The Coleman Lantern

The first model rolled off the production lines in 1914, during an age when electricity in the home was a novelty.  It lit farmhouses all across the nation and extended the farmer’s workday and became so crucial to the production of food for our boys overseas in WWI that it was declared an “essential item” by our government. Electricity spread to rural farmers over the years following the war, but the outdoorsman declared the Coleman lantern as essential gear.  Fighting the mantle of darkness in campgrounds, hunting cabins, backyard sleep outs, and the wilds of many nations the venerable Coleman has soldiered on.


Spend any time in the outdoors and you are bound at some point to have to press your thumb over the little hole in the chrome plunger and pump till your arm falls off to get your hands on all that glowing goodness that mysteriously comes from the fragile mantles.


Sadly the rectangular red can of Coleman Fuel seems to be going the way of the Dodo.  Propane and battery operated models have overtaken the market and a generations of sports will miss out on this Rite of Passage. Link.

(thanks to Jim Mooney for this entry)


12 comments on “The Coleman Lantern

  1. matt says:

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  2. Richard Worley says:

    i found a great website with lots of vintage coleman lantern pics.

  3. Lenny says:

    Not sure where you looked, but there’s certainly no shortage of liquid fueled Coleman products in Sacramento, CA. Lantern’s and stoves can be had at most major retailers, along with the venerable Coleman “white gas” fuel. We’re fortunate too, that there’s a good supply of the generators at one local sporting goods store that will bring new life back to lanterns built all the way back to the 1950’s. I replaced two this past week from 1950’s lanterns. One of the not-so-secret secrets, is that the older stoves are in many ways better than the newer ones because the metal was thicker and could stand up to more abuse without bending or crushing. These stoves can easily be found at garage sales or your local Craigslist listings for anywhere from $10 to $30. Most only need to be given a good cleaning and they’ll continue working for decades. Not a bad item to have for emergency gear, even if you’re not a camper. – – All the best!

  4. Jeff says:

    This question is regarding the sporting goods store in Sacramento. Where is it? I also live in Sac. and have a extensive collection of Coleman lanterns as well ar other types. This info would help me allot. I have been trying to find a local retailer.

  5. Yeah the old fashion fuel powered lantern has long been forgotten in my shed. I would take propane over fuel lanterns anyday.

  6. Libbie says:

    I Just bought a can of the fuel at Walmart! Couldn’t find the dodo though.

  7. Nancy says:

    I have the same lantern as shown above, but it is in a metal hinged box and has a plate in it to take out and put the lamp on. Also, there is a little gadget that will set off a spark. I just learned how to use this 2 days ago. I figured I would go to the hardware store and get fuel for it/in case EARL came to close.

    Well they told me w/the metal case the lantern was probably worth about $200. Which I really don’t care. I just want to know if it is safe to use it indoors in case of an emergency???? Could you tell me it’s age? I believe on the bottom there is a 12 on one side and a 73 on the other. I could not find a model number.??? Thank You.

  8. Scott says:

    If your lantern is green and has stamp indicators of 12 and 73 on the underside of the tank it is a Model 220H manufactured by Coleman in December of 1973. Later in the 70’s the model number changed to 220J (there were no “I” models). All gas lanterns draw oxygen in order to burn. They are meant only for the great outdoors. Use them in barns and open buildings for lighting but never in a house during emergencies.

  9. Nancy says:

    Thank you Scott, I am very glad to learn this. I shall put it back out in the shed and never use it in the house. I’m assuming that I should not use it inside even in the summer. Thus it will just have to burn outside when the good weather arrives.
    Happy New Year to You and Yours… and to everyone who reads this…
    Sincerely, Nancy

  10. Ibman says:

    Do you own a natural gas stove????? Does it use oxygen?????? Nuff’ said…..

  11. Lance Cole says:

    Yeah, gotta argue against the ‘death of Coleman Fuel’, but you are right that it isn’t because of the lantern that it’s hanging around – it’s all those new-fangled MSR stoves that still use Napthalene that’s keeping it alive. I have my old Coleman 2-burner, half a dozen lanterns, a tool-box full of generators for all sorts of Coleman stuff…and I have to admit it, I broke down and bought one of those MSR folding stoves…which was almost as pricey, but as good, as my trusty old Peak Feather 400 pocket-stove (Coleman, obsolete, but similar to the Coleman Exponent and Coleman 533 single burners). Gotta say, I love my Feather 400 stove for backpacking and long hunting trips, always will till it utters it’s last flame, but that MSR, it’s a champ too. Since they are making new ones by the millions still, I don’t see the fuel fading away – only getting more pricey!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s