Atty 2006-09-23 18:58:02
since I noticed some posts in this group a while ago re the Artofex ph0
thought I could give you guys some more info on the subject
so having got my cob oven built and running I found my existing Kitchen
Aid ‘Heavy Duty’ mixer couldn’t realistically fill it, I started
looking for a mixer upgrade – in particular an Artofex, since I had
heard good things about them before from a pro baker – I just got lucky
by finding a recently lapsed ebay auction where no bid had been made +
it turned out the seller was just down the road from me.
For those of you who haven’t read previous posts by others, the Artofex
has twin arms which plunge down and up in a curious (and rather
hypnotising) sincipated ‘triple action’ whlst the bowl below rotates
(you can see in video on my site). Elsewhere I found a french pro
bakery site which remarked that it is the only mixer worth putting on
display in shop front.
My machine is the ph0 model (dating to at least 1974), i.e. essentially
a scale model of bigger models for testing recipes in a bakery
laboratory – though whether the ‘Laboratory of the Goverment Chemist’
used it for dough or something else I can’t tell (and don’t really want
to think about). Although the bowl my machine came with has had quite a
lot of wear (I managed to get also an extra unused one which is in the
videos), and the bottom of the arms have also lost most of their nickel
plating also (both of which can be replated of course) the gears don’t
show any perceptible wear, the resulting low hum when running is really
I contacted http://www.euromixltd.co.uk/index.asp which was previously
the Artofex UK company that supplied my machine to HM to see if they
could tell me anything about the model. They don’t make or repair them
anymore (quality of work and materials would be totally prohibitive now
according to the guy) – originally they were made in France – something
I had found no mention of elsewhere but that company is closed.
According to the guy maintenance is simply get yourself a grease gun
and make sure you keep greasing the 9 grease nipples. For capacity he
said it should be able to handle up to between 3 and 4 kilos of flour
mix at any hydration.
My own experience on this so far is that whilst the engine and
mechanism had no problem getting through a 2.3 kilo wholemeal flour
batch at 68% and a total 2.5 kilo white flour/4.25 kilo dough batch,
things did get rather messy in terms of dough on the first mix session
riding up the arms onto the front mechanism (I do autolyse of 10 – 15
minutes). Pretty sure this wouldn’t pass with a food inspector but
doesn’t really bother me (as long as you make sure all moving bits in
reach of dough are wiped of grease before starting). I daresay their
would be much less of a problem if you prefer a stiffer dough, in any
case the back of the bowl enclosure where it goes under the gear case
is clearly designed to do the task of gettign dough back in bowl if it
comes up. After autolyse and adding salt the white mixes immediately
form into a single very satisfying ball, and also tends to clean the
bowl and arms nicely. At reverse end of capacity I have done a half
kilo batch of pizza dough (50% hydration) and how well the design of
the bottom of the arms coped with this small amount of dough was
As noted in other posts
http://www.artofex.ch/html_de/englisch/start.html in Switzerland still
make the mixers and also there is this company in Spain
http://www.torrents.com/ – but neither make a machine anything near the
small scale of the ph0 currently – I think the next machine ever made
was half bag capacity.
If any of you are really interested in finding a ph0 of your own the
person who sold me mine does in fact have a twin with the same history
(OHMS), engine cover was a bit more rusted than mine + I preferred the
paint job on the main mechanism of mine but otherwise there was little
to choose (you can find a pic as supplied to me with safety guard
with other machine peeping in). I did run the other machine and it
sounded fine though obviously I didn’t inspect as much as the one I
took. The bowl was considerably less worn than mine (but he wouldn’t do
a swop for me). The guy is not sure if he is going to re-ebay or what,
but I have told him I will pass on any offers from here or elsewhere
(and maybe I get a timer he has in return)
Any questions or more info re Artofex mixers and/or my cob oven feel
Barry 2006-09-23 18:58:24
Andy, You lucky dog,
Congrats on the score! That’s a really gnarly piece of equipment.
Couple of observations and questions about it.
Yours looks to be quite a bit bigger than the one I found in Australia. The
Australian machine was for quite a bit less dough, more of a test machine.
I wonder if you have the smallest “reat” Artofex and the one I found was a
test machine that is smaller. I know the people at Artofex told me that the
machine I found was a very specialized unit, very rare, and not likely to be
in any real production environment.
How much oil and grease come out of the front of the gear arms? There looks
to be a lot of potential for lubricant leakage up there. Can you seal it
with permatex or some other aviation sealant to keep the oil in?
All in all, this looks like just what it is, a real peice of machinery.
What a beauty! It’ll last forever!
Atty 2006-09-24 14:10:59
I am curious if you ar right, I suppose the ph0 could work for a
patissier but as the Artofex UK guy remarked to me it wouldn’t be much
of a bakery if this was your main bread dough machine. My dealer guy
had also seen one in the window of a seaside sweet shop. The Artofex
nomenclature is that the number after ph means that the capacity is the
number x 10 kilos of flour (rather than dough I think?), so a ph20 I
have seen listed as 475 lbs capacity. The UK guy remarked the ph0 is
also rare and congratulated me etc.
