Kerosene Lantern

Kerosene Lantern Review

Like a kid on Christmas morning, I just opened a box containing a W.T. Kirkman No 2 Champion Kerosene Lantern.

Just to set the stage, I’ve never used a Kerosene Lantern or Lamp in my life. After talking to a mentor of mine about emergency lighting, I called W. T. Kirkman and spoke to Dottie. She was quite helpful, patiently answering my newbie questions. I explained that I was new to Kerosene lanterns and lamps but was looking for the most rugged unit for homestead use. She suggested the No. 2 Champion with it’s sturdy globe and 7/8″ wide wick for additional brightness. I also ordered a couple of options including the post mounting, the large 12″ hooded reflector, and a 12″ iron wall hanger.

Warning Label

Warning Label

Carefully Packaged

Carefully Packaged

Packaging

The package was shipped the day I placed my order and I received a UPS tracking number via email. When it arrived, I saw that it had a nice large red “Handle With Care, Glass” label on the top of the box. The package was in good shape so I cut the packing tape and started unboxing my order. The items were surrounded by crumpled newspaper with each item individually wrapped in plastic or bubble wrap (see photos). Upon close inspection, everything had arrived in excellent condition. The galvanized parts all looked much heavier than the “cheap” lanterns I had seen at the local discount stores. Unfortunately, the next thing I noticed was the a small plastic funnel and instruction sheet were packed inside the glass globe. Again having no experience with this type of lantern, my first challenge was figuring out how to remove the globe in order to access the funnel and instructions.

Instruction Sheet and Plastic Funnel Inside Globe

Instruction Sheet and Plastic Funnel Inside Globe

Removing the Globe

I gently pulled the wire cage away from globe but quickly realized that wasn’t going to free the glass globe. Next, I gently pulled up on the top exhaust hood of the lantern and felt it was spring loaded. I continued to pull up on the hood until the glass globe was freed. I removed the small plastic funnel and tiny instruction sheet.

Some Assembly Required

To call the instruction sheet tiny is not an exaggeration. The instructions listed only three steps: Step 1, Attach the Garden Post Adaptor to the bottom of the lamp (if desired),  Step 2, Install the bail (handle) onto the lantern, and finally Step 3, how to light the lamp. I was hoping for more information on properly preparing the wick, fueling the lamp, and lighting and adjusting the wick. I also wished they had included a maintenance and care guide.

I reinstalled the globe, installed the bail (wire handle), and slid the optional 12″ reflector hood down over the bail. My next question, how far down the lantern should the reflector hood be placed? I had to refer to the photos on the company’s website in order to determine the correct position, right below the attachment points for the bail.

 

Some Assembly Required

Some Assembly Required

 

Optional 12" Reflector Hood (left), Standard Reflector (right)

Optional 12" Reflector Hood (left), Standard Reflector (right)

 

Fully Assembled Lantern

Fully Assembled Lantern

Ready For Fuel

The large reflector hood looked like it might be in the way as I attempted to pour in the fuel so I removed it before filling. The “tiny” instructions do clearly state that only common lamp oil or Kerosene should be used in this device. I’ve heard conflicting stories about how much K1 grade Kerosene smells when used indoors so I chose to start with a Kerosene substitute called Klean-Heat. A 120 fluid ounce bottle cost $9.77 at Home Depot.

Filling the lantern was a bit of a challenge from the nearly gallon jug even using the small funnel provided with the lantern. I would definitely suggest you either fill the lamp outdoors or at least use a cookie sheet or other drip pan under the lamp in case you spill some fuel. I was told you should never fuel the lamp above 85% of capacity as the fuel could leak from the lamp. The lantern does have a nice filler cap with a built in rubber gasket which provides a tight seal.

Filling Lantern using Small Plastic Funnel

Filling Lantern using Small Plastic Funnel

Filler Cap with Rubber Gasket

Filler Cap with Rubber Gasket

Let’s Light This Puppy

The instructions specified that you wait at least five minutes to allow enough time for the wick to soak up the fuel. Next, I used the lever found on the right side of the lantern to lift the globe, allowing access to the wick. I adjusted the wick height to about 1/16″ of an inch above the flame plate and used a butane lighter to light the wick.

Lighting Lantern with Butane Lighter

Lighting Lantern with Butane Lighter

One short puff of soot shot from the wick but quickly disappeared as I adjusted its height. I did not trim the wick before lighting the lamp for the first time and this may be the reason the flame was a bit misshaped . The light from the lantern was clean and even with absolutely no odor. I first tried the lantern with the optional 12″ reflector to see if it helped brighten the magazine I had placed on the table in front of me. I honestly didn’t notice any increase in the brightness using the reflector. It did help keep the light out of my eyes and eliminated some of the shadowing I experienced without the reflector hood in place.

Lantern in Use

Lantern in Use

It was a particular windy night (winds gusting to 45 MPH) here in Kansas so I couldn’t resist testing the lantern outside. As I stepped out of the house, a huge gust of wind blew against the lantern causing the flame to flicker but coming nowhere close to extinguishing the wick. That was very impressive.

Observations & Summary

Here are a few of my initial observations:

PROS

  • The lantern was well packed and arrived in perfect condition
  • The lantern is made in China but the overall workmanship is acceptable
  • The design made for a very stable lamp with superior resistance to wind
  • The galvanized finish should prevent rust
  • 7/8″ wick with an average 12-15 candle power output
  • 31 ounce fuel tank allows for 27 hours of operation
  • The lantern was easy to fuel with included plastic fuel funnel
  • There was no noticeable odor when using the Klean-Heat Kerosene substitute indoors

CONS

  • The instructions were bare-bones
  • The top exhaust hood looks a bit bent on my lantern
  • The lever used to lift the globe is a bit stiff (the spring is too tight)
  • The cost is a bit higher than a comprable Dietz Blizzard Lantern
  • The optional 12″ reflector was a bit pricey and didn’t increase the amount of light delivered to the desktop

I believe the W. T. Kirkman No. 2 Champion Lantern is a solid value and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quality Kerosene Lantern. I’m not sure the optional 12″ reflector is worth the extra $30.00 (it actually costs more than the lamp itself). I also ordered an optional 12″ Black Iron Amish Wall Hook which was an excellent value at only $4.95. I will be testing the lantern using K1 Kerosene in the near future and will report the results of that test in a later update.

In addition, I’ll be ordering a Dietz #80 (Blizzard) Lantern and we’ll do a “Product Shootout” comparing these two products.

12" Black Iron Wall Hook

12" Black Iron Wall Hook

Specifications & Cost

  •  15″ Height, (Bail Up Height 20 1/2″)
  • Average 12-14 Candle Power,(Maximum 20 c.p.)
  • 7/8″ Wick
  • 31 oz. Fount Capacity, 27 Hour Burning Time
  • Approx. Thermal Output: 1400 BTU per Hour
  • Operates on Average at 6 Cents per Hour worth of Lamp Oil.
  • Packed One Dozen per Case (Also Sold Individually)
  • Imported from China
  • Wicked and ready to add oil
  • Includes Handy Funnel for Oiling
Suggested Retail Price: $24.95
For more information about this and other lanterns and lamps, visit: http://www.lanternnet.com

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