View Full Version : Playing With The Vintage Coleman Lanterns

09-25-2012, 02:46 AM

09-25-2012, 07:18 AM
Those may or may not be Coleman depending on the year made. The military lantern was made by AGM, Thermos, Coleman, Auto-Fab, Form-Tec, Armstrong, Alladin and SMP to name a few. They look the same because they were built to military specs. If it has a model number then it's probably a Coleman. I think they were the only ones that used a model number. The later year production was manufactured almost exclusively through the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Yeah, convict labor. In a word, they suck. There's just no other way to say it. Military lanterns were built as low pressure lanterns rather than high pressure like we are used to in the civvy world. Military lanterns will flood easily, clog generators, the generators bend easily and the Milspec generators are getting hard to find so they are getting expensive. If everything on the lantern is perfect and you do everything perfectly then it might light and actually burn....this time. I can't recommend a military lantern to anyone for anything. Buy a true Coleman lantern, any year any model. The parts are easy to come by and they are bomb proof.

My congrats on getting two of them to work at the same time. I have a half dozen or more and trying to get any two or more to work at the same time is like the spinning plate guy on the old Ed Sullivan show (look it up, kids). Nice job!

09-25-2012, 07:41 AM
It looks like those are one piece globes so if they are Coleman there would indeed be the 252, which they stopped making in the early 50's. The newer models have a 4 piece globe and are designated 252A.

I don't recommend using gasoline in them because the generators are so prone to clogging. They don't have a generator cleaner on them either. Leave it to the military. I would suggest you use Coleman fuel only. It will burn cleaner and give you less problems.

09-25-2012, 08:15 AM
Sorry to keep posting but things keep popping in my mind. DO NOT USE THE ORIGINAL MANTLES! They are slightly radioactive and will release radioactive smoke. You don't want to touch them or breath the smoke. If you have spare mantles then put them away if you want to keep them. They are sort of rare so they are kind of collectible in a weird sort of way. The mantles contain Thorium, which increases the light output of the mantle. You can't take Xrays or anything and your nose won't fall off but there is no reason to take a chance. The Coleman mantles are labeled Silk Lite. There might also be a mantle named Peerless as well as Bryt Lite. I don't know for sure when Coleman stopped making the Thorium mantles [EDIT - 90's according the below article]. Today they are coated with Yttrium. You can still buy Thorium coated mantles if you want. They do burn a lot brighter.

http://www.oldcolemanparts.com/product.php?productid=1619&cat=34&page=1 (http://www.oldcolemanparts.com/product.php?productid=1619&cat=34&page=1)

Here's a good read on the Thorium mantles.


09-25-2012, 12:22 PM
11B, you have just heard fro the "Lantern master'........impressive.
Thanks Rick,...... now I'm glad I sold the old Military lantern to a guy that "really had to have it".....

09-25-2012, 12:34 PM
I've got so many lanterns and stoves. It has to be a fetish. I don't know why I like them so much but I do. I've probably got most of the military stoves made. Some are great. Some are, Eeeh. But for the lanterns there's just no comparison between the military stuff and the civilian. I can only guess the military wanted low pressure so they wouldn't blow fuel all over the place if the tank were pierced but that's just a guess. If I was in the field and using a good military lantern and someone shot it they'd have he11 to pay. If I had one that I had been struggling with to get going and they shot it I'd probably thank them.

09-25-2012, 03:45 PM
Nice collection.

09-29-2012, 02:24 AM
The USGI lantern are 4 piece globes, what ever that means. Whoever made them, they kick butt! At least in the cool department. :)