I’ve been collecting Old Silk-Lites and the boxes for about a 2 1/2 years now and took it upon myself to do some research on dating (not a fancy dinner or flowers) these things. I have to use the ICCC websites files for credit here since I couldn’t have gathered any info without access to the old catalogs and advertisements. The dating of these pieces are approximate and are according to Coleman catalogs. I am missing a couple pieces still but am always looking to buy them if anyone has some they want to get rid of. To help me out here, I ask that anyone with old boxes of mantles like these or if you have a box that you don’t see here, PLEASE post a picture of it
Especially if anyone has any original counter display boxes, I would love to see them! USA only for right now please, I will do Canada later on...however I have one Canadian box to post here. Also I don’t know lamps very well yet, if you can identify the lamps on the boxes, please feel free to post what they are. Let’s get started...All of these Silk-Lites are Triple Lock Weave. Cottons and Raytex are single weave. Art-Silk's are single weave.
1: Early-mid 1920’s: #41 Cotton Junior Mantles
This is the earliest box that I have to date but it certainly isn’t the earliest design that was produced. The date on these is up in the air but am basing my guess around that there is no Copyright printed at the top of the box as there is on my other box. See below.
3.Mid-late 1920’s: #41 CANADA Cotton Junior Mantles
Mostly explained these in the last picture, not much difference except these Canadian mantles have a Pink sunrise printed on them. I am basing my date estimate off of the wax packs having the CQ and Air-O Lantern on them. Also at the bottom it says “Lamp & Stove Co” which make me think at least mid 1920’s.
Advertisements on the back of the Canadian wax packs:
I’m missing the earliest or 2 earliest boxes of Silk lites to my knowledge, I believe they started making them around 1930. Here is one of the earliest boxes below.
4.1930-1935: First Silk Lites
Not much to say about these since I don’t own a box of them. What I have seen from old ads is that they are printed in black and green and has “Silk Lite” in Italic lettering. There is also a lamp and an early brimless vent 220B on the back. If you have a box of these or similar looking please post it here.
Boxes and wax packs are Green, Orange and White. Says “No.21 Grade A” inside of mantle. These are not #21A’s yet, just #21’s. Has a lamp and 228B (note the winged fuel cap) on the back of the box.
le="text-align: center;">10.Mid-1950’s-early 1960’s:
This is the last mantle box from coleman before they switched to plastic packaging. These boxes were white, light and dark blue. The “Silk Lite” is printed in cursive. Parallelogram has been moved to the top and the mantle to the middle. This is the ONLY box design that has a 200/200A on the side of the box. The later productions of these boxes with have the lantern logo inside the parallelogram (last photo) Back of wax packs no longer have ads but instructions once again.
Everything below has been updated as of 07/15/2018
3. Early teens-1940’s- #40 Senior Cotton Mantle
This pack was a hard one for me to find, and it’s the only pack I’ve even seen a picture of. The #40 Senior mantles were used in hollow wire appliances and single mantle lanterns or lamps (from other manufacturers of course) since the junior #41 was too small to accommodate the high candlepower that was being produced. They are about twice the size of a #41, but due to the nature of them being cotton, they would still shrink significantly. The mantle and wax pack pictured here is a later production (at least mid-20’s) but I can’t pinpoint an exact era. Not much to go by on the pack. There is a CQ lamp and “Made in USA” printed in pink on the mantle just like the #41 juniors.
11. Early 1960’s and on
From this point on, Coleman only packaged the 21A mantle inside plastic packages and still do to this day. In this picture, you can date them only by a few small details. The production times goes from left to right, earliest to latest. My guess is the Triple Lock Weave Silk Lite was discontinued sometime in the mid 70’s and was then produced as a single weave mantle.
- The earliest package on the left shows a 220E on front and advertises “2 for 39 cents” and on the back of the package at the bottom, you’ll notice there is no ZIP code on the Coleman Factory’s address (Wichita 1) so definitely early 1960’s. Also, below the address there will be “Form so-and-so”. It seems that each different form number represents that there was a change in the font, address or instructions on the back. The numbers on this early package are “FORM 202 B 952”. This pack has 12 “rays” around the 220E on the front. Mantles are stamped with a sunrise and “Made in U.S.A”
- The second package is probably also Early-Mid 1960’s, just a later run before using the 220F on the packaging. There is still a 220E on the front but lacks the pricing in the white circle. Colemans address now has a ZIP code. The Form number on this package is “FORM 202-952” This package has 12 “rays” around the 220E on the front. Mantles are stamped with a sunrise and “Made in U.S.A”
- This package design is at least Mid-1960’s since it now has a 220F on the front of the pack. However, the top of the package insists that the mantles are also for propane appliances which would lead me to think this pack is from the 70’s. Package now states “2 each” on the front at the bottom. Colemans address changed at this point to “250 North St. Francis”. The new form number is “FORM 202-951”. The mantles now have a Coleman Parallelogram stamped onto them.
The only differences with the last package are that the mantles are now single weave, and the form number has changed. I would date these Mid-1970’s and on until this package design was completely discontinued. The new form number is “FORM 202A951”.
Made in USA/Canada #20 Senior Mantle
The#20 Senior mantle first appeared in the USA Jobbers catalogs in the 1941 publication. These mantles were intended for use on large single mantle lanterns such as the Coleman 236 and 249 and are a single weave design. They are about twice the size of a 21A Silk Lite, but they aren’t quite as big as the #1111 mantle. The mantle has a sunrise and “made in USA” stamped on the front. In my research, the #20 mantle last appeared in a Coleman catalog in 1955.
Made in Canada #41, #21 & #999
- 1. Mid-1920’s-Early 1930’s: #41 CANADA Cotton Junior Mantles
There isn’t too much difference between these and the USA mantles except these Canadian mantles have a Pink sunrise printed on them. I am basing my date estimate off the wax packs having the CQ and Air-O Lantern on them. Also at the bottom it says “Lamp & Stove Co” which make me think at least mid 1920’s. The cotton mantle was made in Canada until the late 1940’s. They were advertised for use on 242A, 242B, 242K & 247 lanterns.
- 1. Late 1940’s-Early 1950’s #21 “Art Silk”
The Canadian #21 mantle was always a single weave mantle, but from my personal experience, they put out just as good of a light as the USA #21’s despite the different design. The catalogs advertised these mantles for use one 242 & 247 lanterns and all Coleman lamps. They are stamped with a sunrise on the front and say “Coleman Made in Canada”. The box and wax packs both have product advertisements on the back. I’m basing my estimate of manufacture date on the Coleman Parallelogram on the package.
- 1. Early-Late 1940’s #999 “Art Silk” Mantle
I have to say that this is one of the boxes that I am almost completely guessing on, but I want to include it anyhow. The Brand still says, “Lamp and Stove Company”, which indicates it’s probably prior to around 1950-ish when Coleman started branding their items by, “The Coleman Company”. They are a single weave mantle and give off a brilliant white light just like a USA Silk Lite and are just as strong too. The dark stamping on the mantle says, “Coleman No.999 MADE IN CANADA”. It seems that most Canadian mantles were stamped dark and very prominent like these compared to any USA mantle I’ve seen. The advertising claims that these mantles will produce higher candlepower than what the appliance is rated
for and gives “50% More Light”. The lantern featured on the front is either a 242 or a 247, as the wax pack states these mantles were “especially made” for “Sport-Lite” (242) and “Scout” (247) lanterns.
- 1. Late 1950’s-Early 1960’s
This pack of #999’s closely resembles the USA #21A box that was made in USA in the late 50’s to early 60’s, so I have no doubts that this came from the same era. The only difference is the mantle shown on the front of the box. This box in particular has the lantern logo inside the parallelogram which indicates its at least 1960. These mantles don’t have the typical dark Canadian stamping, but you can still see it a little.
USA/Export Hi-Power “Art Silk” #999
Late 1940’s to Early 1950’s
This box design is one of my favorites. I base my dating estimate on the Coleman parallelogram on the box and no registered trademark symbol inside that parallelogram. On the front of the box is a 242 and “300 Candlepower”. The back of the box and wax packs have advertisements of a 242B, Coleman Solus stove, a lamp with a parchment shade and a 4A Iron. Notice anything different between the box and the wax pack here? If you look close, the box says, “Coleman Lamp and Stove Company Wichita, Kansas”. The wax pack says, “The Coleman Company, Inc--Chicago, Illinois”. It seems the wax pack may have been made later when Coleman changed their name. And Chicago was home to the export division. Strange how these two ended up together, but we all know that Coleman wasted nothing, so it isn’t too surprising at the same time.
USA/Canada/Export #1111 Mantle
- Early-Late 1940’s Canada #1111
This box also remains a mystery on exact dating as it’s the same design as the #999 mantles that were shown above. This is my guess on the era it was made. This box is nearly identical to the #999 box, has the same 242/247 lantern on the front, and the “50% more light” as well. However, at the bottom it advertises, “Made Especially for the “Major” (236) and the “Empire” (237) 500 candlepower lanterns. The back of this box really caught my attention. It has a 236 lantern on top of an illustration of the earth, and they refer to it as the “500 Candlepower ‘Master-Lite’ Lantern”. I’m not sure what they mean by that name. If anyone has any input, please let me know. 500 Candlepower at 300 Candlepower cost!
Typical dark Canadian mantle stamping. “Coleman No.1111 MADE IN CANADA”.
- 1. Late 1940’s-Early 1950’s Export “Art Silk” #1111
This box sports the same designs of the USA/Export box of #999’s above. Made in USA, but from the export division in Chicago instead of Wichita. This box is from the early 50’s after Coleman’s name change. The front of the box shows a 236/237 lantern with “500 Candlepower” on both sides of it. My favorite part about this box is the Col-Max advertisement on the back. Appliances also advertised on the back of the box and wax pack are the Speedmaster 500 stove, 242B and Coleman Solus stove. Mantles are stamped with “Coleman No.1111 MADE IN USA”.
- 1. Late 1950’s-Early 1960’s “Art Silk” #1111
This box design is fairly similar to the box above, with the exception of the writing on the box and wax packs having a white border around them. Advertisements on the back of box and wax packs show a Col-Max and a painted 500A Speedmaster stove. The box shows the registered trademark symbol in the parallelogram whereas the wax packs have the lantern logo, indicating at least 1960. I would guess that these were the last run of the boxed #1111 mantles (maybe not the only design of this era though) before changing over to plastic packaging. The mantle stamps have changed and now feature a sunrise with “Coleman MADE IN U.S.A” underneath the sunrise. The “No.1111” is no longer stamped
- 1. Early-Late 1950’s USA/Export “Art Silk” #1111
This box is certainly unique from any other box of mantles that I own. The box design is very similar to the Canadian #999’s that were posted above, but this is a later production box since it states, “The Coleman Company INC.” at the bottom. The front of the box features a Col-Max lantern in the center. They are 500 Candlepower mantles and were advertised for use in the 236, 237, 238A, 239A, 240A and the Col-Max No.333. This box is from the USA export division in Chicago. The box advertises a Coleman Iron on the back of the box, though the wax pack has no advertisements. The mantles are stamped “Coleman No.1111 MADE IN USA”. I was fortunate enough to obtain this box thanks to a fellow collector.