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      Wicks for virtually every heater, stove and lamp made since 1850

World's Largest Seller of Perfection Wicks!!!

(Above, original window sign from the 1930's, used in neighborhood stores.)


These instructions also apply to Perfection heater clones, such as the Barler, New Process, Nesco, Tropical #015 Oil Heater, United States Stove Co. Model US-89A, Valor 525, Savoil D-81,
Sears 103.76010 and 155.76016 and "Old Antique" Kerosene Heaters

Site Index for all things Perfection

How To Get Best Results From Your Perfection Heater

History of the Perfection Stove Company

Standard Oil Bulletin, June, 1914, history of Cleveland Foundary Co. (pdf)


(For Perfection 300 & 400 heaters go here.)
(For Perfection 441 Superfex go here.)

Perfection Order Form
for those without Internet service

The Perfection heater company began production of oil lamp stoves in 1888, and in 1894 began producing heaters - the Perfection 500.  Most Perfection heaters available today were based on a June 12, 1913 patent.  Over 3 million Perfection heaters were in use before 1919.  My Perfection 730 shown on the right was manufactured in the 1970's, but is virtually identical to models made 50 years earlier.   [Click on all photos to enlarge.]


Perfection heaters used a removable font which sat in the bottom of the hinged tip-over body assembly.  The modern font on the right is galvanized steel, whereas pre-war fonts were made of brass.  Both parts should be polished with a quality auto polish to prevent rusting or oxidation.



When that portion of the wick that projects above the metal wick carrier has been burned away in use and the wick refuses to turn up any further, remove it and insert a new wick.

1. Remove Flame Spreader.  Clean any soot from the flame spreader, paying particular attention to keeping the air holes clear of any debris.  Even the top of the flame spreader (far right) should be cleaned & polished for best results.


2. Remove the Gallery by turning counter clockwise.  That is often easier said than done, as the threads on the bottom of the gallery can become corroded to the font.  The sides of the gallery are fragile, being filigreed with air holes; if the gallery does not remove easily, a strap wrench on the bottom offers a better chance of removal without damage.  After removal, apply silicone or high temperature grease to threads after cleaning them off.

If the gallery is stuck:  Go slowly!  Read below for some clues.


3. Turn wick up as high as it will go with adjusting wheel.    (DO NOT force the adjusting wheel. See below for stuck wicks.)

4. Pull out both the used wick and metal carrier from the wick tube and throw them away.

Click on the photo on the right to enlarge it, and the cog wheels which raise and lower the wick are quite visible.


Old Perfection heaters are being refurbished and put back into service.  Sometimes these heaters have not been used for decades, and the wick raising mechanism does not readily move the wick.   DO NOT FORCE THE WICK TO MOVE USING THE WICK ADJUSTER!  The usual problem with a stuck wick is the wick being glued (old fuel residue) or rusted to (ambient moisture) the center air pillar. You do NOT want to try moving the wick with the wick adjuster, as that will just strip the gears and star wheels.

Use a slender blade knife, like a fillet knife, and slip it between the wick and the central air pillar. Work the blade all the way around the central air pillar to loosen anything holding the wick to the tube. Then grab the WICK CARRIER with your fingers or even pliers - on opposite sides of the wick carrier - and pull the wick straight up and out.

 TO INSERT A NEW    wick made in England

5. Remove new wick from carton and straighten out folded-in ends of wick.

6. Place wick, split end down, over the wick tube. See that split side of wick straddles the two cog-wheels that operate wick carrier (see photo above). Force wick down until cog-wheels engage with holes in metal wick carrier. (Should the wick catch while forcing carrier down, it is due to the small points at top of wick carrier catching over the wick tube. Apply pressure on carrier so as to release these points.)

