COLEMAN Mils.pec Why?

Discussion in 'Pressure Lamp Discussion Forum' started by GAVIN W, May 16, 2014.

  1. GAVIN W

    GAVIN W United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Does anybody know what the thinking behind the Mil.spec Lamps? Why they changed a sound and functional system,proven over a number of years. Apart from the storage tube in the tank, I am left bemused.
     
  2. James

    James Subscriber

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    Did you buy that Milspec on ebay UK? Nice looking lamp.
     
  3. GAVIN W

    GAVIN W United Kingdom Subscriber

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    It was. Not as good as it could have been, as fount has 3/4 stress cracks. to be honest I was more interested in the structure of the lamp than anything else. Now in the market for a 1944 fount :-k . "Not every one is a winner" :cry: I was surprised that I was the only bidder, hindsight is a gift!!!
     
  4. James

    James Subscriber

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    Well I was going to bid on it but I forgot :doh:
     
  5. GAVIN W

    GAVIN W United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Not sure if that make me happy or not :-k
     
  6. Wim

    Wim Subscriber

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    Gavin, would your mil spec be the same as an Akron-made one? I can't find a date on it, it is all steel (rusty :roll: ) and looks complete but without globe. If you come to Newark you can have it (but let me know in advance).

    Best regards,

    Wim
     
  7. David Shouksmith

    David Shouksmith United Kingdom Founder Member

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    What change is it you're referring to, Gavin? :-k
     
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  8. Neighbor Al

    Neighbor Al Subscriber

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    The primary difference that I'm aware of with the MILSPEC is that it runs at significantly lower pressure. The reason is that they did not want troops to be spending a lot of time pumping the lantern.
     
  9. David Shouksmith

    David Shouksmith United Kingdom Founder Member

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    Well, in reality for each lantern that might save one soldier a minute's pumping every few hours...
     
  10. GAVIN W

    GAVIN W United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Wow! A few things to cover here.
    Wim.
    Yes it is an Arkon made Lamp/Fount made from Brass, with an Aladdin Burner assembly.
    I hope to get to Newark on the Saturday for the day, but it is a case of "Brownie points" with she who must be obeyed.(depends on the wife) I am to go on my fishing holiday in Norfolk, starting on the 13 June for 7 days so many jobs around the house need to be done :-({|=
    I may just happen to have a sleeping bag and a toothbrush in the Motor!! I will let you know,I must say thank you for your kind offer regardless of what happens.

    David.
    The "change" I allude to is the Generator style with regard to the earlier and present day used by Coleman. I assume that this is due to the Low pressure the system operates on. Does this Lamp use a bigger pressure spread I.E.40 down to 15 psi for example. That I can understand, but I am under the impression that the pressure all round is lower than the Coleman Lamps of the past and present.
    With regard to the lack of time spent pumping the lamp Changing hands at 99 pumping the Lamp may be better than doing so during a different activity. to borrow an old phrase. Bromide in the Tea was used in the Great war, so it is said.

    Al
    If and when I have a working Mil.Spec it will be interesting to compare the two systems I think that there will be little difference for reasons I will save for the right time. I was tempted to say that the reason was that pumping the lamp at the right time, was a difficult concept for the average GI :)
     
  11. Neighbor Al

    Neighbor Al Subscriber

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    Mind you, the MILSPEC had its own mantles. I have no idea how one would perform with standard mantles...
     
  12. Mackburner

    Mackburner United Kingdom Founder Member Subscriber

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    The milspec lantern was designed to run on leaded gasoline so the troops did not have to carry a special fuel for them but could use the vehicle fuel. WC Coleman thought it could not be done but the guys at Aladdin came up with this cool running generator which only just vaporised the fuel and the cooler temp meant the gen was less prone to carbon fouling. It is neccessarily a low pressure lamp to keep the generator running cool. So the design driver was leaded gas not low pressure. ::Neil::
     
  13. GAVIN W

    GAVIN W United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Well, that explains the "why".
    Explains the Aluminium Generator, which is a good conductor of heat, allowing the generator to heat the fuel more evenly, removing the very hot spot closest to the mantle where most of the problems with blockages, crud production start.
    Would it be right to assume that although the system worked, it was not as good as it was hoped in that it did not become the Norm for Petrol lanterns after the War?
    What is the best fuel to run these lamps on,Naptha or unleaded?
    Thank you for a little more information for the old Grey matter to absorb.
    Gavin
     
  14. Mackburner

    Mackburner United Kingdom Founder Member Subscriber

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    They were good enough to be made and used from 1943 to 1991. They were made in quantity for all the major conflicts during that period. The military were well aware of their problems but the single fuel was still a major consideration. In fact for use in rather less fluid combat areas more normal gasoline lamps were used because they gave better light so the Milspec was not the only type to be used and in fact modles 220B and 228B were used in WW2 and afterwards some model 200s were also used.

