Coleman US lanterns 1946 – 1960


Coleman stamped Model 220C on the lanterns they made from 1944 until 1947. This lantern, in John Stendahl’s collection, is dated October 1945. Model 220C has a yellow decal on the fount with lighting instructions. as did the predecessor 220BX/220C made during WWII.


Coleman only manufactured Model 228C after WWII, from late 1945 until early 1947, with some production overlap with Model 228D (below). Model 228C has the same features as Model 220C above including a green painted brass fount, screw-on pump cap, and yellow lighting instruction decal. This lantern, dated B (July – Dec) 1946, is in John Stendahl’s collection.


This lantern is stamped 228D on the collar and has the features that one finds on other 220/228D’s of the mid 1940’s including the large valve wheel, two-piece stamped burner, and “D” version of the instruction decal. However, this lantern, in Jim Lawrence’s collection, is date stamped B 46 (July – Dec. 1946); compare to the date range for Models 220C and 228C above.



This early 220D has all the same features as the 228D above but is date stamped B 47. This lantern is in John Stendahl’s collection. The two piece stamped burner (lower image) was used on a number of lamps and lantern models for a short time after WWII before Coleman returned to cast burners.

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Coleman likely made this Model 237 shortly after WWII, circa 1946, judging by the fount stamp they used during this period (upper right image) and the steel tip cleaner nut (lower image) used primarily during WWII. The brass sided, green painted fount is also characteristic of that time. This lantern is in Dan MacPherson’s collection.


Coleman made the “D” version of Model 228 from the mid 1940’s until 1951. This one, in Patrick Fay’s collection, is dated April, 1948, and has the original globe on which Coleman appears in large faint green letters. This was the last version to have a nickel plated brass fount and the pump is held in by two small screws, not a spring clip.

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This Model 220D, in Deems Burton’s collection, is almost like new and is dated B ’48, which we think means it was made in July-Dec of that year. The black handled Coleman reflector, 220D790, fits 220C-F models. Note the two pegs in the bottom bracket of the reflector to engage the corresponding holes in the globe cage bottom for attachment.

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Another lantern in Deems Burton’s collection, the 242C, is dated Aug. ’48, and is little changed from the 242B predecessor model. This model was produced from 1942-50; some of them have the fount finished in green paint rather than nickel plated as here. The blue handled Coleman reflector, #242C790, is made for the 242 series, 247, and 249 model lanterns.

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Coleman 237 lanterns with an American Optical film strip and slide projector (left) and a Society for Visual Education Inc. slide and film strip projector (right). The potential markets were missionaries and rural communities that lacked electric power, according to a 1949 Coleman News. These undated lanterns are in Greg McCartney’s, left, and Shirley Willard’s, right, collections. The Charles Beseler Co. also made a similar projector for this lantern (below).



The Charles Beseler Co., New York, made this 237 projector lantern. It is unique among the three in having an attachment to show lantern slides (lower image) in addition to 35mm slides and film strips (upper image). The two attachments are mounted in the bottom of the case in front of the lantern for transport. Note the alcohol preheating can for the kerosene fueled 237 lantern in the images. This lantern is in a Coleman collection near Sugarcreek, Ohio.

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The Wichita factory made Model 249 lanterns for fewer years, 1947-58, than the Toronto factory, 1938-1970. A kerosene fueled model, the earlier lanterns had a wide lipped preheater cup (right image) such as on this one dated February 1949. Later US 249s had a circular preheater cup that fit around the generator and an embossed, rather than stamped, base rest. The generator has a greater diameter than on the gasoline fueled 242C lower on this page. This lantern is in George Burl’s collection. The globe was removed for the image on the left.


This Model 220D dated A 50 is unusual in having the sides of the brass fount painted green instead of being nickel plated. Coleman may have been testing the paint or the market for these prior to making all of them this way in A 51. This lantern is in Agostino Del Coro’s collection.

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This 220D (dated B 50) is mounted in a Clamp-A-Hood marketed by the Ernie Brow Sales Co., Anderson, Indiana. The purpose of the hood (left) is to reflect light out. The clamp (right) allows attachment to a boat or other object; the accessory was presumably marketed to fishermen. This lantern and accessory came in a well-made box that is in Mike Wells’ collection.

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This Model 200 lantern, dated Dec. ’50, is in Deems Burton’s collection and includes a red handled Coleman reflector, 200-790, made for models 200, 200A, & 202. The two downward projections at the bottom of the bracket fit into holes in the globe cage base on these models.



Coleman continued making the 242C lantern until December, 1950, even though they were making the new Model 200 above. Some parts on these are steel rather than brass such as the vent stud, air tubes, frame base plate (these were painted with high temperature silver paint) (lower image), and base rest/collar on this lantern, that is in Doug Dwyer’s collection. The steel parts may have been a way to use up surplus parts. The mixing chamber casting has 3 datum targets unique to those made in the Wichita factory.

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Coleman in Wichita, Kansas, made the Model 200 lantern in 1950-51. Initially this model had a nickel plated brass fount, as the lantern on the left, in Joe Salerno’s collection, that is dated Jan ’51. By April ’51 the Coleman 200 (right) had a green painted brass fount, no decal, and unpainted metal collar. The lantern on the right is in Dan Boschen’s collection.


In “A” (Jan. – June) 1951 Coleman was making the 220D and 228D with green painted brass founts rather than nickel plated brass; compare to the Model 200, above right. The valve wheels on these lanterns are brown plastic and there is no decal on the side of the fount.


By November, 1951, Coleman’s Model 200A had been introduced, replacing Model 200 above. These earliest 200A lanterns had green painted steel founts and, by November, also had the Coleman decal. This lantern is in Dan Boschen’s collection.




