What I know so far is that in 1930, Australia held a Tariff Board Inquiry into raising the tariff on imported lamps to 30%.
Australian manufacturers of lamps were in favour; importers of overseas lamps were not, and argued that Australian manufacturers could not supply the volume, especially that required for the rural market.
I don't know the outcome of the inquiry (yet).
So at that stage, no Coleman lamps or stoves were manufactured in Australia - they were imported from Coleman Canada.
Fast forward to 1950, noting the intervention of the Great Depression and World War II.
In early 1950 the Coleman Lamp and Stove Co. Ltd. of Canada announced that it was not going to build a factory in Adelaide (South Australia) because the skilled labour and materials required were in short supply, and the market was too small.
In late 1950 the following was reported in the Melbourne Age:
"Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd. of Adelaide, has obtained a
tie up with the Coleman Lamp and Stove Co, Ltd., Toronto, Canada, for manufacture of a range of kerosene and petrol-
burning appliances for domestic lighting and heating".
There the trail ends for me (so far), but Coleman products like the Australian made Coleman No. 249 Scout and various stoves were manufactured under licence from Coleman Canada:
What I don't know is when and for how long, and whether Adelaide was the sole place of manufacture.
There are a couple of comments at Classic Camp Stoves that Austramax in Melbourne manufactured Coleman products in the 1950s but I can't find direct evidence of this.
Any enlightenment would be appreciated.
Have you heard of the C J Thomas Company? Some of us have a catalog from them and they are listed as "Coleman Quicklite Company of Australia PTY LTD" It talks about "Coleman for over 50 years" and lists 5 factories, but they are all in US or Canada.
I assume the catalog is 1950s. It lists the 238B and 237, etc
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As far as the Coleman Australia connection goes, you may be able to narrow the time period it occurred by gathering some information from the date stamps of the gps's produced and now in collections. I will go through my Coleman Australia collection and PM you the dates on what I have. I know I have a 242B, made in Australia, stamped 1952, and may have something earlier. I would think that the C/A made #4 irons, like the speckled blue and speckled green, would have been made much earlier than that, but don't know if they were date stamped, as I don't have any. They would appear in the mail order catalogues of the day though, which would give the time period.
You would think that if Coleman Canada did form an associated company in Australia, there would have to be some company registration evidence there.
I commend you on your efforts to date in gathering information on this subject.
I would love to get hold of a pdf of the catalogue. It might help me sort a few things.
Mr. Charles J. Thomas, a director ofCyclone Fence and Gate Co. Pty. Ltd.,and Australian representative of Coleman Quick-lite Co. of America, will leave by the Monterey on Monday for an extended tour of America, England, and Europe. He will be accompanied by his daughter.
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Had an email from Warren re my Coleman Thomas Catalogue and its distribution. Contact Warren if interested in it. I consider it a Public Domain document and as such free to whoever wants it.
I did a fair bit of research into who manufactured Coleman in Australia.
The end result was that I was none the wiser, just more junk on my Computer.
Basically there were 3 avenues to follow . Colton Palmer in South Australia, C J Thomas in Melbourne and Austramax also in Melbourne.
A bit about the Companies
1. Colton Palmer & Preston Ltd.
A large Hardware Distribution with Manufacturing capabilities at Southwark in SA. Basically imported and redistribution. Did manufacture a range of GPA's
2 C J Thomas.
From what I can find out Distribution Company, seems to be centered around the Camping, Fishing Outdoor Sports. Probably did more but haven't found it.
Say no more.
The negotiation part of Coleman Canada is a bit of a conundrum. Both Colton Palmer & C J Thomas claim to have the rights for the Canuk Coleman Manufacture.
It all came around as has been mentioned by increased Tariffs to stimulate the Australian Manufacturing Industries after the War. 2 that is.
On the 18th March 1949 a Mr Walter J Weldon, Export Manager for Coleman Canada arrived in Melbourne, Vic to access the local market due to Tarrifs.
All well and good.
Something must have came out of it because on the 29th Sept 1950 Colton Palmer etc announces
On the 1 st March 1954 C J Thomas announces
Unfortunately Colton Palmer etc falls on hard times after going through a major increase in profits and sells their manufacturing Plant.
It appears that Colton Palmer etc couldn't keep up their end of the deal or it fell through to C J Thomas.
Pretty sure that C J Thomas had the distribution rights before all this as
As can be seen the add is for 1948.
This is where a bit of speculation comes into play.
With the impending Tarriffs Coleman Canada is loosing an export market. An attempt is made with Colton Palmer etc as they have the manufacturing Plant. The deal falls through with the decline in profits, sell the Plant to keep the shareholders happy.
C J Thomas is the winner.
I am not aware that C J Thomas had a manufacturing plant but there is a continuing rumor that surfaces every time this subject comes up. Coleman Lamps were manufactured in Melbourne under License to Canada. The research evidence does not support this as there is no reference anywhere, but it may be the case.
The Austramax theory is in the same category, no evidence to support or deny the claim.
So after all that I am still none the wiser.
We still don't know who manufactured the Canuk Aussie Colemans.
Speculation will only lead you up the wrong path or creek.
Our only salvation is that " Trove " is continually digitizing newspapers and something may turn up.
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Thanks for your information. It is entirely consistent with what has turned up in my digging, and from collectors over at Classic Camp Stoves and Classic Pressure Lamps.
What would be useful is that collectors of Coleman lamps and lanterns go through their collections for any dates on Australian made Coleman lamps. That would help tie down whether the South Australian factory was the sole manufacturing site.
The first is the contents of the catalog indicate quite strongly that the Thomas-Coleman Quicklite alliance had not manufactured Coleman stoves and lamps in Australia up to the time the catalog was published. That leaves Adelaide as the likely place for manufacture at least from 1950 to 1954 when the factory closed down.
The second is that it has given me a model number (336) for this Australian made kerosene Coleman twin burner (fitted with SVEA and Optimus burners):
Thanks, and cheers
Note1: This draft is produced to get feedback and additional information about where and by whom Coleman products were manufactured in Australia. It is produced to stimulate discussion, interest, and more digging.
Comments are most welcome.
Note2: I’m not claiming credit for this research: most has been discovered before in various places. And it’s a collective effort...
Thanks to Handi Albert, HercL42D, idahostoveguy, Mackburner, Matty, Colin Mills, David Moody, Murff, OMC, snwcmpr, Shagratork, Nils Stephenson, Vikingson1, Warren, z1ulike, and others. If I’ve missed you out, let me know.
I will take responsibility for any mistakes or misrepresentation.
The “Coleman Quick-lite Co. of Australia Pty. Ltd” was Australia’s principle distributor of Coleman products. It was the vehicle for an alliance between CJ Thomas and Sons Pty Ltd (owners of Coleman Quick-lite Australia) and “The Coleman Co. Inc. USA”.
Coleman in the USA had established a factory in Toronto, Canada in 1921. It was through manufacture in this Canadian factory that Coleman were able to take advantage of the lower tariffs on imports available for trade among Commonwealth countries.
A similar company, the “Coleman Quick-lite Co. of the UK” was established in 1921, the same year the Coleman Trade mark was registered in Australia.
In 1949 “Coleman Quick-lite Co. Ltd and CJ Thomas and Sons were [?re-]registered in Australia.
It is unclear to me how long the Coleman-CJ Thomas alliance lasted (up to the 1980s?), before Coleman Australia became the supplier of Coleman products.
In the early 1950s the Coleman Quick-lite Co of Australia had major distribution centres in Sydney Melbourne and Wagga Wagga, and agents in all states of Australia.
Manufacturing of Coleman products in Australia
It is unclear whether Coleman Quick-lite Co of Australia actually manufactured (rather than assembled) Coleman products in Australia, but Coleman stoves and lamps were made in Australia, at least from 1950/1 to ?1959. The evidence for this is, especially, in the Reference Gallery of CPL and at the Coleman Collectors Forum where dated Coleman lamps are seen with the inscription:
“Made in Australia by arrangement with Coleman Lamp and Stove Co. Ltd of Canada, Proprietor of Registered Trade Mark N0.67296-Jan-14-1936”
This inscription is the same wording as found on transfers on (undated) Australian-made Coleman stoves.
The Melbourne newspaper, The Age, reported in early 1950 the Coleman Lamp and Stove Co. Ltd. of Canada announced that it was not going to build a factory in Adelaide (South Australia) because the skilled labour and materials required were in short supply, and the market was too small.
Later that year The Age reported that "Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd. of Adelaide, has obtained a tie up with the Coleman Lamp and Stove Co, Ltd., Toronto, Canada, for manufacture of a range of kerosene and petrol-burning appliances for domestic lighting and heating". The key word in this report is “manufacture”, rather than assemble or even “made”.
It appears that the Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd arrangement was not profitable and the Adelaide factory was sold in 1954 to Fauldings (chemist manufacturers) who took possession of the site in late 1954.
The Coleman arrangement with Colton, Palmer and Preston is, on the face of it, unusual as there was an existing arrangement between Coleman and CJ Thomas and Sons. The only thing that makes much sense is that CPP were manufacturing to supply to the Coleman-Thomas alliance.
This makes sense of the November 1954 newspaper report that said:
“C. J. Thomas & Son Pty., Ltd., Australian representatives of the Coleman Co. Incorporated of U.S.A. has moved to new premises at Cato Street, Auburn. Over the last five years C. J Thomas & Son has been maintaining for the Coleman company production facilities in Adelaide. These, are to be co-ordinated in Melbourne. As well as this small appliance field, which includes lighting, cooking, heating, ironing and hot water facilities, C. J. Thomas & Son has been requested to co-ordinate manufacturing in Australia of the larger, heating appliances. With the new expansion plan in mind the new premises have been obtained.”
From this last article we could assume that the Colton, Palmer and Preston arrangement was overseen by CJ Thomas and Sons; that when the Adelaide factory shut down facilities were transferred to Melbourne; and that at least some manufacture was to take place in Melbourne in the Auburn (now Hawthorn) premises of CJ Thomas.
What we don’t know, is what products were made in Adelaide from 1950 to 1954; and what products were made in Melbourne from 1954 onwards and for how long. We also don’t know whether there were any Coleman products being manufactured in Melbourne before 1954 while the Adelaide factory was in operation.
A 1950s Australian Coleman-Thomas catalogue has the words: “Products are manufactured in 5 large factories” (in Canada and USA) and that Coleman products were “ ‘marketed’ in Australia solely by CJ Thomas and Sons”.
One word of caution, at least in my mind. The term “Made in Australia” could be ambiguous – used loosely, it could mean assembled in Australia, whereas “manufacture” has a more precise meaning.
What is needed now
1. Evidence of what Coleman products were manufactured in Adelaide from 1950 to 1954.
2. Evidence of manufacture in Melbourne, where and when (Cato St?).
3. Evidence of manufacture after 1959 and before 1950.
4. Anything else.
PS. The more i look into this the more I become convinced that Austramax did not manufacture Coleman products - but I may be wrong.
I'm not sure if this helps with anything, but the speckled blue #4A irons are more than just Canadian irons with a different coloured porcelain.
The sole plates are cast with "Made in Australia", whereas the Canadian versions naturally say "Made in Canada". In addition, the through bolts fastening everything together are 1/4" x 20tpi for Australia, and #12 x 24tpi for Canada. Very distinctive.
The top plate has the basic wording as you describe for the lamps.
I'm not sure of the production span for these irons but it does appear in the 1951 catalogue. I would imagine that the soleplates would've been cast in Australia (pricey to ship from Canada,) but at a Coleman facility, or at a contract foundry?
Fascinating research and a great article! Thanks.
The stove info is very interesting. Thanks
and thanks, Scouterjan for the adds. I have the Solus one in my files somewhere.
Nils Stephenson over at Classic Pressure Lamps has dug up an 10/60 date for an Aussie 242B. Any advances on 10/60?
Yes, the most likely candidate for Coleman manufacture in Melbourne is Cato St. One of our colleagues is going to try and nail it for certain.
