Coleman Kero-Lite and other non-pressure lamps

Wickies, mantle lamps and parts

Loose mounted mantle

Works well to keep it out of the way while doing this Kero-Lite modification, but requires a steady hand and a little ice on the blood.

09 Dec 2023
hot diggity, Sep 5, 2020
    • hot diggity
      Saving this here. 7/20/2021

      As an introduction to another thread that I'm working on I wanted to share some views of the Coleman Kero-Lite 160 that most collectors never want to see. I've (Gasp!) removed the entire wick riser assembly from one to show how the rack and pinion operate. It also shows how weak the teeth appear. Even though this one has all 8 teeth, they're worn on an odd angle. This burner had been bashed apart with a hammer a chisel and filled with concrete to hold an electrical socket, but even this one I will save this winter. So even in pieces that's not the troubling picture. ;)

      [attachment=2]Kero lite wick riser assembly complete.jpg[/attachment]

      A genius machinist pointed out that the Kero-Lite pinion gear is made from one long toothed shaft, and the teeth are simply removed along the rest of the pinion shaft during manufacture. That means you can't just remove the old gear and install a new one. This picture shows that pretty well, and the smaller diameter where the hand wheel is soldered on. Don't remove these if you can avoid it. They are no fun at all to get back on straight so they don't wobble. That isn't the scary picture either.

      [attachment=1]Kero lite pinion shaft.jpg[/attachment]

      Although it would normally have to be viewed with a flashlight looking through the small holes in the burner cage, THIS is what no Kero-Lite collector wants to see... EVER! A toothless pinion gear, that results in a wick that can't be adjusted and a lamp that is only nice to look at.

      [attachment=0]Kero lite toothless wick riser pinion.jpg[/attachment]

      You can still use the lamp with some missing teeth. I have a luck few that have all 8 teeth, some with 6, 4, 2 teeth that will all still move the wick up and down. It's like steering an old truck with 3/4 turn of play in the steering, but it works. Once they're all gone though, nothing moves.

      So here's the deal. How many of you have a toothless Kero-Lite 160 that you always wanted to fix?
    • hot diggity
      KERO-LITE 160 FUEL

      I use Klean Strip brand Klean-Heat kerosene alternative. Also called odorless heater fuel. It's available at Lowe's and Home Depot. Worth the additional cost to be able to have fueled wickies in the house without kerosene odor. Works great in mantle lamps and I've never had any issues with low wick black spot I get with older kerosene.

      I had run the kerosene that I use in my outside Rayo's in a couple Aladdin 23 lamps and had not only black spot issues at low light, but had to remove the gallery and slam a red Solo cup over them to keep the stink out of the room when they were not in use.

      You'll love the silent elegance of the Kero-Lite, and if you run other mantle lamps you'll really see the refinements. Yes, the Farmor will stomp the little Coleman in light production, but it's brutish and rude.
      The Aladdin might edge the 160 out in light output, but will require constant fiddling. The Kero-Lite does what it does with such grace, producing a stable 45 watts of light all night long. You'll see. Enjoy.
    • hot diggity
      Flame spreaders are easy. (especially when they're stuffed inside the burner upside down) The closest I've found is from the Farmor (Sears) mantle lamp. It has the same number of rows of holes and they're spaced almost the same at the top. It is .030" shorter and has a second notch on the bottom, but you're unlikely to notice the flame spreader under a mantle. Aladdin 11 with the base extension removed is .090" taller, and also has two notches, along with an Aladdin embossed top. Many other 7/8" flame spreaders will work, but these are what I have within reach.

      Aladdin _ Farmor _ Coleman.jpg (139.96 KiB) Viewed 21 times
      Aladdin _ Farmor _ Coleman bottom.jpg (115.13 KiB) Viewed 21 times

      The pictures below should help with the wick installation, if you have the brass piece from the original wick.

      The Aladdin 21 is the closest fit I've measured. The measurement in the second picture is on a new wick so you can get the height correct.
      Aladdin 21 wick.jpg (23.04 KiB) Viewed 21 times
      160-3715 wick measurement.jpg (184.08 KiB) Viewed 21 times

      The metal nubs on the Aladdin wick will interfere with the installation of the brass riser attachment. I used a small screwdriver to pull one out, and a small nippers to cut the other one off. I prefer snipping the nubs off. The hooks stay in the wick fabric, and remain smooth on the inside. They'll be against the inner wick tube, so they're not going anywhere.

      Aladdin wick modification.jpg (158.34 KiB) Viewed 21 times

      The wicks length are similar enough. The Coleman is of firmer weave, and with the slant cut, it feeds much easier into the burner. My solution for this is a bamboo skewer. I use the blunt end to coax the Aladdin wick through the burner.

      Aladdin 21 and Coleman 160-371S wick length.jpg (147.52 KiB) Viewed 21 times

      Stapled on or attached with needle and thread... or dental floss, it's all inside the burner and only you will know how it was done. Have fun with it and let us know what technique you use.
    • hot diggity
      I have more Kero-Lites than I have room for and if you wearn't dead set on finding one in the wild I could offer several in various states from baseless burners to lopsided bases, toothless and repairable to incomplete and frustrating. Or take all the fun out of it with a near perfect and complete example. All priced accordingly.
    • hot diggity
      Letter to Rustytank 1/09/2024

      Forty-five people watching that poor Kero-Lite with the missing flame spreader. :eek:

      Wednesday at 8:00 I think the bidding will get pretty sporty in a hurry. Might have to pop some popcorn for this one since I'm out. It's actually a relief, since January is always the month of property taxes, termite inspections and wind and hail insurance for me. When I said I would sit on my hands I meant it quite literally. I will be so tempted to blast an astronomical bid in there at the last second. :lol: But I will have some restraint and wish you the best. ;)

      I really do wish you luck on this one. The trouble with 45 watchers is that you never know if they're watching TV and forget, in a different time zone where it's supper time, or drive time. Some may not be all that dedicated. Some may be kicking themselves at 8:01 tomorrow for not increasing a bid, and some poor souls may submit a bid higher than the winner and get it in just seconds too late. It's a total gamble. That's how I got the Kero-Lite fever and why I have eighteen of these lamps. I've been gambling on them since 2018 and it's still a rush whenever I press the BID button. My strategy varies because I have blinding fast internet at home, mid-speed at work and "OMG there's a four minute delay today?!?" when I'm in the range tower. I hope you'll set your alarm for this one. I think this is the most watchers I've ever seen.

      It's going to be epic...or fizzle. If I knew which I wouldn't be spinning wrenches or freezing in the range tower.

      Good Luck!
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