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Tagus copper egg cooker

My egg cooker seems to be complete. It has the insert for the eggs and a little thing with a handle that sits below. I have no idea what to put into it to heat the cooker. I've looked over the internet for information but all that pops up are sites where Tagus copper is sold (e-bay, etc) There are a few of these egg cookers though they seem to have pieces missing. I'm hoping someone has answers to these questions.
1. On the selling sites, the egg cooker is called "vintage." When were they made?
2. How does one use it? What is put into the little item that sits on the bottom?
Thank you for any information.

 
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  1. Applying my 10th grade chemistry skills, I'd say you put water in the lower part of the copper egg, place the eggs into the carrier and place that over the water and fit the lid. The little thing at the right looks like an alcohol burner although it seems pretty small. You'd need a thick stranded wick and denatured alcohol to get it working, but I'd recommend a can of Sterno.

    Has its charms but it looks like a lot of effort for three eggs.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Great for presentation though.

      I agree with your suggestions. These egg cookers are water/steam based. That is to say, water is used as a medium to deliver the heat. I would prefer steam if possible. However, I am concern about the small burner. I wonder if the water should be bought to boil in a separate container and then transfer to the egg. I have doubt that little burner can bring sufficient amount of water to boil.

      http://p2.la-img.com/1223/27427/10394...

      A modern version:

      http://s10.thisnext.com/media/largest...

      Same idea.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Dear Chemicalkinetics, Thank you very much for the links and also the suggestion about putting boiling water in first. It could take forever, otherwise.
        I'm wondering if steaming eggs makes them taste better.

        1. re: bcthompsn

          Steaming eggs should makes them taste more consistent (but slower), I think. Granted that with practice, I think you can make tasty egg either ways. You got a really cool gadget and a real good dinning table conversation piece

          :)

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Thank you! I will try steamed eggs!

      2. re: ferret

        Dear Ferret, Thank you for your suggestions. I'm still not sure how to use the cute little burner. If I ever actually use it for cooking eggs, I will start with a sterno first.

      3. Hi, BC:

        That's a beautiful egg cooker. It will make quite the impression at the breakfast table.

        I cannot answer your first question. But I can tell you that the Portuguese have been smithing copper for at least several hundred years. Tagus and the other Portagee marks that make it here to the US have a modern reputation for being thinner than their French and Belgian cousins, but thinness is no weakness with this cooker. My educated guess is that the sellers calling them "vintage" may be stretching things a little. If it's a solid unit, who cares?

        I do not own one, but I *do* own a comparable coffeemaker, known as a Potsdam Boiler. They both use a small, closeable copper vessel in a stand with a small spirit burner underneath. My coffeemaker *will* boil water, but it is a fairly slow process. It speeds things up to fill the vessel with hot or boiling water before bringing it to table, and then bringing it back to a boil with the burner. I predict that it will be acceptably fast at steaming your eggs, but a little slow at boiling.

        As for fuel, I get pure ethanol from a friend who works in a lab, and that works well. I'm sure there are several methanol stove fuels available commercially.

        Now then, a warning. Most of these burners rely on a wick, and they are frequently missing. In fact many had wicks that fit inside a separate steel sleeve or follower, and then the wick/sleeve was inserted into the reservoir. Check on the Interwebs to try find the OEM wick. If you can't find one, you need to find a rope-style cotton lampwick that fits snugly into the hole. Personally, I'd get a washer or nut that the wick *barely* fits through (but stays outside the reservoir), so that you can easily adjust/replace the wick without it falling inside.

        Whatever you do, test the thing OUTDOORS to make sure you know how to light, run and extinguish it safely. You definitely will lose your Michelin star if you slop alcohol and set the breakfast table afire.

        Have Fun,
        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        4 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Dear Kaleokahu,
          Thank you for your comments and suggestions and also for the bit of background on Tagus copper ware, which is the only thing I have read so far on the Internet. Perhaps history about the company is only in Portuguese, but I have not found a website for the company. I'm wondering if it still exists or if it is under another name.
          You are correct, there is no wick with the little burner. I appreciate the ideas as to where to find them and using a washer.
          However, I'm still a bit confused because the hole for the wick goes all the way through the burner. In this photo, you see the large hole on one side. The other side of the burner is exactly the same. I'm not sure how I would keep the fuel in the burner. I will probably use a Sterno can as suggested above.
          I will be careful about setting anything on fire. I don't have a B&B but would not want to scare any family members.. I'll have to experiment with it on my own, first.
          With much appreciation!

           
          1. re: bcthompsn

            Hi, BC:

            Strange that there is no inner reservoir. Does the inner tube run completely through, i.e., can you see through it, end-to-end?

