WWII Pocket Stoves

While I was looking for an image for yesterday’s post on camp stoves, I came across this photo of WWII GI’s using a specially made “Pocket Stove” that was designed and manufactured for soldiers by Coleman. And I learned this interesting historical tidbit from the Coleman’s site:

“Less than twenty years later, World War II swept across the globe. Like many companies, The Coleman Company did its part to support the war effort. Allied munitions and air forces contained parts manufactured in Kansas by The Coleman Company. In June of 1942 the Army Quartermaster Corps issued an urgent request to the Coleman Company. Field troops were in dire need of a compact stove that could operate within a wide range of conditions in multiple theaters, weighed less than five pounds, could be no larger than a quart bottle of milk, and could burn any kind of fuel. And, the U.S. Army wanted 5,000 of the stoves delivered in sixty days.

Work commenced immediately to design and manufacture a stove that met the Army’s strict specifications. The end product far exceeded anything that the Army had requested: the stove could work at 60 degrees below and up to 150 degrees above Fahrenheit; it could burn all kinds of fuel; it weighed a mere three and one-half pounds; and it was smaller than a quart bottle of milk. The first order for 5,000 units was flown to U.S. forces involved in Operation Torch, an allied invasion of North Africa in 1942. World War II journalist Ernie Pyle devoted 15 news articles to the Coleman® pocket stove and considered it one of the two most important pieces of noncombat equipment in the war effort, the other being the Jeep.”

Via A Continuous Lean

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

James Bonine March 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

I have one of those! It was given to me, and it works!!

Phillip March 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

Wish I had one! Where can I get one?

Douglas Morgan March 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

I think it’s accurate to say that this country would be a very different place if not for the Coleman company.

Ben April 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm

This was a product built by real men for real men and we would be hard pressed to find something built today of equal quality so it may be worth tracking down a vintage model.

Don April 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

And it was not made in China and sold at WalMart. This country has the talent, if only we would use it. Give the other Colman’s a chance. I have 1 of these stoves and it is the best.

Amc June 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Being compared to the jeep? That’s high praise. As a soldier of the modern age, I can say that the ability to efficiently cook my own food is a great advantage. MRE’s aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

Joe July 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I think my friend got a stove a lot like that for primitive camping and it has saved us many times. Coleman is a top notch but inexpensive outdoor equipment company

doug December 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm

The stove in the picture is an M-1941. There is a civilian model numbered 520. Both are available on ebay on a regular basis. After the war Coleman modified it somewhat and sold it as the 530. Among other changes, the 530 is plated, and although only produced for a couple years after the war it is often confusingly called the G.I. stove. It looks great though.

Coleman and several other companies also produced a model M1942 which was a lighter more compact version. It is quite different looking but also a nice little stove.

All these stoves run best on Coleman fuel or similar camp stove fuels. They can be run on gasoline but that will eventually do more damage. Running them on heavier fuels like diesel and kerosene would be difficult (and dirty) but it might work for a little while if you preheated them well. In some ways the M1941 (&530) was better than the M1942 and the M1950 which replaced the M1942. The later two stoves used a simplified pump design, but in doing so eliminated the redundant safety features that Coleman used in most all its stoves and lanterns. The M1942 and M1950 stoves can and will leak at the pump check valve after time and this is quite disturbing when the stove is running.

clark October 19, 2014 at 2:39 am

I collect and restore M-520 & M-42 stoves from WWII. I gave one to my son who deployed to Iraq with it in 2005. His Soldiers were amazed by the stove and in one COP , it was the only source to heat water.

Rick Baumgartner April 14, 2015 at 2:42 pm

This is for Clark who collects and restores M1941 / M520 Coleman cooking stoves:

Five days ago (April 9, 2015) I bought one of these and its canister in an Ohio antique mall. Would like to have it restored and returned to working condition, but don’t know how to go about it. Do you do such restorations? And if so, could you email me particulars? I live in West Virginia. Thanks much. Rick [email protected]

Derek May May 10, 2015 at 3:35 pm

looking to replace the seals on a GI pocket stove have the original hand book that came with the stove is there any type of service kit available ? THANKS derek May Ireland

Dave October 29, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Clark, I’ve got one of these pocket stoves & am looking for repair. I was told the guards used these & the generators fail. Not my long suit. Let me know if you can help. Matches photos of Aliddin mfg dated 1945 on the Al case.

Robert January 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm

I would like some information on your military pocket stoves also any other survival products you may carry sincerely Robert Vaughn

Russell February 8, 2016 at 10:06 am

I use my Coleman 530 all the time. Excellent for winter picnics. They are not that hard to rebuild and there are lots of good tutorials out there. Try this one: https://www.oldcolemanparts.com/resources/man.php

There is a guy named Sefa, inTurkey, who makes leather pump cups (4 for under $10), but you’ll have to find him yourself.

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I learned this interesting historical tidbit from the Coleman’s site. (y)

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