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Coleman Backpacking Stoves
History of Coleman Backpacking Stoves The origin of today’s diminutive backpacking stoves begins with W.C. Coleman and the big lanterns his company was developing in the early 1900s. He made a series of product improvements after founding the company in 1900 as an indoor lamp and lighting service provider. His first outdoor lantern was introduced in 1914. It was a 14-pound monster that customers applauded for its brightness, its safety and its performance in foul weather. But they said it would be better if it were smaller and easier to light. The quest for miniaturization and to meet users’ demands in harsh environments would become a central theme and a challenge for decades to come. By 1920, the Coleman® lantern was indeed much smaller, lighter and easier to light. W.C. was a tinkerer. He and his Experimental Department turned their attention to portable stoves, armed with new technologies learned while evolving gasoline lanterns. Their first camp stove – an all-black two-burner, the Model One – was introduced in 1923. Coleman’s historian, 96-year-old Herb Ebendorf, marks that date as the beginning of Coleman, the outdoor company. “Coleman had two outdoor products then – the camp stove to go along with the lantern,” Ebendorf says. “This came at a time when the Model T Ford became affordable to millions of American families. They began to travel and vacation more. ‘Motor camping’ became quite popular. The stove and lantern fit right in. They often strapped the stove right on the running board of the car, and they pitched a tent in a park or alongside the road at night.” Even though Coleman had designed and manufactured a powerful single-burner stove used as a heater and for boiling water during the late 1920s and 30s, the Model 500 Speedster of 1940 and similar editions were not sized for backpacking or carrying any great distances. Although portable, they were simply too bulky and heavy for backpacking. They were used primarily in farming, construction and for other more utilitarian purposes. Historians point to 1942, World War II and the GI Pocket Stove as the true genesis of today’s Coleman® backpack stove, although everything the company had learned the previous 25 years would be needed to develop the Model 520 Pocket Stove. The U.S. Army originally wanted a compact stove for use by a new special unit of ski troopers. It needed to burn a variety of liquid fuels and gasoline, light easily in temperatures ranging from 60 degrees below zero to 125 degrees above zero, weigh less than three pounds, and not be much larger than a quart milk bottle. And, given the pending war circumstances, the product would need to be designed and built with the utmost speed. Ebendorf says it was a daunting task for Coleman engineers, and the assignment set into motion “the most strenuous 60 days in the company’s history.” But Coleman met the challenge, producing the first 5,000 stoves in time to accompany American armed forces in the invasion of North Africa in November 1942. Use of the stove was broadened beyond its original purpose for ski troopers to include several branches of the military. More than one million Pocket Stoves were made and sent to the battlefronts in Europe and the Pacific through the end of the war in ’45. The little olive-drab painted stoves were powerful, hot and featured very little adjustment. Soldiers said they used the stoves to cook food, heat up rations, boil water for safe drinking, make hot coffee or tea, heat a foxhole, and warm water for shaving, bathing and washing socks. Medics also used them to boil water for sterilizing utensils. The famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle regularly commented on the stove, and his survey of soldiers concluded that the Coleman GI Pocket Stove and the Jeep were “the two most useful non-combat pieces of equipment to come out of the war.” The pocket stove and a civilian version manufactured from 1946 to 49 were used by sportsmen, travelers, hikers and other adventurers following the war. However, backpacking as we know it today had not emerged as a popular pastime in the United States, and the production of the compact single-burners was halted for more than 20 years. Coleman did make a large single-burner that was known as the Sportsman or Sportster during this period. It functioned as a cooker as well as a heater for duck blinds and other outdoor spaces, but it was a descendant of the Model 500 Speedster, not the 520 military stove.Car wash
Took a photo of the last leg of the car wash tonight. Forced air is drying off the van, pushing off the water.
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