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Old 07-18-2012, 12:10 AM   #1
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1954 22' Safari
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propane light fixture???

I'm in the process of restoring our 54 Airstream Safari and have discovered what appears to be a propane light fixture mounted on the dinette wall (other side of wall is the "bathroom"). It clearly looks original, has a copper propant line feeding it, and has a pull down lever for a lightable pilot.
ANyone ever see these or have experience with them? ANswers would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:01 AM   #2
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Google "gas lights" or "propane lights" and you will see they are still even made.
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:23 AM   #3
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We need a mantle for ours, but I want to use it, does airstream still equip trailers with them?
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:31 AM   #4
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Just got the lantern running in my '76. Don't know if it's dangerous, or bad for you health or anything.... But it's very cool. It also heats the trailer pretty good too!
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Old 07-18-2012, 01:53 AM   #5
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Coleman lantern mantles work well; available at WalMart. Just leave a window or two open, like you would for the stove.
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Old 07-18-2012, 04:48 AM   #6
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I have two lanterns and both lite. However, when I turn to valve to feed more gas to it, it starts burning a 'large' yellow flame and smokes up the fixture components. I quickly turn it back down to barely a simmer. I don't want to burn my trailer down! I don't know what the problem is, both lamps do this.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #7
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The gas lights were made by Humphery and are similar to the ones now made by Paulin, which sometimes are sold with the "Mr. Heater" brand. Most parts interchange, including mantles. There are several online sources. The Coleman mantles don't really fit and will give poor results.

I don't have a gas light in either my trailer or my pickup camper but had one in my house for many years and have used them in nonelectric houses and cabins before that.

Like many other trailer manufacturers, Airstream offered them as an option, and they were common up through the 1960s.

During this era battery charging was a major problem. The converters didn't charge the battery from shore power up until the 1970s, and the charge line from the tow vehicle can't have done much because the 12 volt generators and early alternators and their control systems were barely sufficient for the cars alone. It's hard enough getting a charge line to work properly even on a modern truck.

In that era the gas lights were a reliable alternative to battery powered lighting during spring and fall stays at non-electric locations.

They still work but with today's technology there are better alternatives for practical use.

litlgeezer the problem with the yellow flame is caused by some sort of blockage in the venturi or burner nose. Usually it's a spider web. You can clean it out with compressed air or a suitable sized brush or a thin rag. You'll need a new mantle once your done.

The mantles contain thorium which is toxic if ingested, due to its radioactivity.
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Old 07-18-2012, 11:48 AM   #8
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"I have two lanterns and both lite. However, when I turn to valve to feed more gas to it, it starts burning a 'large' yellow flame and smokes up the fixture components. I quickly turn it back down to barely a simmer. I don't want to burn my trailer down! I don't know what the problem is, both lamps do this."

Too much gas, too little air. since both lamps do it, I would suspect that your gas pressure is too high.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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Our '65 Caravel has a Humphery light. We use it often in the winter, especially when dry camped at Quartzsite. It provides light, as well as enough heat to keep the chill out of our small trailer.

We had the same light on our Houseboat. Nice for cool evenings on the Sacramento Delta. We used that light for 25 years and had to replace the mantel only a few times.

Each time you light the lamp, look inside the globe from the bottom and check to see that the mantel is all there. Any hole in the side of the mantel can turn that area into a blow torch, overheating the globe and may cause it to crack. I learned this the hard way, breaking a very nice hobnail globe.
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Old 07-18-2012, 06:55 PM   #10
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The lamp we had in an old SOB had a fuel/air adjustment ring. I'd look for something that adjusts the fuel/air mixture somewhere on the lamp (might be hidden on the back side or under a cover).

Also, Coleman mantles come in different sizes; or there are lots of other brands and sizes to choose from at Cabela's and other outdoor suppliers that carry camping stoves, lanterns and backpacking accessories.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:22 AM   #11
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I have removed both lanterns and cleaned the venturi jets as you suggested and purchased appropriate mantles, however the problem was still there. Thank you for your recommendation.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:51 AM   #12
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litlgeezer

It is not the jets themselves but the metal tube that extends from the jet to the burner nose that typically becomes blocked.

If you're sure they're clean then the other possibility is that you may have a jet for natural gas instead of propane, or it may have been damaged if someone tried to clean it with a wire. In either case, new jets are available for a few dollars.
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