March 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm #5451
Hi again, gang..
Thought I would do a little write-up about pressure lanterns. I own both types, so here’s the good and not-so-good about each.
First up, the Coleman #275
The Good — Dual mantle. Runs on white gasoline. Large, generous fuel tank. High quality. Well made and durable. Glass globe made of tempered glass, similar to Pyrex. Very, very bright.
The Not-So-Good — Heavy. White gas is highly flammable, possibly explosive. Butt-ugly brown paint job. White gas goes bad after 2 years, which limits long-term storage. Original #275 repair parts hard to come by. No pressure gauge. No add-on kit. Data plate is glued on – glue eventually breaks down and data plate falls off. Rather loud – sounds like a jet engine on takeoff. Non-painted steel is starting to rust. Ultimate Not-So-Good is they don’t make the #275 anymore.
The thing is, for what it is, the Coleman is good. 1970’s-era lamp, slightly overbuilt. Made of steel, it’s heavy to lug around. It’s also bulky. The white gas issue might not bother some people, but using old fuel makes the lamp hard to start and it runs in fits. The old fuel also makes it tend to burst into flames on startup (which I think is a partially clogged carburetor issue) and you have to fiddle with it to get it to run right. The data plate fell off when the glue holding it on turned to dust. There’s no pressure gauge, so you don’t know if you are over-pressurizing the tank or not. Since they don’t make this model anymore, and that quality control standards at Coleman have cratered (really – their quality sucks ass these days), finding original repair parts is a pain. The parts Coleman does have won’t fit right. Smaller things, like rubber O-rings, are no big deal. Larger things, like the pump assembly, might be hard to come by. If you want this pressure lantern, it throws out some serious light, but has it’s drawbacks… not least of which is that butt-ugly brown paint job… Bleah…
Petromax #500 and #150
The Good — Made by the Germans, which means high quality and attention to detail. Has accurate, easy to read pressure gauge. Runs on kerosene, which is not explosive and has a very long storage life. Kerosene also fuel-compatible with conventional oil lamps. Constructed entirely of brass, so no rust. Glass globe is Suprax. Add on kits available (one converts the lantern into a space heater. Another allows you to cook on top of the lantern – handy!). Comes in two flavors – the 500 candlepower model and the 150 candlepower model, which is roughly half the size of its big brother. Both are smaller and lighter than the Coleman. Still in current production, original spare parts and mantles are available.
The Not-So-Good — REALLY pricey. Petromax also does not have a current distributor or importer into the United States, so Americans who want this pressure lantern have to go through the Canadians or the English (or, if you sprechen Sie Deutsch, you can go through the Germans). Parts are available, but again, you’re dealing with exchange rates and high cost of postage. Contacting Petromax direct is hit-or-miss. Sometimes they answer, sometimes they don’t. I contribute this more to overwork and lack of time than a snotty, we’re-better-than-you-so-don’t-bother-us attitude.
Petromax has been around for a long, long time. Their lanterns are used by the military and actually have wooden storage crates. Their model numbers are supposed to be their candlepower ratings, but since I don’t have a light-meter, I cannot verify that. I like the fuel compatibility with the oil lamps. I also like the tiny 150 – it pumps out enough light so you can go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, but not so much so that it looks like you’re doing anti-aircraft duty. It’s actually small enough, you could cram it in your bugout bag. Also like the all-brass construction. Pressure gauge is a godsend. It’s also a pretty lantern. Don’t care for the price – and since the exchange rate stinks against the Euro, and since shipping from Europe is super-expensive, you’ve REALLY got to want one of these to go through the efforts…
If I had to make a choice between the two (QUICK! You’ve got 3 seconds to grab your sh*t and get out!) I would choose the Petromax. No, not because I feel some kinship and tribal allegiance to the Germans (even though I do), but because it is SUPERIOR. It’s not going to burst into flames. It’s not going to blow up. It’s constructed better and will last longer and kerosene won’t go bad in 2 years like gasoline will. The little 150 can even go with you on your travels and you won’t notice it.
If anyone has anything to add to this, please do not hesitate.
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.March 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm #5472
I have since found out that Petromax seems to be allowing the Americans to build their pressure lanterns under license and under the name Britelyt. It seems to be the same product, but I am unsure about quality, attention to detail, etc..
I think I will have to obtain one of these US-made knockoffs and see how it stacks up against the genuine article…
More to follow..
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1March 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm #5477
Been my experience that anything Coleman makes is crap , way back in the day , they used to be a trusted brand , mostly made in America …………now they are mostly Chinese crap that breaks on you half the time . Just Sayin .March 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm #5481
Exactly why I posted a review of a 1970’s-era pressure lantern.
Once upon a time, Coleman had a reputation to uphold. They made good stuff. Now? Now it’s all farmed out to the Chinese. I haven’t bought anything Coleman for years. The two #275’s I have are old, but they still run. My father bought them back in the mid-1970’s, brand new. They’re finicky, but they run and are dependable… the Petromax is a better product, though.
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1May 21, 2014 at 11:30 pm #14518
In NZ , Aust, and UK the old pressure lamp you are likely to find is Tilley. In common with Coleman, the newer Tilley (246B) are considered much less robust than the older 246 Storm Lanterns. Tilleys are kerosene only lamps. Coleman make both types.. tho the dual fuel types are coleman fuel/ unleaded petrol. The Coleman instant lite lamps and stoves are useful in that they will use petrol…which may be available after` all the special fuels run out. The experts usually avoid petrol as it can “gum” up your lamp/stove… but you may have no choice. Coleman fuel is considered long lasting in a sealed container, and Kerosene is very long lived. ( Petrol is not). Be sure of your fuel… there are many different names in different countries..the wrong fuel can be dangerous (explosive). It pays to be “fire” aware whenever you are using these lamps/stoves.
A great site for all pressure lamps is http://www.classicpressurelamps.com It is a collectors site but has all the info you will need to identify and restore an old lamp. These guys are experts.
Pressure lamps are efficient as you are burning the fuel at a high temperature and heating an incandescent mantle, which produces a bright light… perhaps equivalent to a 75W electric bulb. They also produce a lot of heat… which may be useful in cold places. But they will use a lot of fuel.. so cannot be a long term lighting solution.May 22, 2014 at 1:15 am #14519
I own the Coleman, still in the box. I will see how good it is when I use it.May 22, 2014 at 2:35 am #14522
Coleman fuel is at about $10.00 a gallon.May 22, 2014 at 12:07 pm #14577
The Coleman I have can use regular gas, or kerosine. You are right that the Coleman fuel is to high priced.
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