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The Coleman Lantern: The light of my early life.

By Gary Rollins

    When I was a small lad, I enjoyed spending many memorable summers with my late grandfather.  He passed along his addiction to fishing and introduced me to the pleasures to be found at the water’s edge. 

    Grandpa was no bait chunker.  He preferred doughballs, minnows, worms or, a disgusting concoction that was sure death for catfish, blood bait.

    One of the most important items to be found in the trunk of his Nash Rambler was a green Coleman lantern.

    The lantern typically came with silky cloth mantles, which had to be carefully attached to the gas burners.  Recent research revealed the fuel that preceded Coleman Lantern Fluid was kerosene.  Where would a fellow buy kerosene today?

    When the small tank was filled with lantern fluid, the next step in the process required pumping furiously with a plunger  to pressurize the tank so the lantern could produce a bright, steady light.  If the light wavered, you needed more pumping.

    One fishing trip recollection that stands out clearly was the wonderful aroma Coleman lanterns generated.  Many nights I fell asleep on my cot alongside a stream with the Coleman still brightly burning.

    Not long ago, I decided I wanted to actually own one of those wonderful lanterns.  When I met the Coleman rep at the Professional Outdoor Media Business Conference in St. Louis last month, I asked how I might buy one of those “magic” lanterns.  (Well, they were magic to me.)

    I learned I could buy one online and the fellow delighted in telling me there were many people like me who wanted to own an old-style Coleman lantern to keep their memory’s fires burning brightly.

    He blew me away by introducing me to Coleman’s newest, and brightest, product, the Coleman LED Quad Lantern.  LED stands for light-emitting diode and what makes this lantern special is the four battery-powered independent lighting elements that provide a 360-degree light source.  Each quadrant pops-out and can be carried around the campsite as a portable light source.  It’s far better than a flashlight… one big lantern that morphs into four smaller lanterns.

    This is a well-engineered new product. Check it out for yourself at www.coleman.com.  It might even be worth stopping by The Pawn Shop   in Walsenburg where I am pretty sure it is on order.  Walsenburg Lumber also stocks Coleman products.  This would be a fantastic Christmas gift for your son or daughter or a grandchild who will remember you for helping learn about the great outdoors.

    The new lantern retails for about $75.  If you find yourself bitten by the same nostalgia bug that nailed me, you can purchase an old-timey Coleman kerosene lantern for about the same sum.

    Coleman was the “light” of my early life.  Perhaps you once shared the same kind of experiences.  I sure hope so.