How to Identify Vintage Lantern Fuel Caps

How to Identify Vintage Lantern Fuel Caps

A customer from Lugarno, New South Wales, Australia asked the following question:

“Gidday Mate,

I've got a couple of milspec lanterns and couple of others. Will the number 3 gasket fit all of the lanterns I have and stoves as well?”

Great question. To answer your question, we’ll run through the three fuel caps you will encounter most commonly. I took a few pictures that I think will help answer that question. For simplicity’s sake, I will refer to gasoline lamps, camping lanterns, camp stoves, and heaters as “GPAs” (gas pressure appliances) for the rest of this post.

“Small Three-Piece” Fuel Caps

The first GPA fuel cap you may encounter, is the “small three-piece” fuel cap. This fuel cap is found on Coleman 242 series lanterns and the Coleman 500 stove. Coleman clothes irons use a fuel cap that is physically the same size as the “small three-piece” fuel cap (and uses the same gasket as the 242 series lantern), but the clothes iron fuel cap has a fitting to accept a handheld air pump.

Coleman Fuel Caps

The take away: If the fuel cap on your GPA has a machine screw on top, measures about ¾” in diameter, and came off of a Coleman 242 series lantern or the Coleman 500 stove (Not the 500a or any later stove!), then you need a Basnett’s No. 1 Cap Seal.

“Large Three-Piece” Fuel Caps

The second GPA fuel cap and one of the two most common filler caps, is the “large three-piece” fuel cap. This is the fuel cap that you will find on most Coleman products from the late 1930s to about 1970. Keep in mind, this cap can swap with the No. 3  fuel cap below, so look at the pictures to determine which fuel cap you have. The large three-piece cap can be found on other makers’ devices as well. American Gas Machine Co. and Military lanterns used a cap that was very similar to, and will swap with, the large three-piece fuel cap.

The take away: If the fuel cap on your GPA has a machine screw on top, measures approximately 1” in diameter, and came off a Coleman or Military lantern from the late 1930s to about 1970, then you’ve got a large three-piece fuel cap and need a Basnett’s No. 2 Cap Seal.

One-Piece Fuel Caps

The last GPA fuel cap we’ll discuss in this post is the one-piece fuel cap. It is found on Coleman devices from approximately 1970 to present. You’ll also find it on camp stoves and lanterns made for Sears, and Military “Mil-Spec” lanterns as well. This cap is easy to spot because, as you can see in the photo, the top of the cap is smooth. There is no inner-disc to hold the gasket in the cap. The seal is installed at the factory and is not intended to be a replaceable item although we have found a way around that. If you decide to replace the seal in a one-piece fuel cap, you should check out our video on one-piece filler cap seal replacement.

The take away:

If your old camping lantern or stove was made after about 1970 (or is an older device with a newer, replacement fuel cap) then you have a GPA with a one-piece fuel cap and you need a Basnett’s No. 3 Cap Seal.

We get this question a lot, so I hope it will help people get their old camp stoves and lanterns going again. If you have a question, feel free to send it our way. We love to talk lantern.

Enoch Basnett



Hey thanks. I was really trying to find the actual part name.

Travis Johnson

As a newer collector this really helped. Thanks.

Warren Bones Dalrymple

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