Prepper Book Festival 10: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns (The Non-Electric Lighting Series)

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
Prepper Book Festival 10: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns (The Non-Electric Lighting Series)

The author of this next book needs little introduction since he has been a contributor to the Prepper Book Festivals almost since the beginning.

Ron Brown, author of Kerosene Pressure Lanterns is once again sharing his wisdom relative to non-electric lighting sources.  This particular book covers a wide range of topics relative to pressure lamps: theory, Coleman’s, Petromax (as a type and as a brand), safety, and, just to keep things interesting, the Aladdin Lamp which is not a pressure lamp at all but it does burn kerosene!

Kerosene Pressure Lanterns | Backdoor Survival

Is your head spinning yet?  If it is, or you just want to learn more, read the interview with Ron then enter the giveaway to win one of five copies that are up for grabs in Prepper Book Festival 10: The Best New Books to Help You Prepare!

Special note:  Even if you are not interested in Kerosene Pressure Lanterns, be sure to read the interview.  Ron shares some very wise prepping wisdom.  Very wise, indeed.

An Interview with Ron Brown, Author of Book 6: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns

One question on everyone’s mind is what they would do if a disaster or even a collapse occurred in their own back yard. If that happened to you, would you bug-in or bug-out and why?

My natural inclination is to bug in, to hunker down in-place. That’s where my supplies are, where my friends are, where I feel the most secure.

On the other hand, last spring we almost had to evacuate the house because of flooding. The car was packed. I sat up with a 1000-lumen flashlight most of the night watching the water rise in the back field. It was a close call.

So I guess the best advice is simply, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” There are any number of reasons why a person may be forced to get outta Dodge.

Even though I don’t want to leave, I do feel the need to prep for that eventuality. In our garage, therefore, lined up against the wall, are boxes that can be tossed in the car on a moment’s notice. Food, clothes, blankets, gear. Plus enough gasoline to top off the tank. Plus a road atlas. You do remember them, right? Maps printed on paper? From olden times? Before GPS?

The stockpile in the garage does not include drinking water because, in New York State, it would freeze in the winter. So in the basement are some cartons of store-bought drinking water in sealed bottles. They’re not touched for day-to-day use.

We have a fireproof, waterproof mini safe in which we keep important papers (e.g. passports), cash, and an external hard drive for computer backup. The safe and the water are the only things we must get from inside the house. All else sets beside the car, ready to go 24×7. (Medicine is equally important but is a case-by-case individual affair.)

Having bug-out preps in place gives me some peace of mind but really, in my heart of hearts, I want to bug in, not out. THIS is where I have land and tools and a garden spot prepared. A solid house with a good roof. This is where I could, if push came to shove, live a sustainable, independent, secure life for many years. This is home.

If you did decide to hunker down and bug-in, what items would you include for comfort? Or would you?

Comfort food, you say. Hmm. Chocolate, whiskey, and a stack of Playboy magazines. I mean, what else is there?

No doubt I just now revealed great cultural sensitivity and depth of character, eh?

Home defense and protection from the bad guys is a big deal. That said, not everyone is prepared or even qualified to use firearms. What do you recommend in that case?

This is a powerful question. Survivalist articles all seem to be written from a macho-man point of view. But how about the kid in the wheelchair? The blind grandfather? The pregnant wife in her last trimester? They deserve to live, no?

There’s an old pro-camouflage adage to the effect that, “They can’t shoot you if they can’t see you.” Fair point.

Many moons ago, attending college, I had a room off-campus. Each day I walked past a Mama-Papa grocery story on the corner. An old man, living upstairs over the store, was robbed of his coin collection.

I thought of it every time I walked past the store. I realized it had to be an inside job. The only person who could steal those coins was someone who knew the coins existed. There’s a message in there for anyone who boasts about their preps to family and friends.

“Loose lips sink ships.”

For the people who promote guns, please note that one discharge of a firearm will change your life forever (as well as the lives of your entire family).

No matter who’s right or who’s wrong, pull the trigger just once and it is you who will end up in court; you who will end up in police custody. It doesn’t require a thousand rounds of ammo to put you in hot water. One warning shot aimed at the sky can start you down a very slippery slope. Just sayin’.

