I love Coleman lanterns. I couldn’t buy one that actually worked, though. Mine all hissed and sputtered and farted before trying to set you on fire. I bought two or three and right from new, out of the box, the sonsabitches tried to kill me. I dunno what I did to offend The Coleman Gods... but whatever it was, the sentence was death.
I had NO trouble with the stoves, my little single burner was more reliable than death and taxes. By contrast, my buddy Skinbag couldn’t make the stoves work to save his life. “These are simple machines, Filthie! All ya do is order a simple parts kit, put them in, and ya back in business...!” Skinbag was one of those guys where - to hear him tell it - he just had this natural mechanical aptitude that made him a handyman that could put real tool slingers like Phil and M to shame. I still remember him bragging as he swapped the parts out, oiled some others, and pronounced the job done. It was a good thing because the Dreadful Valley rifle rodeo was the next day and we’d but the stove to work on the coffee perkers. We were charging 50 cents a cup which would earn us enough money to buy another bag of Folgers for the next club shoot.
The next day we showed up early to get ready for the shoot and set up. The stove came out, I pumped it up... and it wouldn’t light. I clicked away with the cheap BBQ lighter... but that POS wasn’t gonna cook nothin’ for me. “Oh FFS, Filthie! Can’t you do nothing right?”
Of course, you know where this is going, right? Skinbag pushes me aside and is clicking away with the Fisher Price BBQ lighter and getting nowhere. Baloney Bob pipes up and says, “dribble a little fuel into the burner cup, and light that instead...”
The dribble of fuel lit up and sullenly burned and smoked. Skinbag leaned over with the can of fuel in his hand... annnnnd -
Houston, we are GO for main engine start! Skinbag starts careening about, flapping and gobbling in fright. The arm of his plaid jacket was on fire, but fortunately he dropped the can of fuel before it ignited. Bob helped Skinbag shrug out of his jacket, and I carefully carried the stove out from the shooting shack and carefully set it down out front. The damned thing had singed the rafters of the shed when it flared up.
Once we got Skinbag sorted out everything went fine. The stove settled down to an efficient burn and did its job, we got coffee going for the shooters as they began to trickle in for the tournament and it was a great day. His jacket was only mildly singed, and nobody noticed the sooty smudge on the roof of the shed.