Beekeeping equipment made by Pender Brothers Limited
The steam-heated honey knife greatly simplified the task of cutting wax cappings from honeycomb because the knife was permanently hot and did not have to be constantly rewashed and reheated. The 1930 Pender Bros catalogue described the importance of keeping a honey knife hot: " In some localities and during some seasons of the year the honey is very sticky, and unless the knife is washed after using on each comb, it will drag over the combs and break the cells. If the cappings are not removed with a clean cut, the extractor cannot readily throw the honey from the cells. To prevent this difficulty keep the knife in hot water and always use the hot knife." For the Bingham honey knife Pender Bros supplied a knife heater made of galvanised iron. They wrote: "We find it convenient to use two knives when uncapping, keeping them in the hot water when not using them and using them alternatively; all who have not used a hot knife for uncapping would never wish to be without one after giving it one trial."
"The steam-heated knife has proved to be vastly superior to the above, and is rapidly growing in favour; we are selling a large numer of them. When uncapping with a steam-heated knife there is no occasion to place the knife down. The knife can be held in one hand and the frames picked up, uncapped and passed on with the other hand. The knife has a steam jacket attached to its blade to which steam is conducted by a flexible tube from a small copper boiler. The condensed steam is conducted from the knife through another tube to a small can. The first knives made had a small hole at the point for the escape of steam. We found too much of the condensed vapour mixed with the honey, so provided a return tube. A copper boiler to place on an oil stove supplied sufficient steam to keep a knife hot all the time. It is fitted with a simple spring safety valve, which also answers for refilling with water."
West Maitland, New South Wales