W.C. Coleman, founder of the Coleman company, started his entrepreneurial career selling small goods as a child after the death of his father in the 1880s. In 1900, as a young man selling typewriters, Coleman saw a lantern in drugstore window that used gasoline instead of kerosene. Coleman, who had poor eyesight, was impressed by the light quality and switched over to selling, leasing, and servicing gasoline lanterns. In 1903 he bought the rights to the Efficient Lamp, improved its design, and began selling it as the Coleman Arc Lamp.
By 1909 Coleman invented a portable table lamp and by 1914 the first Coleman gasoline lantern. During World War I, Coleman made more than one million lamps for American farmers to support wartime efforts, with money and materials supplied by the U.S. government.
During World War II, Coleman designed the G.I. pocket stove (Model 520 Coleman Military Burner), which was compact, relatively lightweight, and could burn many fuels. More than a million were produced for use during the war. After the war, Coleman offered a civilian version, Model 530. In the 1960s the company continued expanding its camping offerings.
Today Coleman offers lanterns, shelters, stoves, flashlights, backpacks, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment. It is owned by Newell Brands.
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Coleman Coverage in the Trailspace Blog
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Denver Schoolteacher to Climb Summits of 50 States in 50 Days
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May 28, 2008
Coleman Everest 5.5 Challenge Begins
Thousands of schoolchildren are going on a month-long virtual climb of Mount Everest, following in the footsteps of eighth grade science teacher Mike Haugen. Read more
April 9, 2007
Coleman Launches 2007 Everest 5.5 Challenge
Coleman will sponsor a spring 2007 expedition to Mt. Everest designed to motivate kids to get outside and recreate more. Read more
January 18, 2007
2007 Backpacking Stoves Preview
Three years ago the JetBoil Personal Cooking System changed the way we look at backpacking stoves. It was only a matter of time before JetBoil’s competitors introduced their own integrated stove systems, and two of them made their debuts this week. Read more
August 13, 2006
2007 Tents and Shelters Preview
Check out a few of the new tents and shelters from Outdoor Retailer Summer Market that will debut in 2007. Read more
August 11, 2006