More than 100 years ago, a young man with an entrepreneurial spirit and a better idea began manufacturing lanterns in Wichita, Kansas. His name was W.C. Coleman, and the company he founded would change life in America. A man plagued with such poor vision he sometimes had to ask classmates to read aloud to him, Coleman saw a brilliant light in 1900 in a drugstore window that stopped him in his tracks. He inquired about the light inside and discovered he was able to read even the small print on a medicine bottle by the illumination. The lamps had mantles, not wicks, and were fueled by gasoline under pressure instead of coal oil. Soon afterward, Coleman started a lighting service that offered a "no light, no pay" clause--a big step forward for merchants who were burned by inferior products that rarely worked--and drew substantial interest from businesses that wanted to keep their lights on after dark.
In the ensuing years, Coleman expanded its product line well beyond lanterns. The company's current catalog is thick with products that make spending time outdoors a pleasure. There are coolers that keep food and drinks cold for days on end, comfortable airbeds that won't deflate during the night, a complete line of LED lights that last for years, powerful portable grills that cook with an authentic open-grill flame, and much, much more. Coleman has truly fashioned much of our outdoor camping experience, and expects to do so for generations to come.