I have more than 200 of them, with dates reaching back to 1914 when the company came out with the first L316 Arc Lantern. I get a kick out of firing the old ones up. I sit in the glow and wonder about the people who lit them before me.
My dad got a green 220B in the late '50s, and I used it all the time. A buddy and I took it on our first canoe trip to the Boundary Waters, fishing for pike and walleyes. We fired it up at night, hung it on a tree, and it was still burning in the morning. Never saw a soul for a week.
I had it on our first deer hunting trip, too. I drove my old '53 Plymouth into the middle of the woods and asked a guy named Louis Richards if we could hunt his place. He let us sleep in his barn, and we worked out our plans for the morning hunt there under Dad's lantern. I've gone back there almost every year since, and Louis became one of my best friends and hunting partners. We turned his son's old log cabin into a deer camp and lit the whole place up with Coleman lanterns, even the path to the outhouse.
Just last Tuesday his son-in-law called to tell me Louis had died of heart failure. It's an awful tough thing. We had lots of great times in the light of those lanterns. Come to think of it, we probably read a few issues of Field & Stream in that glow.
Anyway, I've got about 100 lanterns on shelves in the basement and another 100 or so in the garage. My daughter teases me, saying I need to figure out what I'm going to do with all of them before I die. What she doesn't know is that I'm already on it. She's not much into lanterns herself, but she has two sons, ages 11 months and 4. The older one wants to go fishing with me every day, and I've already given him one of my L316s. This Friday, his younger brother will get one of the others for his first birthday. So if everything goes to plan, my lanterns-all 200-plus of them-will wind up on shelves in her garage and basement.
And in 50 years, they'll all still work." --Don Colston
For more information, go to the International Coleman Collectors Club website at colemancollectorsclub.com. " />