, many thanks for your interesting post. You certainly can’t beat the old originals for sure, I think your Dad worked during an era when products were made well and quality was far more important than it is today – the old Stanley products prove that. I agree with you about Aladdin, it’s sad to see these operations from the good old days have to cut back to make way for today’s high demands on pricing etc. It would be great all round of we could bring back the ethos of the old days, I for one don’t mind paying extra for good quality gear. Thanks again for passing by the blog. Mac

  • Hi and thank you for writing this.

    I have several Stanley products and love them. They do a great job for my needs.

    I wanted to get a larger bottle and came across a 1 liter bottle at an antique shop. It was still in the box and only $20US. I wasn’t sure of its age, but it mentions the company being over 90 years old. I figured this bottle was made in the late 90s to early 00s.

    Your research answered my question. I easily found the B 04 on the bottom.

    The older Stanley products have a feel to them that no other gear can duplicate. This will go in my gear box for camping or cool weather picnics and photo shoots.

    Thank you so much,
    Stacy

    • Hi Stacy, thanks for passing by and for your comments. I fully agree that the older products do have a feel about them, it’s like a vintage, well built kind of thing with a weight about it that gives you confidence. Glad you found the post useful and the 1ltr bottle – boxed, yeah you scored a great deal there for sure. Mac

  • Hi,
    Since the tumblers have become a big thing….I have a story and a request.
    In 1976 when I was an apprentice tool and die maker, I bought a used AladdinStanley
    A-944B.I used it for decades. I retired it and put it away. I am now retired myself and dug out the gal. In trying to educate myself, I have looked at several sites trying to get the date/decipher when mine was made.
    There is a S/N to the left of the logo that is 00168 and made in Hendersonville, Tn.
    Can you please tell me when it was manufactured?
    The base of this jewel is beaten to death as I used to ride a motorcycle to work and had it several times fall from my back pack. It had never failed me, nover leaked. Wow…what a product. They don’t build them like they used too.
    Best Regards,
    Gary Henkel

    • Hi Gary, the fact that it fell from your backpack is testiment to how well built the old models were. I’ve looked to see if there is any other way of dating but I think the only way i to get the letters and numbers from the base plate, the numbers more importantly, are they not legible at all?

      • Hi Mac. Found my Dad’s and it was manufactured in Nashville. Numbers on bottom are A 944NS. Can uou tell me the age? Thanks Kandi Cirelli

        • Hi Kandis, I don’t think that is the number, it needs to be a letter then two numbers, do you know roughly how old it might be? 70’s? 80’s?

    • I also have an Aladdin NO. 100 CUP NO. A-944B QUART NO.11 STOPPER
      MFD. BY ALADDIN INDUSTRIES, INC. NASHVILLE, TENN. 37210 U.S.A.
      It has a number that looks like it has been done with smaller scrib and it is 00972
      I was thinking it may be the date of sept ‘72?? Because it looks like the bottom of the silver chrome bottom piece is the same on all Quart made at this plant. Yours may be Jan of 68?? Especially since the town is different! It has instructions for use and Patten information on request. Then in the center indented area it has a logo saying Aladdin over Stanley then under that it says ‘It will not break’
      I was looking to see if these also had a small amount of lead in them?

  • Hi all. found my first older Stanley today and I’m trying to figure out it’s age! I read about how to date them but I’m still a little unsure, as there is a A 88 above the Aladdin Stanley logo, but a NO. A-944DH bellow the logo. Any ideas? Thanks!

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