1969 Sears Canner – Made by Presto

1969 Sears Presto Pressure Canner

Another canner followed me home from a thrift store.

Presto's cast-aluminum canner badged for Sears.

I didn’t need another canner. Lord knows I didn’t need another vintage canner! I mean … there were already five in the house. But, nonetheless, it was there and it decided it needed to come home with me. I’m sure it wasn’t my fault at all.

It’s a Sears-branded cooker-canner and it was made by Presto. The Sears model number is 620.46000. An example of a very similar Presto model would be the 7B.

Presto made this model – and similar models – for many years and under several brand names. These “domed-lid” models, as I like to call them, are cast aluminum and use a rubber seal under the lid. I believe they all would have come with a gauge, and that [easyazon-link asin=”B000HMBVQ8″ locale=”us”]Presto’s 3-piece weight set[/easyazon-link] came along many years later.

Depending upon their exact age, these domed-lid models may have a rubber over-pressure plug or an older metal plug. Usually the rubber plug will be one with Presto’s “Automatic Air Vent.” The Automatic Air Vent was, as I understand it, meant to be a sort of built-in timer for exhausting the air from the canner. In my experience, it pops up long before the USDA-recommended 10 minutes; I don’t judge exhausting time by the Automatic Air Vent. It is, however, highly useful for judging when pressure is released from the canner after cool-down. When the vent falls, you know there is no pressure remaining. This also eliminates any possibility of a vacuum being created upon cool-down, as can happen with other brands.

A close-up of the numbered rim on the Sears-Presto Canner.This Sears-Presto would seem to be made in 1969. I have suspected for some time that the last number found on the rim of these canners is a date. This canner has 69 as its last number, and the manual is copyright 1968. While I can’t say for certain that this is definitive, it would seem to make sense.

The first number is obviously the canner size in quarts, as my 21-Bs have a 21 as their first number, and an extra 16 quart canner bottom I have sitting about the basement, begins with 16.

The middle number would seem to most likely be a week of manufacture. So, I think this canner was made in the first half of April, 1969.

See my Presto dating page for more information.

Sears canner manual, 1968.
Bad pressure canner gauge.

Of course, being a used canner that is nearly 50 years old, it does have a problem or two.

Just at first glance, you can tell the gauge is much too new to be original; the original was “tilted for convenience” according to the manual. Even though this canner has had its gauge replaced, it is not correct. You can see in the picture that the needle is not resting against its stop pin. This is a sure sign of a bad gauge and I was able to confirm that when I tested it with a 3-piece weight set. When using the 3-piece weight set, you don’t need an accurate gauge – or a gauge at all – but I prefer to have a working and tested gauge. I’ll be adding a [easyazon-link asin=”B000GD55LA” locale=”us”]new pressure gauge[/easyazon-link].

I’m also no fan of rickety and rusty wire canning baskets, so I’ll be replacing the one that came with this canner with a [easyazon-link asin=”B000LNY6T2″ locale=”us”]flat Presto canning rack[/easyazon-link].

Rusted canner basket.

The rubber gasket and Automatic Air Vent look to be in pretty good shape on this canner. The rubber gasket has “tipped upward” as described in the manual. While I’ve always understood that this means the ring has reached the end of its useful life, I do have an older canner manual that suggests that it is perfectly acceptable to simply remove the ring, turn it upside-down, reinstall it, and that it will be good-to-go. I’m probably replacing both [easyazon-link asin=”B000LL9NY2″ locale=”us”]gasket and vent[/easyazon-link] just to be on the safe side.

You can see from the collection of pictures below that the canner is in pretty great condition for being nearly 50 years old!

Sears canner - bottom pot.

Inside shot of the Sears canner bottom.

Presto cast aluminum lid - underside.

1969 Presto canner lid.

Sears Pressure Cooker-Canner 620.46000

Sears Presto Canner Manual 620.46000 I scanned the manual that came with the canner and provide it here as a reference. As a vintage manual it contains information that is outdated and that you should ALWAYS use the latest up-to-date information to ensure the safety of both yourself and your canned goods.

If you want a small version of the manual, please click this link. It is only a couple megabytes.

If you want the full version of the manual, please click this link. It’s about 60 megabytes.

Here is a list of parts on Amazon that will fit this canner:

Gauge [easyazon-link asin=”B000GD55LA” locale=”us”]Part Number 85771[/easyazon-link]
Vent Pipe [easyazon_link identifier=”B015ZNB9Y2″ locale=”US” tag=”cwj-20″]Part Number 1058[/easyazon_link]
Over-pressure Plug [easyazon-link asin=”B000OREUEQ” locale=”us”]Part Number 9911[/easyazon-link]
Gasket (with over-pressure plug) [easyazon-link asin=”B000LL9NY2″ locale=”us”]Part Number 9907[/easyazon-link]
Canner Rack [easyazon-link asin=”B000LNY6T2″ locale=”us”]Part Number 85707[/easyazon-link]
Lid Handles [easyazon-link asin=”B000HM5UVU” locale=”us”]Part Number 85444[/easyazon-link]
Bottom Handles [easyazon-link asin=”B000HM7XAG” locale=”us”]Part Number 85443[/easyazon-link]
Three-piece Weight Set [easyazon-link asin=”B000HMBVQ8″ locale=”us”]Part Number 50332[/easyazon-link]

How to install the Seal on a Presto 21-B Pressure Canner

Having trouble with that flat seal on your vintage canner?