Months after Coleman – Wichita stopped making the Model 200, they got Coleman 200 parts from the Coleman – Toronto factory that was still producing this model. The Wichita factory needed parts to fill a special order for the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) (Boschen). The Canadian 200 parts included their shorter burner tube (above the burner cap), a wing nut to fasten the frame (not a solid hex nut), and the embossed (not stamped) nickel plated brass collar (bottom image). The engraved OCD serial numbers (middle image) were apparently done in Sacramento, California. This lantern, in Ed Franklin’s collection, is date stamped November 1951. The fount and direction disk are both marked US.


This lantern was also made in Wichita and is dated Nov ’51 as the above lantern for the OCD.  It doesn’t have the engraved OCD number on the fount but has the same parts noted above from the Coleman – Toronto factory as on the OCD model. This lantern has it’s original box with the same label as on the OCD lantern boxes (right image). Collectors have found a number of these non-engraved lanterns in California as well as three, including the one pictured here, that Ron Becker found in Wichita. These lanterns apparently were made in excess of the ones purchased and engraved for the OCD.

Coleman made this mil-spec lantern that is date stamped 1952 on the bottom. At some point after that the Civil Defense waterslide decal was added to this unfired lantern. This lantern and another one with the 1952 date and a CD decal came from a seller in Michigan. There was no other Civil Defense material with the lanterns or the mil-spec boxes they came in. This lantern is in Jay Tews’ collection.

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Coleman models 228E (left) and 220E (right) had steel founts. The one on the left, in Dean DeGroff’s collection, is date stamped July 1951, the earliest date we have seen for this model. It lacks the Coleman decal under the filler cap which Coleman started using a couple of months later, as on the right which is date stamped October, 1951.

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Coleman made this inverted lantern for military trial. A similar lantern was made by The Mantle Lamp Co. of America. The decal on this lantern (lower image) identifies it as T 53-5, which may be the date of manufacture. The lantern is in Richard & Lorna Long’s collection.


This 200A has a factory finished, white painted fount. These may have been made in a limited number to give to dealers that Coleman wanted to recognize for their service to the company. There is nothing engraved on the lantern as on a plated fount presentation lantern. This lantern, dated December ’53, is in Jamie Oren’s collection.

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The direction disk on this Coleman 237 is stamped Made in United States of America but hidden by the collar the word CANADA is stamped (upper right image, above the red letter A). As on other nickel plated brass founts made by the Coleman – Toronto factory, the month and year numbers are in small numerals in the lower corners of the side fount stamp (lower image). So far we have only seen the CANADA stamping under the collar on Coleman – Wichita made 237s from the first half of 1954. This lantern is in Scott Wallis’ collection.



While this 242B has a number of Coleman – Toronto parts including a ventilator nut and embossed collar, the stamping on the side of the fount (lower image), burner assembly, and date stamping of 8 55 on the bottom are as done by Coleman – Wichita. Ian Keates, who bought this lantern in Switzerland for his collection, does not believe that it had been disassembled before.

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Coleman made the Model 200A for 32 years beginning in 1951. By 1953 this model had a black base rest (left image) and in 1961 (right image) the lantern was finished in maroon rather than red but most years, as in 1960 (center), it was red with an aluminum base rest. The lantern in the center has a replacement globe and fuel cap. The lanterns on the left and right are in Shirley Willard’s collection.


The LAMPAK Company, North Hollywood, California, made these galvanized steel cases circa the early 1950s. This case, in Bill Whitten’s collection, is 6 1/8″ square x 13 1/8″ tall without the gas can and holds a Coleman 200A. This version holds the gas can under the lantern case by passing the handle of the gas can through a slot in the bottom of the case, folding the handle down, and keeping it in place by lowering the lantern in on top of the handle. The funnel and spout fit in the upper corners of the case.

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Model 202, the Professional (left), is dated Jan., ’55. This model was produced for 10 years beginning in 1954 For the first couple of years the burner cap was ceramic. The lantern on the left is in Jim Fulmer’s collection. Monte Dodge’s 202, running (right), is dated Mar. ’57 and has a metal burner cap.



This Coleman 202 was presented to A.W. Morgan, Corpus Christi, Texas and includes Sheldon Coleman’s name engraved in script. Some of the 202 models presented/engraved to individuals came with a black enamel ventilator, as seen here, rather than the typical green ventilator on most 202s. This lantern, in Dan Boschen’s collection, is dated May, 1959.

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This Coleman 200A lantern has been modified with an elaborate globe cage and 3 cylindrical globes, the innermost being a Fresnel lens. An outer infrared filter keeps visible light from shining out the sides. This lantern was made for the military to help direct planes to airfields in or near enemy territory. These lanterns, dated June ’59, are in Mike Rainey’s (left) & Dean DeGroff’s (right) collections.



This infrared Coleman lantern, in Jason Horne’s collection, came with the original box with military stenciling including the date (upper left), volume and weight of the box & contents (upper right), identification of the item  (middle) (A/C = aircraft) and the stock number for the box and all its contents (lower left) (6260-21-805-4266). The lantern is cradled in padded rests (not seen) so it cannot move.



This Coleman 237 is date stamped November, 1960. The instruction sheet identifies it as a US made “Marine lantern” perhaps in an attempt to develop a new market for the model. The preheater cup contains an asbestos-like material (lower image), perhaps to keep the alcohol from splashing out of the cup on a boat on water. This lantern, in Andy  Maschino’s collection, is stamped Made in Canada on the side of the fount but in all other features is the same as those made for the US market.

 2000-2023 Terry Marsh