How to Identify Vintage Camp Ovens

Camp oven cooking has experienced a significant surge in popularity in recent years. More and more people are discovering the joys of this traditional cooking method and are eager to add vintage collectable camp ovens to their collections.

As someone who has owned numerous old camp ovens, I truly understand the appeal of owning a vintage oven. In my personal opinion, they offer a unique cooking experience and have a distinct advantage when it comes to seasoning.

Over time, vintage camp ovens develop a well-seasoned surface that enhances the flavour and quality of the dishes prepared in them.

Whether you’re an experienced camp oven cook or just starting out, the allure of vintage camp ovens is undeniable. They not only serve as functional cooking vessels but also carry a nostalgic charm that resonates with outdoor cooking enthusiasts.

If you’re contemplating expanding your camp oven collection, exploring the realm of vintage camp ovens can add an extra touch of authenticity and flavour to your culinary adventures.

How to Identify Vintage Camp Ovens | The Camp Oven Cook
The camp oven on the left is a 14′ Etna camp oven from Glasgow, it’s at least 120 years old.

It’s not uncommon to come across posts for camp ovens labelled as “vintage rusty camp ovens” in online sales. However, it’s important to note that in some cases, these camp ovens might simply be Chinese-made ovens that have acquired some rust over time.

The seller might not possess much information about the origin or history of the oven and may have assumed it to be vintage based solely on its rusty appearance.

Assumptions about an item’s age or authenticity based solely on its rustiness can be misleading. It’s always recommended to gather more information, ask the seller for details, or consult with experts or enthusiasts who can provide insights into the true vintage nature of a camp oven.

This way, you can make an informed decision when purchasing a camp oven and ensure that it meets your desired criteria, whether it’s vintage or not.

An example of a listing I have seen, mistakenly listed as a very old vintage camp oven.

image of a camp oven for sale that is not actually old - how to identify a vintage camp oven.
A 2QT Campfire camp oven for sale that’s mistakenly listed as being a very old vintage camp oven.

I have created this post in response to misleading for-sale posts, as I aim to provide valuable assistance in identifying authentic vintage camp ovens. It can be challenging to determine the true nature of a camp oven when shopping, but I want to equip you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions.

One of the most common ways to assess the age of a camp oven is by examining its ears or lid. These features often provide valuable clues that help distinguish between old and newer models. To assist you further, I have compiled a list of key features below that will aid in determining the age of your camp oven.

By sharing this information, I hope to empower you and others to accurately identify vintage camp ovens, debunking any mistaken identifications. It is important to note that while a camp oven may be misidentified, it doesn’t diminish its value or functionality in any way.

Please find the list of features below to guide you in determining the age of your camp oven.

Please note: This guide is to help you identify whether your camp oven is vintage. If you have a vintage oven and need help identifying the brand, please feel free to contact us for help with identification.

Here’s what to look out for.

Asian made camp oven has the following features

  • have flat lids,
  • a tapered teardrop lid handle
  • a plain wire bail
  • flat horizontal ears
  • Often don’t have legs.

Vintage camp ovens have the following features

  • Domed lids
  • An even lid handle often with a join in the middle
  • Blacksmith made bails
  • Vertical ears
  • and will have legs unless they have been cut off.

Watch the How to Identify Vintage Camp Ovens Video

More photos of Asian Camp Ovens

The Bail
The bail, or handle, of Asian camp ovens are generally a plain wire handle or a wire handle with a spiral.

The Lid
The lids have a very distinctive shape; they are flat with a lip and commonly have big branding. They often have the sizing listed in quarts. Australian or European ovens are sized by inches.

The Ears
The ears are the part of the camp oven that holds the bail. The ears are a dead give away for Asian made ovens as they are always flat with two holes.

The Base
Generally have a flat bottom, however, there are some that do have legs. Just look at the ears or the bail if you’re still unsure.

How to Identify Vintage Camp Ovens

More Images of vintage camp ovens

The Bail
The bail, or handle, of vintage camp ovens were generally made by a blacksmith out of thick steel, and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, depending on who made it.

The Lid
The lids have a very distinctive shape; they are domed with a different style lip for coals to stay on top and the lid and handle are also different.

The Ears
The ears are the part of the camp oven that holds the bail. The ears are a dead give away for vintage camp ovens as they are sit vertical, like our own ears, and have a wide opening.

The Legs
These camp ovens have legs, and it is also common to find them with the legs cut off.

If you’re still unsure, please feel free to post some photos on our Facebook page so we can have a look for you.

Camp Oven Manufactures

UK Made Foundry Camp Ovens – This is a list of known manufacturers of camp ovens that were made overseas and some think that’s where the Australian made Collectable camp ovens got their shape.

  • Carron Camp Oven
  • Cannon Camp Oven
  • Etna Camp Oven
  • Sheldon Camp Oven

Australian Made Foundary Camp ovens – This is a list of known manufacturers of camp ovens that were made right here in Australia and are highly sought after by collectors. This list does not contain the many manufacturers of camp ovens that don’t contain a makers mark.

  • Albion Camp Oven
  • Metters Camp Oven
  • Billman’s Camp Oven
  • Hardings Camp Oven
  • Furphy Camp Oven
  • QR Railroads Camp oven
  • Carmichael Camp Ovens
  • RM Williams Camp Ovens