By Hana Medina
PULLING OUT MY trusty Coleman camping tent is always a sign that good memories
are about to be made. Whether it’s spending a
relaxing weekend in the serenity of the forest
or gearing up for livelier times at a music festival, my Coleman tent has been a reliable
shelter and comforting backdrop.
Making quality products for lasting
memories is the cornerstone of The Coleman
Company Inc., makers of outdoor gear. In
fact, Coleman has always sought to make life
a bit brighter—quite literally.
“It all started with a lantern 117 years
ago,” says Dave Allen, president of Coleman
USA, adding that outdoor gear of the time
was more survival and farming oriented.
In 1899, company founder William
Coffin (W.C.) Coleman walked by a pharmacy in Blocton, Alabama, and saw a new
white-gas-powered lantern, called the
Efficient Lamp, that burned with a brighter
white flame than the smoky yellow kerosene
lamps that were standard at the time.
Company: The Coleman Company, Inc.
CEO: Marc Hill, president and CEO
Number of global employees: 2,800
(not including temporary or contract workers)
Address: Golden, CO
Contact: 1-800-835-3278; coleman.com
Products at Costco (selection may vary by
location): Five-person tent (Item #919532),
10-person tent (Item #919554),
business the Coleman Lamp Company.
In 1914, Coleman released a more power-
ful 300-candlepower lantern that provided
light in every direction for 300 feet. It could
light up all four corners of a barn, which
lengthened the workday for farmers and
ranchers. According to Allen: “This signifi-
cantly boosted productivity, and fundamen-
tally changed the work dynamic in rural
America. Additionally, the U.S. government
declared this lantern an “essential item” for
World War I troops, and nearly 70,000 of
them were distributed to American forces.
“From there we expanded with a compact stove during World War II,” says Allen.
After World War II ended, he explains,
America entered an era of prosperity and
families had more money to spend. The government had built a new highway system,
which paved the way for car camping. This
in turn increased the consumer demand for
Coleman’s fold-up camping stove, as veterans had become familiar with its versatility
on the front lines.
Coleman began tailoring all of its products toward camping. By the time W.C.
Coleman died in 1957, Allen says, he had built
the world’s largest camping and outdoor company, manufacturing products enjoyed by millions worldwide.
“We revolutionized cooler manufacturing in the 1950s. We added tents and sleeping
bags in the 1960s, battery lighting in the
1980s, and camping furniture and accessories
during the 1990s. Coleman continues to
evolve as well as bring new innovations to the
outdoor market,” says Allen.
Today, Coleman’s logo bears a lantern as
an homage to its beginnings, and the company’s product scope has an even broader outdoor focus, with the addition of Sevylor floats
and towables, Stearns life jackets, MadDog
Gear ATV accessories, Helium sports vests
and AeroBed airbeds. Allen notes that for consumers today, “it’s a challenge to outfit yourself
for outdoor fun and not have something from
the Coleman family of products with you.” C
Coleman, who had poor eyesight, was so
impressed that he became a salesman for the
company. In 1900, Coleman relocated to
Kingfisher, Oklahoma Territory, to sell the
lamps, but found the residents were weary of
them due to bad experiences with similar
products and slimy salesmen. To earn their
trust, Coleman started a lamp rental service
named Hydro-Carbon Light Company, where
customers paid $1 a week to rent Efficient
Lamps, while Coleman maintained them.
Business took off, and Coleman eventually
purchased the patent for the Efficient Lamp
and moved the Hydro-Carbon Light
Company’s headquarters to Wichita, Kansas.
In 1903, Coleman renamed the lamp the
Arc Lamp, and started manufacturing it in
Wichita by 1905. By 1913, he renamed his
2-in- 1 sleeping bag (Item #568034), 13' x 13'
Shelter (Item #908881), LXX Grill (Item #1033017),
Aerobed Opti-comfort Queen Air Mattress (Item
#976976), Puddle Jumpers Child Flotation Device
Quote about Costco: “Costco has been a great
partner to the Coleman Company, in the U.S. and
globally. Together we have worked to bring the Costco
member the highest quality in outdoor products at a
strong value. I’m confident [members will] be excited
about the assortment we’ve pulled together for this
season.”—Dave Allen, president, Coleman USA
makes the great
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to watch a video
showing a fun way to use Coleman
products. (See page 15 for details.)
call wild of The recreation summer