Picked up this baby bear

sundgren

New Member
Feb 1, 2021
4
98077
Any tips on cleaning it up? It is actually pretty clean and in great shape from what i can tell. You can see the stove paint and cleaner I bought to get it restored, also planning on doing the silver on the trees and FISHER by hand. Any idea what year this might be just for fun? I am also looking for cool leg ideas assuming I cannot find the bear feet. thanks!
baby bear 2.jpg
baby bear.jpg
baby bear 3.jpg
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,179
NE PA
Very early, possibly first year of Baby Bear production. (Sept. 1974) Original paint too. It hasn’t been used hard.
By the end of ‘74 there were 8 licensees building stoves. Bob’s cousin Barb Jorgensen was the license owner for Washington at the time.

Here she is with Aaron from the scan of the original 8 X 10 glossy that was used for advertisement. Published April 18, 1976. They continued to use photos of older stoves through advertisements, this stove, A Mama Bear being much earlier.

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Here is the back; I obtained from The Rogers Photo Archive, North Little Rock Arizona.

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coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,179
NE PA
That is so rare on the East Coast! (not many were transported as families moved) I would WD-40 the missing paint spots to prevent rust and keep it original. Of course not firing it. The few in my collection from this vintage and older I had shipped from the first states that produced them around your area.
This could be from '75, but the draft caps were changed from Bob's original idea using pipe caps to Bob's dads invention of the intake air damper with fins to be able to use your foot on the hot air adjuster. The handle length and stainless spring suggest late 1974 or 1975 as well. You could use a chrome ball and easily fake a 1974.
Please don't post a pic of painted trees, my heart can't take it. Find any old cheap stove to customize. They are only original once!
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,179
NE PA
Originally yours would have adjustable chrome ball feet, if any. They had a round rod welded to the inside of the leg and a chrome ball slides on rod with set screw to set height. The bear paws were much later. If you can find a good pair of Black Oxide straight facing feet they would look ok.

Here is a 4 fin cap with older ball handle. Using up old stock parts gave different combinations. The newly designed caps were not as cheap as buying pipe caps. Bob also thought his dad was selling them for too much and figured some builders would not buy his, using what they could buy locally. Being from the family business, yours probably would have bought the air dampers from her uncle Baxter. Other fabricators just needing cheap dampers made their own pipe caps into '76. By then Bob started his own with 5 fins, selling cheaper.

Baby 4 fin w chrome handle MaineCL.jpg

Baby Bear Napa 1 650.jpg Newer feet on an older Baby Bear. Just no.

This is one of the first from my collection and has no provision for feet. I'm thinking it was an option. I've seen with and without.

Baby Bear Completed.JPG
 

sundgren

New Member
Feb 1, 2021
4
98077
Wow! thanks for all the great info, means a lot to me to get this intel. I am a little surprised it is that early, I was guessing it was late 70's. And I am more of a original patina kinda guy so am now thinking of just cleaning her up and putting her to use, plan is to use the baby bear to heat my backyard indoor/outdoor shed and office. Will be fairly infrequently used. Coaly, you aren't fond of the silver trees eh???
 

sundgren

New Member
Feb 1, 2021
4
98077
Oh, quick question, you said WD40 the rough spots, I am a total newb to stove restoration, to clarify, just spray on WD40 and wipe off? What's the best method to clean her up but maintain the orginial patina and character but still use it occasionally? thanks!
 

coaly

Fisher Moderator
Staff member
Dec 22, 2007
4,179
NE PA
Yes, the first give away is the 3 piece top. They were changed to bent tops very early. The door handle grew longer with time, then in the late 70's it was bent forward on the end. Your spring is a tight wound stainless spring that was changed to the spring steel course wound springs found today on many stoves right after the '76 Grandpa Bear debut. The pipe caps are another sign of very early production. By '76 most all fabricators changed over to the finned caps. Anything older will have no trees on the doors.

WD-40 was formulated for applying to the aluminum skin of aircraft. It displaces water leaving a coating to prevent rust and corrosion. It's not a great penetrant or long lasting lubricant. If you’re going to use it, the high temp will burn it off. So you will need to touch up the paint with new paint. It’s not a big deal, new paint is better than missing paint that will rust. It's there to protect the steel and easily removed or repainted.

Later doors were available with nickel or brass plate. That was new for 1980, with the advent of the arched top doors. No flat top doors were plated. To me, when people highlight the trees and FISHER, they are posing as having the optional plated, polished highlighted doors. There, I said it. They are posers, just like sticking the GT 500 decals on a Mustang with a V-6 posing as having a true GT 500, or raising your Land Rover and adding a winch when the most off road it sees is the mall parking lot! Rant off;

Here is a customized door that was brass plated, painted and simply wipe the paint from raised areas you want polished with mineral sprits before firing. Doing this to a collector stove is as bad as buying an all original Model T and making a T Bucket out of it adding a Chevy 327, 4 speed and chrome mags.

Nickel plated door ready for paint.JPG Custom plated Mama / Papa door before paint.

Nickel Mama 6.jpg

Nickel Mama 7.jpg When you try to emulate that with paint, you become the poser.

Nickel Mama 5.jpg That's how you highlight doors. Anything less is, well you know.....

Nickel Mama 1.jpg This has all the elements of a 1979 stove, just before the flat top doors became obsolete. This is the UL Listed type box with Fireplace Legs.

Plated or Painted Mama Bear Shawn 1.jpg This is a very good attempt with paint. Meh, after the real thing.


Grandma green trees 2.jpg No comment
 

sundgren

New Member
Feb 1, 2021
4
98077
WOW! What a wealth if information, thank you kindly! Will update you on this once I finish restoring this baby bear to as close to original as possible.