            I'm now wondering if there was a thick, felt, washer-shaped wick that fit on the *outside* of this tube. I imagine that you would moisten the wick with spirits, and then invert the holder to snuff out the flame. Strange design...

            Good Luck,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Yes, you can see through it end-to-end and with all the holes around the sides, it beats me how any fluid could stay in there.

              1. re: bcthompsn

                There must have been some pad or wick. You might try getting some very thick felt, and cutting it to fit over that center tube, soaking it in alcohol.

                Perhaps there are other missing pieces. Do the small holes on the periphery go through into both halves of that piece or just one?

                A can of Sterno would tell you whether it's worth pursuing further--it'd at least get you started.

        2. OMG, I have that same egg cooker. I bought it around 17 years ago from SurLaTable - they were just getting their website up and running. I actually put a lot of trust in going that route back then, since I had never heard of the company!

          I never planned to actually cook eggs in it, I just loved the way it looked on my countertop with other copper pcs. It's still on my countertop, in our latest home, and looking good.

          btw - mine never came with any instructions, so it was a good thing I got it just to be decorative!

          15 Replies
          1. re: breadchick

            Hi, breadchick:

            Does yours have the same parts as the OP's? The salient question is whether s/he has all the burner parts. You got anything different?

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: breadchick

              Sur La Table has a website 17 years ago?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Yeah, I seem to remember it must have been from their website, because I don't think they were doing a catalog and I had never heard of them before. I was going to try and research that, to make sure my memory was correct, as I'm in upstate New York - far away from their stores on the west coast - so that must be correct. I do remember calling them to make sure they had my order.

                Yup, I have the same parts exactly.

                Now I'm going to have to see if I still have the receipt. (Yes, I do keep things waaaay too long.) ;-)

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Here's mine. (Yes, that's my 12 inch deBuyer hanging on the wall!)

                   
                  1. re: breadchick

                    I'm more interested in the mustard dish...

                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Okay, it had to be a catalog. Just checked their website for company history.

                      Anyway, Kaleo - mustard dish?

                      1. re: breadchick

                        The salt cellar, is it? Could be construed or used as a mustard server??

                        1. re: mcf

                          If that's it, I got it years ago from the Baker's Catalog (KA Flour.) They no longer carry it, but it's here on Amazon:

                          http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Endurance%...

                          I liked this one better than the one Alton Brown used because it doesn't have the little hole for the spoon - which invites moisture.

                    2. re: breadchick

                      Very beautiful, breadchick. I also love that salt cellar

                      http://www.amazon.com/RSVP-Endurance%...

                      Edited: just realized that we both put up the same Amazon link.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Thank you, CK. The funny thing is, Baker's Catalog didn't include the spoon with the shipment, so I called them and they - as always primo customer service - shipped it. The little thing is so small!!!! Ha, I can't imagine what they paid to ship it to me.

                        I mean small. It's a Barbie spoon.

                        1. re: breadchick

                          <I can't imagine what they paid to ship it to me.>

                          The shipping fee probably costs more than the soup itself. :)

                          Ok, I am changing my mind now. I want a salt pig instead of a salt cellar, and I want one which looks like a pig. It will be so cool to have a piggy salt pig. :D

                          I think I have put that off for so long because I don't really need it, but once awhile I would remember about my salt pig. Hmm, I wonder if I should get this one:

                          http://www.theculinarygarden.com/imag...

                          or this one:

                          http://blogs.smarter.com/blogs/saltpi...

                          or this one:

                          http://ny-image3.etsy.com/il_430xN.15...

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Haha, I LOVE the first one. That face would make me smile every day.

                            1. re: breadchick

                              I think the first one is the cutest, too.

                      2. re: breadchick

                        Yes, Breadchick, yours is exactly like mine. But mine must have been bought decades ago. My mother-in-law (age 93) was downsizing 8 years ago and told me to take it home. I am downsizing now and asked her where it came from. She thinks it was her aunt's, who died close to 40 years ago. But she wasn't sure about the owner. That's why I was trying to find out when they were made. If they aren't that old, then her aunt didn't own it. Despite my downsizing and moving to HK, the egg-cooker stays in storage, but I'd love to find out just how one uses the burner underneath. With all those holes, how would the fluid stay in?

                        1. re: bcthompsn

                          Hmm, that I can't help with, sorry. Beats the heck out of me how it can be used that way. Perhaps you can skip it and use a tealight, although it's not nearly as cool as finding out how to use fuel in the little chamber and probably wouldn't heat as well either.

                          Mysterious, and perhaps someone else has one that works - that would be cool.