    They will run OK on just about any fuel you care to shove in there but to preserve the generator Coleman Fuel or any similar naphtha is best. Tricky things to light though. ::Neil::
     
  15. george

    george United States Subscriber

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    The ones made by Coleman during the war and just after that during the Korean War were fairly good lanterns. Eventually, the contract for manufacturing them was "up for grabs" (companys had to bid for the contract)and I feel at that point they began to go "cheap". I have one made in 1945, one in 1953, both by Coleman, and one made by Armstrong Products in 1977. SMP (State Machine Products) also made these. SMP was in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. My understanding is these lanterns were made by prisoners... that probably tells you something...
    They can be a bugger to start and noisy as hell! The enemy could probably hear it a mile away! Imagine how 8 or 10 of these things all running at once must have sounded! My 500 cp Petromax runs quieter than these lanterns.
     
  16. greendohn

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    I have two (2) Mil Spec lanterns, one dated 1980 and the other 1984, both manufactured by SMP.
    Boy, they are certainly hard to get along with. I installed brand new gens in both lanterns and even at low pressure they have a tendency to "firebomb"!!!
    Not the best of U.S.Army gear I've came across..
     
  17. Primus 96

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    I used to have one of these milspec lanterns (SMP 1982). The top of the lantern was not enameled like a regular Coleman top, it had a matt brown finish.
    The spares compartment had some coarser looking mantles, Sun Flame brand I think. I just stuck a regular 21a on.
    They are complete pigs to light, with a high tendency to produce flames and smoke before the sod is hot enough to vapourise. They stink if you use car petrol.
    I resorted to wiring a 2" length of lamp wick inside as a priming pad.
    The last batches of those I saw for sale were by SMP C1986.
    Compared to a regular single mantle lantern they are crude & I don't miss mine.
     
  18. ulysses

    ulysses Subscriber

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    I agree with Neil's observations. The lantern was designed to run on "Mogas"; the US Army in WWII standardized on gasoline, and it's use in Lanterns and stoves made supply issues easier. I've found that larger mantles come closer to the generator / vaporizer, produce more heat and made the lantern run better. I have a supply of Petromax 500 mantles, and the Mil-spec lantern ran better on these than on the smaller Coleman #21. They only need 6 - 8 pumps; they were designed to run on lower pressure than the standard Coleman lanterns.

    I have sold several of the lanterns on, and kept one that belonged to a friend, an Army Command Sgt. Major. He had collected many spares, and customize a wooden ammunition box as a carrying case. I have a 1942 Akron, marked with "U.S.", with the Aladdin Conversion that looks like a depot repair / upgrade.

    I have considered, but never tried to convert the Mil-spec lantern using Coleman 220 parts to make a lantern that still looks (mostly) military, but lights easily and burns brighter. There are lots of junk 220s and 228s out there for parts.

    Paul
     
  19. Reese Williams

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    The mil-spec was also designed to provide a standard lantern. Rather than having four different lanterns from four different makers the Army got four companies making the same lantern. It's about simplifying the logistics. It was designed for the #99 mantle not the #21. The noise would not be an issue, you don't have lanterns in the front line. They met a need and did it rather well.
     
  20. Claus C

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    About the tool-tube in the tank, then I was told it was only placed on the 252A's. So there are 2 milspec's around, the 252 and the 252A. The 252 is then of course without tool-tube.

    Claus C
     
  21. Mackburner

    Mackburner United Kingdom Founder Member Subscriber

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    These milspec lanterns were only given a model number by Coleman. So only Coleman made examples can be designated 252 or 252A. All the other makes have no number which is why we call them "Milspec" as a generic identity. All the WW2 types came without a tool tube. That was introduced in the early 1950s as was the change from a cylinder globe to the four piece glass. ::Neil::
     
  22. ulysses

    ulysses Subscriber

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    Neil:

    I have a Coleman Mil-spec lantern, dated 1944, with a spare parts well. I have seen a number of others also. I also have an Akron with an Aladdin Conversion, without a spares well. I suspect, from the shape of the tank, globe support and other details that this Akron was an early war type, or taken straight from civilian production, and then depot converted to the then current, mil-spec standard.

    Paul
     
  23. Mackburner

    Mackburner United Kingdom Founder Member Subscriber

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    That is earlier than I thought for the tool well. Interesting and thanks for the info.

    We did suspect that the military converted some civilian types to Milspec. I guess it was easier than carrying a bunch of spares for a range of lantens. So damaged or failing military owned civilian types were just stripped and had a milspec burner fitted. ::Neil::
     

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