Packet of Hexamine tablets for personal issue field cookers

Place Asia: Vietnam
Accession Number REL/15569
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cardboard, Chemicals
Maker Maribyrnong Munitions Factory
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Maribyrnong
Date made c 1960
Conflict Period 1960-1969

Square cream cardboard box sealed at one end and opened at the other. The two outer faces of the box are printed with instructions for use. One side in printed in red and is titled 'Hexamine Tablets - For use with Cooker for Hexamine Tablets (when issued) General Information', and explains the purpose of the tablets, when to use them how long they burn for (15 minutes) plus Directions for Use. The other side is printed in black and is titled 'Light in a Sheltered Position. Directions for use of Cooker For Hexamine Tablets when issued', with directions for use. Below is printed 'Explosives Factory, Maribyrnong'. Two of the eight tablets are missing.

History / Summary

Packet of solid fuel tablets made from Hexamine, a heterocyclic organic compound formed by the reaction of formaldehyde and ammonia. The tablets burn smokelessly, have a high energy density, do not liquify while burning and leave no ashes.

Once ignited, they were very hard to put out - you had to completely cover the tablet with soil. If you wanted a more fierce blaze, it was common practice to break the tablet into smaller pieces. The waxed container was able to be burnt when empty.

Supplied to Australian troops serving in Vietnam and into the early 1990s, at which time a slightly different formulation of tablet was issued. The latter tablets are made by ADI. Hexamine is still used widely by campers and aid organisations. They can be used with or without the cooker with which they were supplied.

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