I haven’t come across mention of a smaller bench machine than the ph0 –
can you find any URL or pic?
in my ignorance I thought the various nuts with bobbles on top were
lubrication points and so went around trying to get oil in, but as the
Artofex guy and a classic motorbike friend of mine informed me they are
grease nipples. Each has a tiny ball bearing in the top and you attach
your 6000 psi grease gun and force grease through till it comes out the
other side. So these http://www.myplot.org/oven/images/art/art5.jpg
feed grease right through the shaft and gears of the arms to the bosses
on the front here http://www.myplot.org/oven/images/art/art24.jpg. This
obviously hadn’t been done enough on my machine before, partly because
the safety guard had stopped access to some of the nipples, so the
grease had got pretty black and I am deluging everything with new grase
till the old is cleared out.
So there is no oil to drip, grease doesn’t come out on the front
anywhere accept these two bosses on each arm and the one right at the
top where they join. I have seen dough getting close to the boss of the
left ‘fist’ arm once so far – I think in normal use very little grease
will emerge while running, just need to make sure you give the joint a
wipe off before starting mix.
enormous gear and pivot attached to their bottoms means they are pretty
heavy and unwieldly to carry around and wash up (clearly the gear and
pivot should not be allowed to get wet) – so far I have found washing
bowls on the machine pretty easy but if you had a sticky mix that never
got near forming into a ball it could be a pain.
Barry 2006-09-24 14:11:08
This is getting interesting. I’ll take a look and see if I can find the URL
for the machine I found in Australia. It could have been a ph0, but I think
it was more like a special lab machine.
As for grease fittings, what you have are called Zerk fittings. They are
standard grease fittings for bearings, etc. If the machine has been sitting
for a long time, I’d suggest taking it apart and cleaning out all the old
grease, packing a bit of new grease in and fashioning new gaskets or grease
seals. Then remove each Zerk in turn and make sure it works. New ones are
really cheap and are good insurance.
Grease is composed of oil and a carrier, formerly called “soap.” As the
grease ages, the soap and oil separate and the oil migrates — leaks, to us
civilians. What I was looking for in the pictures, and I think I saw a bit
of it, was oil weeping out around the round part where the arms attached. I
could be wrong, but it looks as if the gaskets have dried out, which allows
the oil to leak. No big deal to fix, if you want to.
The thing about a machine like this is that it is made to be maintained.
All the parts are easy to get to and are logically constructed, unlike cheap
consumer machines. The nuts and bolts are probably metric. I think the UK
switched to metric sometime in the 1960s, but it could have been the early
1970s. Since this is a European machine, it’s metric. So, make sure you
have a set of small metric wrenches, down to 3.2mm. I’d suggest box ends,
as they won’t round off corners.
If you have any problems working on your machine, a good motorcycle or
old-time auto mechanic friend is a good bet. Don’t bother with someone
under 30 years old, as they’ve probably never seen the inside of a piece of
Barry 2006-09-25 00:24:13
I just went over all my notes and other stuff I could find about my phanton
Artofex. It looks like what I found was the ph0, the very type machine you
found and bought.
Atty 2006-09-25 00:24:36
a google image search for artofex laboratory mixer gives
shows these two images, the white one looks like it is a quite modern
ph0, the other, more curious one has unfortunately disapeared. I think
I will ring the ex Artofex UK guys again re a hole on top arm joint
which may or may not be the place for another grease point – maybe they
can answer our lab machine question
BTW was the US Artofex company you rang
Thanks for all this info. I haven’t detected any bearings that actually
ran dry, knowing this kind of government institution I suspect a
technician came round once a year, took the safety guard off and
re-greased – jsut enough to keep things OK. I now have my new grease
coming out at all end joints from the relevant nipple – do you thik
this will be OK? In any case luckily for me one of my best oldest mates
(from school – we both will be 50 next year) and top oven builder
http://www.myplot.org/oven/images/p3_/p3_17.jpg apart form bing
architect is classic motorbike rebuilder such as Rudge
http://users.senet.com.au/~mitchell/bikes/rudge/rudge.htm complete with
lathe on his kitchen table – I will recheck with him what he thinks is
hmmmm, some signs of this I think underneath the gear box at the back,
underneath the guard that has been added between gear box and fly wheel
(where the V belts from engine run), maybe oil is designed to exit by
that route? Certainly no sign of oil seeping at front to any worrying
ps the artofex design lives on in quite a few places e.g. an italian
one here http://www.sottoriva.com/uk/categorie/macchine/ibt4_e.html
wonder how much that would set one back? However no sign of any
comparable sized machine to the ph0 in production currently
Atty 2006-09-25 00:25:05
just to reinforce the point about my mate nic being the right guy
locally to me to advise me on maintanence
Nic in the oven drivers position, partner Gill behind making up more
Barry 2006-09-25 00:25:23
If your Rudge buddy can’t fix it, then it’s beyond repair. 🙂 He can
check it out and, probably, fabricate any gaskets and oil seals you need.
Barry 2006-09-27 00:42:09
There’s one for sale here in the USA for $1500. FOB California. That’s
better than A$3200 FOB Sydney, but still out of my league.
Atty 2006-09-27 10:14:19
I actually paid less than half that, though I doubt the guy woudl take
the exactly the same again.
Barry 2006-09-27 10:14:28
Good for you! That sounds like a fair price for that machine.
Atty 2006-09-28 00:26:16
about the price of the standard tip head Kitchen Aid here – I am well