But there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Don’t put yourself in a compromising situation (like walking the streets on the wrong side of town at 3:00 AM). Don’t present yourself as a tempting target, a victim waiting to happen. Take some self-defense or karate classes. Have a dog. Or the tape recording of a dog barking? Install a surveillance camera. Or a fake surveillance camera?

If yours is the only house in the neighborhood with bars on the windows, you’ll come across as paranoid. Or, perhaps, ‘What treasure do they have stashed in there that needs all that protection?’ In that case the bars become bait, not protection. On the other hand, if yours is the only house on the street WITHOUT bars on the windows, you come across as stupid, easy pickin’s.

Join a neighborhood watch group. Or any group. Rod-and-gun club, square dance club, church group. Friends look out for each other. Be kind to people, generous. Share with others. Take care of your neighbors. In return, they’ll look out for you. Repeat after me: “You’re only as strong as your friends are.” Again: “You’re only as strong as your friends are.”

These days, it seems as though a new book about survival or preparedness is released daily. How is your book different from the others and why should we read it?

Survival books and blogs and on-line forums are chockablock full of bogus information. A reader of one of my books commented, “Good but save a penny and Google it instead . . . Nothing you can’t find online, my suggestion is skip it and search YouTube and wiki DIY.”

And he’s right. Unfortunately, every bit of good information on Google or YouTube comes sandwiched with ten bits of bad information. And how do you sort out the pepper from the fly specks? Crunch time is NOT the time to discover your Coleman doesn’t run on kerosene as you always believed.

How about this one? In 2014, I wrote a series of propane articles for Backdoor Survival that replaced an earlier series. One of the reader’s comments from the preceding series was that, on one-pound propane cylinders (the kind used on camping lanterns), the wraparound paper label should be removed else moisture would be trapped beneath the paper and promote rusting.

Sounded like a good tip. Logical. Believable. And false.

I went to work in Canada for a couple of years and stored half a dozen propane one-pounders in a tin shed behind my house for the duration. When I returned from Canada, the shoulders on the propane cylinders were all rusted, all corroded. But UNDER the paper label, both paint and metal were perfect. Perfect. What part of ‘armchair science’ don’t you understand?

Rusted top of Propane Cylinder| Backdoor Survival

Survival books are compiled by copyists. Nobody has enough time for first-hand research on everything – growing food and measuring radiation and childbirth. Not to mention butchering, first aid, cabin construction, cooking recipes, ammo reloading, sewing, auto repair, shortwave radio, home canning, and ice fishing.

So well-intended people copy over what other well-intended people copied over before them. And some of it is wrong. But after enough trips through the Xerox machine, bad information morphs into accepted fact.

How are my books different? I do my homework. At least I try.

Galen Lehman has expressed an interest in stocking my books. Galen is President of Lehman’s, the online (and offline) catalog store. In a recent email (introducing me as well as handing me off to one of his buyers) Galen said, “Ron Brown publishes a series of books on non-electric lighting.  They are technically astute, very readable and well-written. I would like to see them on our website . . . No one has written anything as in-depth as he has.” [// ]

Hey! Outa sight. He did my bragging for me.

What is your favorite survival, disaster, or post-apocalyptic film or TV show?

Don’t have one. The things we really need to fear never appear on those shows. Do you know someone who is bi-polar? Or schizophrenic? They make pretty scary roommates. A few days after TSHTF and the meds run out . . . and you have to ride the elevator with one of those guys . . . Katy, bar the door.

Survivalist movies show vegetable gardens with chickens scratching in the dirt. Picturesque for sure. But there won’t be any chickens.

We’ve done our level best to remove ‘broodiness’ from poultry. It takes three weeks for mama hen to hatch out a chick from an egg. What a waste. She could have laid 21 eggs in those 21 days. For the past hundred years we’ve employed electric heaters for hatching and carefully selected the next generation of hens from those who never wanted to set on a nest anyway.

So when TSHTF, no electricity equals no chicks. No longer will the Delmarva Peninsula (where Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia come together near Chesapeake Bay) produce a billion pounds of chicken meat a year.

Well, it’s not a billion pounds. That was a few years ago. It’s a lot more than that today. BTW, did you ever see a cooking recipe that called for eggs? There ain’t gonna be no eggs. Maybe you can substitute applesauce.