Presto 21-B pressure canner seal installation with video.

The flat seals on the National Number 7 canner clones, such as the Presto 21-B are sometimes a royal pain to insert properly. They fit into a groove in the canner lids and if you are not careful, they will not get seated properly. Sometimes they can stretch and be even more difficult to fit.

After you’ve done it a few times, it doesn’t seem to be so bad, but the first time – you almost always think you have the wrong seal!

You push the seal into the groove from the inside out, working in small sections, constantly making sure that the seal doesn’t pop back out as you move on. Sometimes you have to start over. Sometimes you have to work your way around the lid a couple times. And, sometimes, the seal is just too old and stretched to fit any longer. When that happens you need to [easyazon-link asin=”B000LL9NY2″ locale=”us”]order a new seal[/easyazon-link].

The [easyazon-link asin=”B000LL9NY2″ locale=”us”]Presto part number is 09907[/easyazon-link].

Here is a brief video showing how I do it.

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”B000LL9NY2″ locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RxjUg5f4L._SL110_.jpg” width=”106″]
[easyazon-cta align=”none” asin=”B000LL9NY2″ height=”28″ key=”amazon-us-small-orange” locale=”us” width=”120″]

Presto 21-B Pressure Canner All Cleaned Up

Sometimes thrift-store finds clean up nicely!

I recently acquired a grungy Presto 21-B canner; it needed a bit of work. Of course, the gasket and over-pressure plug were old and dry and stiff. The gauge wasn’t sitting on zero and it needed a good old-fashioned cleaning.

When I removed the gauge, it stripped some of the threads out if it’s hole. I had to pick up an appropriately sized tap and die set (1/8 NPT) to clean up the threads so I could put in a new gauge. This resulted in the gauge turning ‘round more and facing toward the “back” of the canner. I used a Sharpie pen to draw alignment marks on the back side so I could still see the gauge.

Refurbished Presto 21-B Canner

Hopefully you can see there is less grunge on top of the lid than there used to be.
Refurbished Presto 21-B Canner Gauge and Lid

Presto 21-B Canner

I used a bit of Bar Keeper’s Friend and a scrubbing pad on the rust stains on the inside bottom of the canner. A nylon brush and a bit of Dawn dishwashing liquid around the edges of the lid and the top of the canner, took care of most of the grunge.
Presto 21-B Canner Cleaned Up

See my 21-B canner page for the parts list for this canner and other similar models. I’ve also posted a scan of the 21-B manual.

Presto 21-B Canner Refurbishment

I found myself in a thrift store today and a vintage canner followed me home.

Presto 21-B Canner LabelThe Presto 21-B is an older model Presto pressure canner that is based on the old National design, before the National company became Presto. It is a 21 quart-by-volume canner as the model number suggests. It will hold a pretty standard 7 quart jars, but is tall enough to do two layers of pint jars (16 wide-mouth pints or 18 regular-mouth pints). You also download a copy of the 21-B Canner Manual.

The canner is in good physical shape, but cosmetically and operationally, it has several problems.

It’s dirty
It’s missing its weight (or “jiggler”)
The gauge is in dire need of replacement
The rubber seal and over-pressure plug are both dried out and shrinking
(Did I mention the grunge?)

I’m putting a complete list of parts I might use at the end of this post.

The canner from the “back.” It has the normal aluminum pitting and wear you see on cast aluminum of this vintage, but you can also begin to see the dirt issues. Not all of it is dust!
Presto 21-B Canner Lid

See how the needle on the gauge isn’t resting on zero? This is an indication that the gauge has been damaged at some point in its life. Judging from past experience with another of these Presto 21-Bs, I feel confident in saying that this is the canner’s second gauge, at least. The original on my other 21-B is angled backward and has the Presto name on it. This gauge will be replaced with [easyazon-link asin=”B000GD55LA” locale=”us”]Presto part number 85771[/easyazon-link]. This is the Presto gauge that has fine machine-screw type threads on it. (They have at least one other model that has a nut on the bottom and coarser threads.)
Bad Canner Gauge

