There are brands synonymous with their industries, and Coleman is one of the names most enthusiastic campers think of when buying gear. Though the company now sells more than just camping equipment, offering sporting goods and outdoor gear of all kinds, its origins were specific to camping tools, and the firm dates back to the early 1900s.
A Brief History of Coleman
One look at the Coleman logo and you get a good idea of the brand's origins. Depicting a small camping lantern glowing brightly, it demonstrates the founder's initial product. It was just prior to 1905 when William Coffin Coleman was making his way home after a tiring day of selling typewriters. As the dusk settled, he spotted an unusually brilliant glow in a store window. Examining the lantern, he learned it was a new design that relied on gasoline instead of the more traditional kerosene. Burning cleaner meant it gave a whiter light that was a source of excellent illumination.
Instantly recognizing the potential in such a light, Coleman envisioned farms and ranches, schools and towns, and homeowners of all kinds benefiting from access to such a bold light source. To prove it, he designed a hanging lantern that used this new fuel system an then strung them on the poles of a local college's football field. The game played under the lights was impressive, and word spread of this amazing lamp.
At this period, most rural homes did not even have electrical service, and a dependable source of light was great, but one that burnt brilliantly and was housed in a safe, stylish, and portable lamp was even better. Coleman introduced his 300-candlepower lantern (The Coleman) in 1905, and it was an almost instant sensation.
Not only did consumers of all kinds want the lamps, but Coleman received orders from the U.S. government, making more than 70,000 during WWI. Sadly, less than two decades after that, WWII was raging and the Coleman Company was called upon to again supply lanterns, but also come up with a portable and compact stove that could burn any sort of fuel and yet be no larger than a bottle of milk. The Army put in this order and asked for supplies within a 60-day period.
Never one to shy away from such a challenge, Coleman and his team succeeded in the creation of the stove and were able to exceed expectations offering one that worked in extreme temperatures, use any fuel, and weigh less than four pounds. The gear was so impressive that world famous journalist Ernie Pyle wrote more than a dozen different stories about the stove.
Naturally, the end of the war meant lots of soldiers returning home, and many eager to live life to the fullest. At the same time, "car camping" had become the latest fad, and the Coleman name was one that many automatically thought of when looking for equipment to use while "roughing it". To accommodate this immense consumer need, Coleman came out with one of its staples - the folding camp stove that remains at the top of every camper's list today.
In addition to the cooking, there also was a need for cooling and so Coleman began to refine the typically cumbersome and inefficient cooler designs of the era into insulated coolers using plastic and allowing them to be lighter and higher performing. Meeting consumer demand has been a trend ever since and the firm has since become the name in camping and outdoor recreation gear.
The Product Line
Today, Coleman still offers premium lanterns of all kinds (including rechargeable models), camping stoves in different styles, and a huge array of coolers. However, they also create high quality products that include:
- Camp kitchen "essentials"
- Fueled apliances and lighting
In addition to this long list of items, they also offer a huge range of accessories, apparel, and craft a popular line of small boats that includes canoes and pontoon boats among others.
For over 100 years the Coleman name has been making camping and outdoor adventure easier and far more comfortable. They are the most trusted name in their industry and a smart choice for novice to expert campers.
Coleman.com. History. http://www.coleman.com/ColemanHistory/