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Older Vacuum Brewing Equipment Availability

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  • Older Vacuum Brewing Equipment Availability

    There is a lot of older vacuum brewing equipment available out there with some looking.

    I use a Nicro 1512 12 cup vacuum brewer which brews two USA quarts or 12 five ounce cups of coffee at a time. Nicro brewing equipment is normally available on ebay USA and is all stainless steel construction so is virtually indestructible. There is still a source for the gasket which fits between the lower and upper too. Nicro made a number of models with capacities of 8 to 12 American coffee cups or 40 to 60 ounces of water, 2 to 3 Imperial pints. The Nicro filter is a two disc all stainless steel labyrinth filter assembly which some consider to be one of the best vacuum coffee maker filters ever made so be sure one is included if buying a used Nicro brewer. They can work with other filters including glass rod filters and others. Some of the Hario and Yama filters will not fit due to the diameter of the recessed area the filter sits in within the upper pot assembly. All Nicro and large gasket Cory and Silex upper units have a similar size and shape recessed area the filter sits in and the gasket seats over and grips.

    Other all metal vacuum coffee brewers were made such as the ABCO aluminum ones and some under the Cory name but they are scarce compared to Nicro units.

    Glass vacuum brewers were made by Silex and Cory as the primary makers. Gaskets are still available for Silex units, both large and small neck versions, and large neck Cory units. Silex made units in 4 to 12 cup sizes and Cory did 6 to 12 cup versions that I know of. Both are Pyrex borosilicate glass construction so are breakable. Readily available on ebay USA and frequently cheaper than the equivalent new model plus available in larger sizes that no one makes today.

    Other American vacuum brewers from the 1930's through 1960s era include Sunbeam automatic vacuum pots in metal construction and gaskets are still available for them. More to go wrong with a fully automatic unit IMO. As I live at a high enough altitude I want manual control to try to compensate for lower brewing temperatures. Automatic brewers also are usually power specific and an American 115V 60 cycle unit may not like 220V and 50 cycles.

    The big killer for use of many of the old American vacuum brewers is gaskets as it is now 50+ years since they were made and the gaskets do dry out, harden and fail. For other than the mentioned units, which still have gaskets being made, getting a good gasket may be difficult to impossible and the units are shelf queens without a good gasket.

    Cona vacuum brewing equipment has been made for a long time and still is so is widely available used too. Current new items are overpriced in my opinion and I personally prefer stove top vacuum brewers so find spirit lamp and butane burner coffee makers a bit ridiculous and obsolete.

  • #2
    Very interesting stuff Rich...

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs mate...



    • #3
      Thanks Mal.

      As near as I can tell based on ebay USA current offering numbers vacuum brewers were number three in popularity for about 30 years in the USA. First place was percolators, second was drip coffee makers and third was the vacuum coffee unit based on listings in the ebay "Collectables" area. Popular enough so that practically all coffee maker manufacturers and many large retailers had a vacuum brewer offering or multiple ones. Silex and Cory were the most popular units and Nicro for most of it's life was a division of Cory. Rather than spirits burners both Silex and Cory offered single burner electric table top hot plates to allow brewing at the table. They could all be used on a regular stove too generally speaking.

      Rich Wood


      • #4
        I just placed additional information on Nicro and Silex vacuum brewers in the vacuum brewing equipment sticky. I hope that members find it useful. For larger vacuum brewers and stove top units I expect that a used equipment buy from the USA can frequently be cheaper than a current production unit purchase done locally. Certainly a purchase of a Nicro stainless steel unit will provide a more rugged and unbreakable vacuum brew pot than is available today in glass form, about the only type available.

        Based on current used listings on ebay and Etsy the standard size American vacuum brewer was an 8 coffee cup unit which means basically 40 ounces, 1200ml or 2 Imperial pints brewing capacity, the same size as the large Yama stove top unit and the Cona "D" size table top unit. The major makers did do 12 cup units. My Nicro 1512 unit can take a bit over 64 fluid ounces of water which after brewing gives 12 five ounce cups of finished coffee, after what is absorbed by the coffee grounds. I am not personally aware of larger units other than a listing for a 13 cup Silex unit in one catalog. Smaller than 8 cup units were made by Cory and Silex but listings for them are scarce in comparison to the 8 cup size units which commercially seem to have been the most popular size by far.

        If looking for a family or party size vacuum brewer take a look at the American used options. With proper selection you can end up with a unit every bit as capable as a current large Yama or Bodum glass coffee maker in either glass or stainless steel. For metal another option is an ABCO vacuum pot. Scarce but they do show up. Aluminum construction and a Cory large gasket fits and works. I have never seen the original ABCO filter except in photos but others should work fine. Mine is art deco style and quite attractive, at least to me.

        There were literally dozens of vacuum coffee maker brands made and sold in the USA in the period from about 1930 to the 1960s or so; but except for Nicro, Cory large gasket and Silex units in stove top form and Sunbeam and Farberware in automatic electrical units gaskets are a major concern. No interchangeability list exists that I have ever seen. Of course in Australia the electrical requirements of the mains powered units will also be a problem unless you can find a unit configured for export when made. An unlikely occurrence.
        Last edited by Richwood; 25 March 2015, 08:14 AM.