A look inside Abu Hisham's workshop

Antique Aladdin heaters still keep Karbala residents warm in winter

KARBALA, December 9 — As winter settles over Karbala, area residents are pulling blankets, carpets, and coats out from storage to help fight frigid temperatures. Shiny new heaters are also on the market, but one local repairman says no modern appliance compares to the old “Aladdin” stove heaters of years past.

Abu Hisham prefers the Aladdin stove, which he says takes no more than 10 minutes to fix, unlike complex modern heaters. He says stoves introduced to the country in 1966 still work, provided they are well maintained.

Abu Hisham shared with 964:

I have been in this profession for 33 years, working on heaters like Aladdin, Sanyo, Ashur, and Fujika from the old days.

The old oil heaters were French, Canadian, and English and were of the highest quality. However, in the early nineties due to the embargo, they no longer entered the market.

Currently available heaters are of Iranian, Chinese, and Korean origin, and the same goes for the wicks.

The reason for the odor emitted by the heater is the type of inappropriate commercial oil, which produces carbon at the wick head. This is where my role comes in, to replace the wick.

Repairing old heaters is easier — cleaning and changing the wick takes no more than 10 minutes. Modern ones, on the other hand, need half an hour or more due to their complex design.

The prices for wick replacement ranges between 5,000 and 10,000 dinars depending on the type of wick.

The heater I am repairing in front of you is a Canadian-made Aladdin heater, over 50 years old. Its base is made of brass, it’s rust-resistant and waterproof. It is sought after by antique collectors, and its price can reach up to $500 if unused.