7 Things You Never Knew About the Coleman Lantern

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Photograph by Will Styer

Everyone from young families to Boy Scouts to grizzled mountain men has relied on Coleman to illuminate their camp with its famed “sunshine of the night.” Here’s everything you never knew about the classic Coleman lantern.


In 1914 William Coffin Coleman introduced the first outdoor, all-weather gasoline lantern. (Yes, that’s his real middle name.)


Candlepower of the 1914 model. That’s the equivalent of 3,771 lumens.

August 1917
First mention of a Coleman lantern in Outdoor Life. We recommended it for car camping. Why? Because you’d always have a little gasoline handy.


Membership fee to join the International Coleman Collectors Club, which celebrates, among other products, vintage lanterns like these.


Year the first battery-powered model is introduced.

40 miles
Distance from which a rancher once mistook a Coleman lantern (burning as a signal in Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park) for a newly discovered star.

What’s candlepower?
It’s a largely obsolete measurement of light output. It’s still used sometimes by manufacturers to measure light intensity in the center of a flashlight beam.