View Full Version : Defect in MAPP bottle/ torch heads

09-29-2010, 08:18 PM
Ran across this while looking something else up. Can't believe that it isn't out there more.
Information on defects with a Bernz-o-matic torch head and certain MAPP gas bottles. With a link to the website with the info and photo's Be forewarned that they have a number of graphic photo's of the injuries, from 3 of the parties.

Bernz-o-matic torch MAPP injuries link (http://www.bernzomaticinjuries.com/index.html)

They are rebranded under a number of different names.
MAPP Gas Cylinder and Torch Injury Database
(Bernzomatic, Worthington, Lenox, Ace, Sears, Thermadyne, etc.)

09-29-2010, 11:11 PM
Wow only 15lbs to snap the top off a disposable propane bottle? What is it held on with, chewing gum??

Im really careful with bottles but I would of expected MUCH more force to damage a propane bottle, like 50lbs+

09-29-2010, 11:36 PM
There are some aspects of the site statements that still just don't add up for me. The lock button as "defective design" for instance. Why is holding the torch part and accidentally bumping the cylinder preferable to holding the cylinder and bumping the torch? No matter where you hold it, the other part can get hit, it's unavoidable. :(

09-30-2010, 12:04 AM
I take this sort of information with a grain of salt - The site looks to be trying to talk up a lawsuit/ class action against the torch manufacturers, hence talk of defects and 'dangerous' product.
If you think about the number of these torches that would be in use world wide, if the design was as bad as the site suggests there would be recalls all over the place.

09-30-2010, 01:14 AM
Looks like a fishing expedition to me.

Under contact info:

Law Offices of Andrew W. Shalaby

09-30-2010, 01:29 AM
Logic is a wonderful thing, when applied.

However, in all cases posted in this website, no fracture groove has ever actually fractured.

I am sure that is true. Why would they post anything about it working as intended? The real question is how often does it fail to work.

Bernzomatic and Worthington have been asked to review the disclosures on this website and advise if any of the expert findings, including their own experts' findings, are in dispute.

Of course not. The web site is not a legal document. The only action they are likely to take is to seek an injunction to have it taken down.

There is much more but one thing is interesting. The statement that it takes "only" 15 foot pounds of force to bend the bottle does not reveal how much force that really is. At a distance of 1/2" from the neutral axis of the fitting on the top of the bottle that equals a strain of over 3000 psi on the metal surrounding the fitting.

What is really going on in this case is that the person that has created this web site is a lawyer that injured himself while trying to start a bonfire using the torch. He used the tip of the torch to try and move a log which caused enough bending force to damage the cylinder body which caused a leak. The defendants (Bernzomatic et al ) contend that he then dropped and kicked the torch which then entered the fire and exploded.

The testimony of his expert witness demonstrates that it takes over 150 lbs of force applied at the neck to damage the bottle fitting enough to cause it to fail.


It seems to me to be a case of trying to transfer the blame for his actions to somebody other than himself.

09-30-2010, 01:52 AM
Hmmm, Actualy apon reading that doc I got the overall impression that a 'proper' tank withstands 150 foot pounds of force before failure, starting to 'deform' at 15 foot pounds.

The safty feature on the torch triggers around 26 pounds.

As the bottle failed without deforming as others did at 15 foot pounds, the bottle is at fault due to poor construction, failing at *less then* 15 foot pounds.

I don't know why he is trying to blame the torch.. Unless the gas bottle he bought is some chinese company, As there is two 'failed' bottles listed there.. one bezomatic, another some other companys.

09-30-2010, 02:03 AM
Maybe not really related, but I just threw away a MAPP gas cylinder a week or so back because it was leaking with the head on. Not the head, works fine on 2 other cylinders, but that one leaked bad enough I could smell it, and then looking closely, could SEE it. However, I did not notice a crack/leak as indicated. Nothing visibly wrong with it, and it was maybe 90% consumed without having noticed any leaks or problems (always stored head off). Always check for leaks!

09-30-2010, 02:08 AM
15 foot pounds is a force of 15 lbs applied at a distance of 1 foot from the neck of the tank. That is the same as 150 lbs applied at one tenth of a foot from the tank. Also, the torch nozzle isn't one foot long so it would take more than 15 actual pounds of force at the tip of the torch to deform the tank. Further, the fracture groove isn't at the neck of the tank so if it is to be tested for breaking at 15 foot pounds then it must be supported at the fracture groove, not the tank.

09-30-2010, 02:27 AM
Oddly, I've found that most tanks large and small do tend to smell when they are nearly empty, could never figure out exactly why that would be though. Used to heat with propane, and that was always my signal to call the propane distributor to refill the tank, no calendar needed. If I smelled the tank when I was near it, I needed a refill.

