The Swede F.W. Lindqvist is credited with the invention of the wickless kerosene pressure stove – the “Primus” but in a recent book about the city of Hobro in Denmark the writer revealed the true father of the Primus was a Dane – Frederik Ferdinand Tretow-Loof (13 March 1845 – 21 January 1913). 
Below is part of an obituary from “The Clay Industry” & an English translation which mentions Tretow-Loof’s invention of the “Primus” & his other achievements.
My father bought the brick factory once owned by Tretow-Loof in 1946. I have run the factory since 1970 &  live in a house built by him. The home of Tretow-Loof  is today used as a Music School.  I have found some of his descendants, have talked to them and have got some old pictures from the factory. He made the first public water supply in the city of Hobro and a lot of other things for the “small” man.  In the forest next to me, we have a great memorial to Tretow-Loof  made out of bricks erected in 1916.  
“The Clay Industry” 
No:3  31st. January 1913:  Brickworks owner, Captain F.F. Tretow-Loof Captain Loof passed away during the night between January 20th. and 21st.  The Danish brickworks industry has lost one of it’s finest men, and Denmark a loyal son.

The announcement was quite unexpected, and many will now, with sorrow, come to realise that we will no longer see his strong stature as a leader of meetings, nor will we hear his clear voice when he, as an ardent speaker or participant in discussions, tried energetically to do the best for his colleagues. We will also miss that profound, mild look that accompanied his speeches – there is something special in it, as a colleague once told him. You will always remember the friendly and wise look in his eyes when you think of Captain Loof.

He had been to Esbjerg and Viborg and came home happy and contented as always. He walked down Railway Lane in to Hobro; it was snowing and when he felt tired, he got on to an omnibus. He talked to the other passengers and suddenly fell down and died. A heart attack had taken his life.

He had always wanted a quick death, and we can only be pleased that he did not have to suffer a long period of illness, as he was not a person suited for that. However, his loss is just as great for us, who will come to miss him dearly.

Frederik Ferdinand Tretow-Loof was born near Grenå on June 13th. 1845 and came to Hobro in 1864 as a teacher at the local school. A short time after he joined the Army, and was an exceptionally good soldier who was well liked by his subordinates and superiors. He became a Captain and was posted to the barracks in Århus.

He became married in 1870 to the only daughter of Consul Brasch in Hobro, moved to this town in 1884 after the death of his father-in-law, and took over his businesses with distillation of spirits, farming and brickworks.

He was most interested in the brickworks and gradually sold the other businesses. He worked energetically with running the brickworks and spent a lot on Vindø Brickworks. He was not satisfied with running it just as the others did. He was always experimenting with machines and firing of bricks, and he used big amounts on these experiments. He was happiest when he could give the benefit of his experience to others; it was as if he did not like to use this himself, as one had the impression that he gained more pleasure from the experiments than utilising the results. He could speak for hours about running a brickworks, and he was so interested in his industry that he could make all other people as excited as he was himself.

He was in many ways a technical genius too. Only a few know that it was Captain Loof that invented the Primus apparatus, which is in use all over the World today. He sold the invention for a small sum, but the person who bought it is now extremely rich. 

He was also very interested in the cement industry and was instrumental in founding the factory “Dania”, and was it’s first Managing Director.

We will not expand on the big efforts Captain Loof made for his town; especially the period he was a Town Councillor. Nor will we describe his political activities. However, we ought to mention here his chivalrous attitude that was also appreciated even by his political enemies.

Yes – Captain Loof truly had a chivalrous and noble character.He deserves our gratitude not only for his practical work in the brickworks industry, but also for his efforts for the Brickworks Association for Jutland, where he was a very active Chairman, and when the Associations history is chronicled one day, Captain Loof’s initiatives will show themselves as it’s very backbone.He was active in establishing the clay laboratory as well, and in connection with this journal, as he was Editor for a short period and Chairman of the Board for many years.He had many other activities, as he was a man who sacrificed himself for others. If you have to pick one trait that especially characterised the deceased, then it was his unselfishness. As mentioned earlier, he was always happiest when he could benefit others. He did not think of his own advantage, and he can be praised for not making himself rich from the many possibilities he had, as he thought more about other people’s advantages than his own.Captain Loof was also a modest man. He was once asked why he did not accept a discharge from the Army as a Colonel. He replied: “I was asked several times, but I have served my country as a Captain, and therefore I always want to be called Captain. Besides I do not want my old men to call me anything else.”These two traits: unselfishness and modesty are not common amongst resourceful men today, but when they are found in a man, then this man must be respected and liked, and the Captain was certainly this.May his memory be honoured!The Danish text translated by Mike Arbon – Taken from an article on the Classic camp stoves website, written by Jan Rømgaard.


Owner of Montana since 2004


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *