Retro Future Electrics

A page about retro electronics, from the introduction of electricity until 1970-something. We refit old gadgets with new tech, and wonder at the makers who came before us.

Sunbeam Coffee Master C30 Model B (c30B)

Like most of the rest of the world, here at RFE HQ we are spending a little more time at home due to the threat of COVID-19. This has given me some time to take a few photos and videos, and I hope to get some more posts going soon! Before I walk down the hallway to my day job, I make a little coffee, or sometimes tea.

One of the tastiest ways to make coffee is in a Sunbeam CoffeeMaster C30 version B (I’m sure it’s better than the version A, but I have no idea how). The Sunbeam CoffeeMaster only allows water at over 200 degree Fahrenheit to rise to the top bowl, via it’s innovative vapor hole!

A cutaway view of the Sunbeam Retro coffee maker C30B
Cutaway view of the Coffeemaster, notice the Vapor Hole!

This coffeemaker makes a quite nice cup of coffee, unlike modern drip coffee makers this one sloshed the grounds about in almost all the water for a good couple of minutes. These are sometimes called vacuum coffee pots, in the theory that the bottom chamber cooling “sucks” the water back down from the top. No doubt there is a little of this, but the top pot is vented, so the majority of the action is done by gravity.

These pots do operate on pressure, the rubber ring between the two pots is often bad if you’ve bought one at a thrift store or eBay, luckily a company still makes replacements. You can also find replacement seals on ebay. Many folks get theirs from dayseal , they have a good reputation on the internet.

Once you have made sure your unit has a good seal the operation is rather simple. A heating element at the bottom boils the water, the steam pressure at the top of the bottom unit pushes down on the water and forces it up the tube. Once the bottom is nearly dry a sensor detects the temperature goes above 212F (100c) and switches to “keep warm”. Once there is no longer steam pressure to keep the water in the top unit, and a little because of the cooling vacuum, the water drains down from the top unit to the bottom. A metal filter catches all the coffee grinds and keeps them safely in the top. I created a video of the whole process here:

Video of the Sunbeam CoffeeMaster from RetroFutureElectrics


  1. Adam Barnes

    I just bought 1 today, it’s immaculate even the rubber seal is perfect

  2. cameron

    I love my pot. It does indeed work on a vacuum, not gravity. It doesn’t matter that the upper chamber is vented, it’s the vacuum created in the bottom that sucks the coffee back down. It wouldn’t work if the upper was sealed. You can even hear the sucking noise as it pulls down the last of the coffee.

  3. Gail

    Anyone,know where I can get a replacement cord for a c30?

  4. Scott Brodie

    I found one at an antique store and the top part is very hard to get off. It seems to be well sealed. Maybe a little too well sealed. How can I remedy this? Or will it start to become easier once I actually make a pot of coffee?

    1. terry mahoney

      In my model you have to twist the knob at the top because there is a long rod with threads at the bottom that hold the rods in place. So you basically have to unscrew the rod that has the filter .

    2. Andrew Penniman

      The rubber seal is probably really old and has hardened up. Mine was hard as a rock. I had a heck of a time seperating the 2 pots and then had to chisel the rubber seal off piece by piece. The new seal is quite pliable.


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