I also had the impression when reading that site that it was a fishing expedition. Never was a 'fan' of class action suits. Too often they're started by some brain dead moron doing exactly what they're told not to do, that ends up making everyone with a functional brain pay for their stupidity.

That's not to say I don't approve of product safety, But I don't believe in rewarding stupidity

09-30-2010, 04:09 AM
It isn't a class action suit. This guy is a victim of himself and he is looking for other Darwin runner ups to help support his case. He alone is trying to sue Bernzomatic, Home Depot, Rubbermaid ??, and the bottle manufacturer. In return they are suing him for being a pest.

Weston Bye
09-30-2010, 05:51 AM
What I take away from all this is that there is a failure mode. Probably related more to abuse than design or manufacturing defect.

I have the model of the torch in question, not to mention numerous tanks, MAPP and propane, from a variety of manufacturers.

I will excersize a little extra care in the future, but will continue to use the torch.

Liger Zero
09-30-2010, 06:54 AM
I used to mold parts for Bernz at *arbec. They are VERY VERY picky about their incoming parts... at least they were in 2000. :)

I have an oxygen-MAPP torch, three propane Trigger Torches and a locker full of MAPP and Propane. I keep the oxygen in a separate part of the plant. ;)

What I am getting at, I'm a happy customer. I've never blown myself up, anyone else or had a torch fail on me.

Liger Zero
09-30-2010, 06:55 AM
What I am getting at, I'm a happy customer. I've never blown myself up, anyone else or had a torch fail on me.

*knocks on wood*

Of course saying that I'm going to blow my left testicle off with one today, amirite? :D

10-02-2010, 12:07 PM
I have a friend in the UK that wanted to check it out. Yes the bottle was empty.
Here is Rob's photo's, and my thanks for letting me use them!

Cheers PT
I have one of those torches ,,, so off into the shop i pops ,,, grabs the bottle with one hand , the touch with tother ,, a slight tweak and it split at the weld ,,, i have seen thicker coke cans ,,, always thought there was something dodge about those bottles .
took no effort to tare the hole top off the bottle
Yes the bottle was empty,or with any pressure you shouldn't be able to do this
His modified torch

10-02-2010, 02:27 PM
On the linked site, read the full report report of Dr. Eager. http://www.bernzomaticinjuries.com/linked/teager.txt

I'd have to say that using your bernzomatic torch as a hammer is not a good idea. The result may be brilliant, but it is neither longlived nor clever.

Dr. Eager has both a sense of humor and is very intelligent. It's not quite as good as a novel but for a transcript, it's close to priceless.

It shows without a doubt to people who believe in facts and science that Shalaby is without question a complete idiot. Only a layman (or a corrupt expert) could possibly construe the facts laid out in Eager's report in any other manner.


10-03-2010, 08:42 PM
I am glad I learned of this. Possibly we should proof our tanks with a few light bumps outdoors away from flames so as to avoid any risk of fiery explosions.

I wonder if this also applies to the new short fat tanks. If so, my pyromaniac Boy Scout friends are in some danger. Coleman Lanterns are much more likely to have high forces applied (i. e. if they tip over).

I have never become at ease with any type of compressed gas. I still, however, much prefer OA welding to stick.

10-03-2010, 10:25 PM
I've been using those cylinders and torches for many years and have never had a problem with one. I guess it could happen but if you store the cylinders with the torch removed like I do and handle them carefully during use when they are assembled, you should be alright.


10-04-2010, 12:17 AM
In Dr Eager's report, he points out that around 30 foot pounds of torque on the connection is enough to damage the bottle. He says a fall off of a bench, step ladder etc. is not going to do it. Eager also said that based on the damage he had seen in some of the cases, the bottle and torch would have to have fallen around 40 ft!

The creator of this website is a lawyer, one Andrew Shalaby and also one of the people injured by the so called defective torch. Since people in an adjacent camp site witnessed Shalaby hammering on the rocks of the fire ring with the torch body (he also says he accidentally kicked the torch into the camp fire), we have to conclude that he is an idiot. Anybody who was injured doing what he did, is a lawyer, and has the gaul to sue over it is basically an ambulance chaser looking for a free ride in need of a Darwin award.

Reading more of the documents posted at the site: on appeal, the expert witnesses called by Shalaby were both disqualified as irrelevant and incompetent. In my view, there is nothing to see here other than an ambulance chasing lawyer making a mockery of the civil court system either as advertising for his presumably shady law firm or out of some kind of personal vendetta.

We here all know not to break the necks off gas bottles because it's dangerous and from Dr. Eager's testimony, we also learn that it's not all that easy to do in practice and why in 50 years of production there have been only a handful of incidents and those for the most part have involved drooling idiots like Shalaby.

I brand this site fear-mongering by a corrupt lawyer at its finest.