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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.