7. Turn wick down as far as it will go by means of adjusting wheel.

Perfection    500 wick     $13.95

Very sorry to be out of Perfection 500 and #3L wicks.  Hattersley in England has been on lockdown on and off since February and are behind in making my wicks.  I do not know when I will receive the wicks.  Miles Stair

ALTERNATIVE:  You can keep an old Perfection, Wards, Barler, Valor, Savoil D-81 (Ypsilanti, MI) or other Perfection clone working by sewing a new wick into your old carrier!  This wick works perfectly with the steel sleeve in all Perfection heaters. When measured flat, wick is approx 4 3/16" wide and 9 3/8" long.  The rivets and old wick are removed and the wick is then sewn into the carrier. Sew with 1 5/8" (40mm) exposed above carrier.  When wick burns down, cut threads, raise wick to expose 1 5/8" more wick, and reattach.   Click photo to enlarge.  $13.95

Large Mica window (4'' x 5") for Perfection heaters that have windows. These are NOT the glass chimneys for art deco design Perfection heaters. Easily cut with scissors to fit individual heaters.  No notches; heavyweight mica.  $8.95 each.

8. Replace gallery by turning clockwise as far as possible. Be sure that the threads on bottom of the gallery squarely engage threads on reservoir.

9. Turn the wick up level with the top of the wick tube. (If uneven, level it by pulling up the low side of the wick.) Clip any loose threads or raveling projecting from the top of wick with scissors.

10. Replace flame spreader. Fill reservoir with kerosene and allow the wick to soak for a half hour before lighting.

To Fill Reservoir

Tilt upper drum back and remove reservoir. Lift up filler cap and fill the reservoir with a good grade of kerosene. If the reservoir is full the rod in the center of the filler cap will be raised about two inches above the filler cap. This rod, which is part of the built-in fuel gage will return to its original position as the kerosene is used up. Replace reservoir in heater.

To Light Burner

  • 1. With wick turned down, first make sure that flame spreader is secure in its position on top of wick tube and that gallery is screwed down tight.

  • 2. After giving wick time to become saturated with kerosene, using hand wheel, turn wick up until flame spreader stops it.

  • 3. Apply lighted match to SIDE of wick in several places.  Adjust flame height after the flame spreader attains maximum heat.

  • 4. Close heater and make sure that catch is securely fastened. The safety catch should be locked under the lowest lug. If heater has a spring catch, make sure that it snaps into the closed position.

  • To Extinguish Flame

  • Turn wick down as far as it will go. This will permit flame spreader to drop on top of wick tubes and extinguish flame.

  • Storage Precautions

  • When heater is not to be used for a month or longer, empty reservoir and store heater in a dry place. If there is danger of rust, steel drums should be protected with oil, or better yet, by cleaning, then polishing with a good grade of liquid auto polish.


    How To Get Best Results From Your Perfection Heater

    (Taken directly from original Perfection Instructions)

  • 1. Keep the perforations in the gallery open. Keep the perforations in the gallery free from lint and dirt by wiping gallery every day or two. If any of the perforations become clogged, the air supply is reduced, causing the heater to smoke.

  • 2. Keep the flame spreader clean. With a stiff brush, clean all perforations and with a knife scrape the carbon off the flange against which the wick strikes. Hold the flame spreader to the light to see that all perforations are clean and open.

  • 3. Keep wick tubes clean. Keep the char cleaned from the top of the wick tube by wiping with a cloth.

  • 4. Clean wick daily. If the heater is in daily use, clean the wick daily. Remove the flame spreader and raise the wick until the top portion is even with the top of the tube. Wipe loose carbon or char off the top of the wick with a cloth. Pat the remaining wick down evenly with the fingers.

  • Do not allow reservoir to burn dry. Each time this happens, one-quarter inch of the wick is consumed.

  • 5. Burn heater at high flame. This heater is built to burn at high flame and will not smoke if pure kerosene is used and the wick, gallery and flame spreader are clean. Simply turn wick up as far as it will go. Apply match to SIDE of wick and close heater. (Never lift the flame spreader to light top of wick.)

  • 6. Supply plenty of fresh air. Perfection heaters burn many hundreds of gallons of air to each gallon of kerosene. When used in a bathroom or other small space, leave the door ajar two inches so that fresh air can flow in. It will be warmed as it passes up through the heater. Insufficient supply of fresh air will cause the heater to smoke.

  • 7. Use pure kerosene. Use only a good grade of kerosene. Never mix gasoline, even a small amount, with it. It is desirable to drain the reservoir occasionally and then put in fresh kerosene. This will safeguard the reservoir and wick carrier from possible corrosion and rust.

  • CAUTION: If used on a trailer, boat or other moving conveyance - NEVER operate this heater while in motion. A serious fire may result.

