Curtain Burner

1970's Era Pressurized Alcohol Stove (aka: Curtain Burner)

As the owner of an older boat, I quickly learned the fickleness of my 1970’s era pressurized alcohol stove. Put too much alcohol in the priming tray and I would sit with my fire extinguisher aimed ready to put out the fire. On more than one occasion I found myself watching flames almost reaching the ceiling (guess that’s why it was called the “curtain burner”). Once the flame was stable, it worked fairly well; however, I was never comfortable with it. While alcohol fires can be extinguished by water, they can be hard to see and spread before anyone notices.


I had been considering my options for some time but hadn’t taken any action. Then, on the longest day of the year, a new boat owner had his sailboat in the middle of the bay, anchored for lunch and decided to try out his alcohol stove. Flames quickly engulfed the boat; thankfully there were only minor injuries however 5 people were rescued from the water. As the nearest fire boat was over an hour away, the authorities made the decision to let the boat burn to the water line, quite the site to see a burning sailboat floating around the bay.

That’s all it took for me to quickly do something about my cooking system. By the next week the stove, lines and tank were out of my boat.

Now comes the tough part, deciding what to replace it with. Go2marine carries cook stoves from several major manufactures and has recently added the Kenyon Appliance line of stoves. With electric models, self-priming alcohol, even electric grills so charcoal and liquid fuels are not needed to get that grilled look and taste, Kenyon stoves may be just what I am looking for.

Still have not decided what I am going to use as a permanent solution but for the time being, the Kenyon Express II model works perfect, fuel cartridges are long lasting, readily available and the entire unit is so portable that I can take it for a picnic, camping or where ever extra cooking space is needed.