On pre-Canadian Coleman's in Australia, has anyone got one in their possession that was sold here?
You are right about being difficult to say it was sold in the US or Australia (pre-Canadian, that is). But sometimes (not very likely, though), something turns up in a box with a sale docket.
Your sleuthing of Trove to find adverts is also another source. Do you have an identifiable Coleman agent pre Coleman Canada?
As to the arrangement between Coleman USA and Coleman Canada and the UK, we know that that was a way for Coleman to get around the (British) Commonwealth tariff regime which favoured Commonwealth countries at the expense of, eg, the USA. How Coleman USA managed these arrangements is not clear, and from what I gather, there is not much on this aspect in the Coleman archives.
these are originals I have. They really don't say they were made in the UK but it gives a good timeline as to when they were for sale in the UK
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"I'm a man, but I can Change, if I have to, I guess." - Red Green
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"I'm a man, but I can Change, if I have to, I guess." - Red Green
So are the Australian-made Coleman stoves.
Therefore, the Australian-made Coleman products that we can date with certainty after 1950 still carry the older Coleman Company name.
Not the stoves. The lanterns have the date, but the stoves do not. Some stoves can be approximately dated by their appearance in catalogues, but that is unreliable.
In the Australian context it is even more unreliable because both Coleman Canada and Coleman in Australia used tooling that was no longer being used in the USA - so lanterns and stoves that had gone out of production in the US were still appearing in Australia and Canada as new stoves or lanterns.
My point in the above post was simply that the stampings on the iron do not necessarily equate to a pre-1950 manufacture in Australia as they are consistent with the stampings on known products after 1950 (made in Adelaide and most likely, Cato St Melbourne).
What you ask for in your above post, makes no difference to the information contained in this thread so far.
I'm not hiding anything - everything I know has been posted here or on CSS or CPL.
I may have a little bit of information about stove models: I will post tomorrow, when I can get to the shed.
If, this table, I have taken from another topic is correct, does that mean the above stove iron that was made in Australia, was made prior to 1945? That's how I read it, this iron must have been made in 1945 or prior.
Is that correct?"
Coleman Logo Information
before 1913- Hydro Carbon light Co
1913-1925: The Coleman Lamp Company
1925-1928: The Coleman Lamp & Stove Co
1928-1945: The Coleman Lamp and Stove Company
1945- Today: The Coleman Company Inc.
Matty. I think the wording of the Coleman Company reference on the Australian made Coleman lanterns and this blue speckled 4A iron is important. Especially the wording " Made in Australia By arrangement with Coleman Lamp & Stove Co Ltd." It may well be that the agreement the Australian manufacturers made with Coleman Canada may have been made well before production finally got underway in Australia. With the stamping,Coleman Lamp & Stove Co. on Australian made lanterns and Mike's 4A iron, that agreement was made prior to 1928, as per your logo information.
The earliest known production date,(so far), for the oz made Coleman lanterns is 1950. That is 22 years after the agreement with Coleman Canada. Maybe there was no need to make a new agreement with Coleman Canada as they were happy with the old agreement, and so the old Coleman name was stamped on the item. It may be that simple.
It would be good if you could find evidence of how far back any Australian manufacturers may have been talking to Coleman Canada regarding making their products in Australia.
There are lots of Coleman 242 series lanterns that have been found in Australia from the early 1930's. I have quite a few, and no doubt other collectors here have as well. They have all been made in Canada or the USA, or at least that is what is stamped on the founts. The earliest one stamped made in Australia that has emerged from Tony's work on this is 1950. There may be earlier ones, but to my knowledge, no one has yet come forward with one. Could Coleman have made ones here earlier than 1950? Sure, quite possible, but where is the hard evidence of an actual lantern or documents, or newspaper articles/advertising, catalogues ect. to prove it.
I suspect that the Coleman irons and stoves may have been made prior to 1950 but those items were not date stamped. Quite possible lanterns were as well, maybe were made here with imported Coleman founts. We just don't know yet, but I'm sure evidence will turn up eventually.