The vent tube on which the missing weight sits. This is the [easyazon_link identifier=”B015ZNB9Y2″ locale=”US” tag=”cwj-20″]model 1058 vent tube[/easyazon_link]. I’ll be replacing the missing weight with Presto’s three-piece weight-set, [easyazon-link asin=”B000HMBVQ8″ locale=”us”]Part Number 50332[/easyazon-link]. See the grunge? The grunge must go away. I can handle a bit of grunge on my canner if it’s my grunge. This is someone else’s grunge! (Note the chamfered / beveled / angled top on this pipe? This is the correct 1058 vent pipe. Some sellers have sent me a straight-cut pipe that DOES NOT work with the 3 piece weight set.)
Presto Canner Vent Tube 1058

A close-up of the over-pressure plug and air vent. [easyazon-link asin=”B000OREUEQ” locale=”us”]Part Number 9911[/easyazon-link], this over-pressure plug can also be bought in a set with the seal. You can easily see the grunge and nastiness in this picture, but you can’t really tell that the plug is dried-out and has shrunk.
Presto Over-Pressure Plug and Air Vent 9911

Here is a close-up of the bottom of the over-pressure plug. The plug is dry and stiff and should fill up that hole a bit more than it does.
Over-pressure Plug Model 9911

The under-side of the canner lid. The round bit with the slot cut through it is the bottom of the vent tube. Notice the grunge right beside it? There is grunge INSIDE it as well! A definite hazard, the vent tube has to be cleaned out before use! Also notice how the black rubber seal is bulging out of its groove. The seal is noticeably stiff and dry and has shrunk with age. The grunge has to be removed from next to the seal, also, so that the lid properly seats onto the canner pot itself. [easyazon-link asin=”B00NE665T2″ locale=”us”]Presto Part number 9907[/easyazon-link] will give you both this seal, as well as the over-pressure plug.
Canner Seal in Need of Replacement

More grunge around the rim of the canner that has to be removed. Notice the rust staining on the bottom of the canner. This comes from using that wire basket. The wire will rust. I’ll be replacing the basket with two 11 1/4” aluminum canner racks ([easyazon-link asin=”B000LNY6T2″ locale=”us”]Presto part number 85707[/easyazon-link], or [easyazon-link asin=”B00196L2E2″ locale=”us”]All-American part number 151[/easyazon-link].) The rust staining should go away with a bit of scrubbing with [easyazon-link keywords=”Bar Keeper’s Friend” locale=”us”]Bar Keeper’s Friend[/easyazon-link].
Dirty Pressure Canner

Grungy handles on both sides! That the handles are two colors also leads me to the conclusion that this canner has had some replacement parts in its lifetime. I’ll be removing the handles for cleaning, and if necessary, I’ll replace the screws with stainless versions from the local hardware store; I expect to find rusty screws! The handles for the lid are [easyazon-link asin=”B000HM5UVU” locale=”us”]Presto Part Number 85444[/easyazon-link], and for the canner bottom, [easyazon-link asin=”B000HM7XAG” locale=”us”]Part Number 85443[/easyazon-link].
Canner Handles

This close-up of the front of the canner shows the open-closed positioning and has some interesting numbers. This canner has the numbers: 21 25 and 71, my other 21-B has the numbers: 21 26 and 67. I have seen references online to parts fitting Presto canners “made in 1971 or before,” so I’m going to assume the last two numbers are a year code. I believe it’s safe to assume the 21 refers to the model number and size of the canner. Anyone want to venture a guess as to the middle numbers?

Update: I’ve consulted the Canning2 Yahoo Group and it’s been suggested that the middle number could be a week of manufacture. I finally remembered that I had a 16 quart canner bottom sitting in the basement and have checked it. It has numbers of 16 51 and 67. I’m going to assume this means it was made just before Christmas 1967.Canner Lid Showing the Open-Closed Positioning

See my Presto dating page for more information.

The canner cleaned up well.

Gauge [easyazon-link asin=”B000GD55LA” locale=”us”]Part Number 85771[/easyazon-link]
Vent Pipe [easyazon_link identifier=”B015ZNB9Y2″ locale=”US” tag=”cwj-20″]Part Number 1058[/easyazon_link]
Over-pressure Plug [easyazon-link asin=”B000OREUEQ” locale=”us”]Part Number 9911[/easyazon-link]
Gasket (with over-pressure plug) [easyazon-link asin=”B00NE665T2″ locale=”us”]Part Number 9907[/easyazon-link]
Canner Rack [easyazon-link asin=”B000LNY6T2″ locale=”us”]Part Number 85707[/easyazon-link]
Lid Handles [easyazon-link asin=”B000HM5UVU” locale=”us”]Part Number 85444[/easyazon-link]
Bottom Handles [easyazon-link asin=”B000HM7XAG” locale=”us”]Part Number 85443[/easyazon-link]
Three-piece Weight Set [easyazon-link asin=”B000HMBVQ8″ locale=”us”]Part Number 50332[/easyazon-link]