  •   Perfection  heaters do not have a safety tip-over switch, being designed in the days when people used common sense, not their own personal lawyer.


    Parts of this heater have been oiled to prevent rusting. Before lighting heater for the FIRST TIME, wipe thoroughly with a cloth. Since the remaining oil will burn off, causing a disagreeable odor for ten or fifteen minutes, the heater should be placed where this odor will not be offensive.



    Go slowly! The gallery is very thin. It cannot take much leverage. Penetrating oil, let is soak in, more penetrating oil, then freezing. Then try it. The gallery can be stuck from two reasons: old oil residue, and rust/corrosion. Penetrating oil can infiltrate the old oil residue, given time, and can break the rust/corrosion barrier, given time, but it will still be difficult to turn in the threads. Remember that metal expands and contracts with heat and cold, respectively. By placing the font/gallery assembly in a freezer at 0F, the metal will shrink and further weaken the bond binding the threads. If that doesn't free it up, then the application of heat might well do it. But brute force applied without giving any type of penetrating oil time to work will almost always result in a bent gallery. 

    If the gallery and fount are not rusted, merely glued together from old solidified fuel residue, then boiling in detergent and hot water is the easiest way to get parts "unglued" so they can be removed without damage.  Use the same procedure as for center draft flame spreader lamps, as the Perfection heater is essentially an oversize center draft lamp.  It takes a larger boiling pot, but this method does work.

    Reader Mark H. in MA wrote: "I found if you use "PB Buster" (an automotive parts rust buster penetrating oil) sprayed around the gallery and the fill gauge it helped break up and dissolve the old gummed kerosene. It works great." 

    George C, a reader, recommended Evapo-rust. "I took the whole wick adjuster and soaked over night. it works like a new one. If it had not been for this stuff would not have been able to salvage the heater."


    It is not uncommon to find pinholes in the fuel tank on old Perfection heaters, particularly post-War steel fonts. If the holes are not too large they can be repaired.  I sand the area of the leak smooth, pick at the holes with a stout sewing needle to clean debris from the holes, removed any oil from the metal with acetone, and apply a thin layer of J-B Weld epoxy over all areas that even appeared to have indentations or pits.  After drying/curing, I sand the J-B Weld smooth, put the tank on a piece of newspaper, and pour in some fuel.  It works!  No leaks.  J-B Weld epoxy can be easily applied with an artist's paint trowel, so little sanding is required.  Of course all the sanding required to get to bare metal (so the epoxy will stick) removes the galvanizing, so the tank must be painted with an anti-rust type spray paint to prevent future rusting. J-B Kwik Weld works as well as the slower curing J-B Weld for this purpose.

    The trick to success in sealing the leak is complete cleanliness before applying the J-B Weld. The tank must be emptied, wick assembly removed, sanded or whatever to clean the entire area where the leak is, then repeatedly brushed with acetone to remove residual kerosene. A thin layer of J-B Weld pressed into the seam or over the leak with an artist's trowel, then smoothing, will seal the seam. Let dry in that position for two (2) very long days (regular J-B Weld, 12 hours for Kwik Weld). Then put enough fuel into the tank so that the fuel level is above any repairs, set it on a section of newspaper, and watch for leaks. The newspaper will tell you if there are any leaks and where they are located. Then and only then can you again empty the tank, clean and sand, and paint with a zinc based paint like Rustoleum.

    Leaks or stress cracks in pre-War brass Perfection fuel tanks should be soldered.

    So many Perfection heater clones were sold that some manufacturers had their own brand name on Perfection 500 heater wicks.  Above left is an original NOS NESCO wick.  The cute little round box is marked "Number 348.  8 1/2" circumference - for use in all Standard Size 3 and 4 quart founts of Nesco De Luxe Oil Heaters, Numbers 30, 40.  Also for Nesco Tropical Oil Heaters, Numbers 012, 015.   To trim, rub with cloth or paper."  Above right, a US Stove Co "500" wick.  Click photos to enlarge.

    1934 Perfection HiPower advertisement

    1939 Perfection advertisement

    1946 Perfection Advertisement

    1949 Perfection Advertisement

    For photos of Perfection heaters, see the Photo Album.

    If your font  has leaks, it can often be repaired.


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