|L316 Arc Lantern |
The first lantern Coleman produced, the L316 Arc Lantern released in 1914, was the first of its kind. Designed for farm use, it was an unintuitive piece of equipment, but also a starting point. At a whopping fourteen pounds before fuel, eight-inch diameter, and twenty-inch height, it was hard to carry. The biggest contributors to the nickel-plated brass lantern's excessive weight were its two-quart fuel capacity and enormous glass globe. Despite the setbacks, the lantern sold well - after all, a 300 candlepower portable lighting machine was enticing for many workers of the time. Coleman, however, was not happy with its product's size, and quickly went to redesigning it. Given their rarity, despite our having three, these lanterns sell for a good deal of money today.
Coleman's quick answer to the bulky L316 was this Air-O-Lantern #319. It holds one less pint of fuel (a total of 3), a necessary sacrifice to reduce the size. The AL319 shipped at six pounds, less than half of its big brother, and measures 14 inches tall by 6 inches in diameter. The chimney was crafted of lighter-weight mica and the fount and top were still plated with nickel. The handle is wood. There is also a small slot underneath the globe rest where one could insert a match to light the lantern. Despite all the upgrades, less than 13,000 were sold across Coleman and its Yale and Sunshine subsidiaries in the 1910s. This one, stamped Coleman, is dated 1917. This lantern was discontinued around 1919 or 1920.
The IL323 Air-O-Lantern followed the AL319 in 1915, a year after the AL's release. It is roughly the same lantern, but it shunned the wood handle as a fire hazard. There is no air tube, either, which slightly reduced the weight. Lead was used in making the fount, which is nickel-plated, and it still provides 300 candlepower of light. Hiram Strong's records indicate that 28,562 were shipped; this one is dated 1916.
Coleman's rise to prestige happened to coincide with World War I, which allowed them to establish a connection with the U.S. military as they fought in Europe. This ML211, the ML denoting "military," may have been overseas at one point in an encampment during the fighting. Dated 1917, this lead-coated Air-O-Lantern has a Quick-Lite burner.
|E20 Jumbo Gas Lanterns |
These two massive Quick-Lite lanterns were used in henhouses and butcher shops. They hold an unreplicated five quarts of gasoline, and this was unreplicated for good reason - when they were marketed in 1923, neither version sold well since they were even larger than an Arc Lantern. The Poultry House lantern on the right has the infamous "The hens that lay are the hens that pay" quip, which proved to be more popular than the lantern itself. Less than 700 of them were shipped, and many have been lost with time. The Poultry House lantern is far rarer, but the Jumbo Gas lantern isn't common, either. A third version may have existed as well, but has never been found.
This 2LQ427, dated December 1925, is equipped with a Q99 generator and a built-on external pump. It is a Quick-Lite lantern that has two mantles and a mica chimney and used to be nickel-plated, but a newbie took initiative to strip it down to its brass base.
The LZ327 was produced between 1925 and 1933 and was one of Coleman's more unique offerings at the time. This Quick-Lite sports a curved air tube with a support rod, and an angle valve hidden underneath the globe to control the amount of lighting. It sports two chimneys and a mica globe. Like the 2LQ427 above, an inexperienced hobbyist stripped the nickel plating around the brass to produce the result you see here. This lantern has a twin whose plating was also stripped; the two are dated April and August of 1929.
The L327 was a Quick-Lite lantern whose top was also combined with the BQ Bracket Lamp. Equipped with an internal pump and mica globe, this two-mantle lantern sold for fourteen years over the course of the Great Depression. It is notable for its airholes spelling "COLEMAN QUICK-LITE," which makes it one of their more famous lanterns. This one is dated October 1934; the nickel plating and green paint on the vent top were stripped by the same rookie hobbyist.
|The L427 of Hiram Strong |
Coleman's L427 was first made in the late 1920s, as this one was - its add-on pump is indicative of an early model. The top of this two-mantle lantern was originally painted green. This lantern is special because it was used by Bud Michael when he was channeling Hiram Strong at an International Coleman Collectors Club Convention - hence the sticker and the sign. Mr. Strong would most certainly approve that his lantern ended up in the hands of a diehard.
|US Forest Service L427 |
Coleman made a few different lanterns for the US Forest Service before and during the Great Depression; this L327 Quick-Lite was one of the first. This lantern is in decrepit condition due to its age, and the red paint on the fount has worn out; however, the embossed "USFS" letters have not. This lantern's collar also has the "COLEMAN QUICK-LITE" spelled airholes and was equipped by a mica globe and two mantles. It appears that later pressings had the "USFS" letters stapled in instead of embossed.
|US Forest Service 220B |
The "USFS" letters on this lantern were engraved into the rim at the bottom of the fount, as opposed to embossed on the fount itself. This lantern is Instant-Lite and was presumably once painted red, and seems most comparable to a 220B, although its top is wider.
|Northern Pacific Railroad Quick-Lite |
This lantern is similar to the Quick-Lite made for the Forest Service. This lantern, dated 1934, was made to be mounted in a caboose for the Northern Pacific Railroad. It has a mica globe and "COLEMAN QUICK-lITE" spelled with its air holes. It appears to be an L427 or similar model.
|242 with lid reflector |
This 242 lantern seems to be dated April of 1939, which was after the lantern's production halted, so, given the shape of the globe (not original), this may be a 242B or, due to the inconsistent dating methods used by Coleman, its date may actually be September 1934. Its green base differentiates it from normal 242s, and it is equipped with a matching lid reflector acquired directly from a Coleman factory representative. Model 242 was the first of many successful single-mantle lanterns for Coleman.
This 242A lantern, dated from about 1935, has a Pyrex globe, two mantles, and a pump.
This nickel-plated 242B is dated December 1939. The pump system was changed - an air tube was threaded from the base of the pump to the top of the fount so gas would not leak out in case of check valve failure. All other specs are identical to its forerunner, the 242A.
|252 Milspec |
This 252 Milspec lantern has a single mantle and is dated 1944 on its certificate of ownership. A maintenance sticker is plastered to the side of the green-painted fount, presumably a replication. "White gasoline" use was recommended, but this lantern was special - it was the first that could burn anything that counted as gas. Designed by Coleman in conjunction with Aladdin and AGM under instruction from the Department of War, these lanterns were built exclusively for military use from 1943 until World War II ended in 1945. This demand brought several unique features to the 252, such as a built-in compartment for spare parts, a chained-on funnel and filler cap, and twin curved air tubes. This lantern was likely at one point in the hands of a military man.
|236 with green fount |
This 236 lantern by Coleman Canada burns white gas and produces 500 candlepower of light. It is undated, but presumed to be from 1946 or 1947, as its fount is painted green as opposed to nickel plated, like it would be in the future, because of a shortage of metals due to the aftermath of World War II. Thus, the fount is a lower-grade steel, which would become normal for Coleman lanterns in the ensuing decades.