And . . . are your shots up to date? Are you prepared for cholera, rabies, and typhoid fever? Don’t break your eyeglasses. Don’t run out of toothache drops. There will always be unwanted babies and abortions. Always. And what butcher will perform that procedure, pray tell?

You will for sure find yourself out in the vegetable garden for hours at a time, a place wherein you’ve never lingered before. Or standing on the squishy edge of a pond, trying to get some water in your bucket or attempting to catch a fish. But you won’t be alone. You’ll have swarms of mosquitos for company. At that point, what will you be willing to pay for some REALLY GOOD bug spray? Not the cheap stuff on sale. Not the homemade stuff. Something that WORKS.

Did you ever see any of this is on TV or in the movies? Did you ever see bug spray on a list of 20 top barter items? I suspect there are preppers around who WANT the stuff to hit the fan. They’re tired of being underdog. They wanna be top dog for a change. And to them I say, “Be careful what you wish for. It ain’t gonna be like you see on TV.”

It is said that everyone has a book inside them. What advice do you have for the budding author?

My first job out of college was for a man whose son was New York State spelling champ. The guy was hell on wheels for proper grammar and spelling. Later on I worked for a man who was equally compulsive about number accuracy. Turn in a report that didn’t add down and across properly and you could expect him to be standing by your desk, tapping his foot, when you returned from lunch.

I worked for each of these men several years. And I hated both of them. But they pounded skills into me, discipline into me, that has paid off again and again and again. So tough-love piece of advice #1: If you want to be a writer, learn the basics (verb tense, punctuation, spelling). Can you, at this very moment, name the parts of speech? That’s Eighth Grade stuff. If not, if you’re not willing to study and learn the fundamentals of English grammar, then you’re wasting your time.

#2. Join a writers club. There will be a lot of brain cells in that room. Shut up and listen. Don’t argue or run your mouth or make excuses. Shut. Up. And. Listen.

#3. Self-publish something on Kindle. It’s a great learning experience. And include an ‘active’ Table of Contents. That’s what allows the reader to navigate an eBook. Don’t know how to do it? Learn. If you don’t have an ‘active’ Table of Contents then your reader must navigate to a specific short story in the middle of the book via 350 individual page-clicks.

#4. You can easily publish a book in both formats. Later, if something is wrong with the eBook, you can remove it. A few keystrokes and it’s gone. But the paperback you cannot kill. There will always be secondhand copies for sale (or there might be) and will not allow you to totally kill it EVER. Not today. Not next year. Not in this lifetime. Did you know that? Oopsie.

You’ve now written six books on emergency lighting in addition to the 2000-hour flashlight book. What got you started on this theme, this genre? And how long have you been at it? And how many more books will there be in The Non-Electric Lighting Series?

My interest began with the blackout of 2003 across the Northeast United States. I’d just started work in Toronto. The company put us up in a fancy apartment for a couple of months (maid service, pool, all that stuff) and two weeks later the lights went out. We were NOT prepared. Not in any way, shape, or form.

So when I retired in 2005, emergency lighting became a hobby. (That sounds better than obsession, eh?) That means I’ve been at it ten years. It seems like every closet and shelf in the basement is loaded with lamps and lanterns and candlesticks and flashlights. No. It doesn’t just “seem like.” Every closet and shelf in the basement truly IS loaded with lamps and lanterns and candlesticks and flashlights.

How many more lighting books? At least two. One on propane and one on alcohol-fueled mantle lamps. In World War II Europe there were many restrictions on petroleum fuels. As a consequence, farmers made what was essentially moonshine whiskey and used it as fuel in mantle lanterns. I want to revisit that technology and make sure it’s not forgotten.

On the listing for The NEW 2000-Hour Flashlight, one reader commented: “I live in South Florida and wish I had had this information when after Hurricane Wilma we were 3 weeks without electricity!”

Such a comment makes me feel both good and bad at the same time. Good because I know there’s a legitimate need for what I’m doing.

But also sad because I know that for every person I’ve helped there are a hundred or a thousand others stumbling around in the dark.

Wow. That’s an upbeat ending, yes?


The Giveaway

Ron has reserved five copies of the print version of Book 6: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns for this Book Festival Giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

Before closing, in the foreword to Kerosene Pressure Lamps I wrote:

It has it dawned on me that what Ron Brown is doing throughout his entire Non-Electric Lighting Series is documenting knowledge from yesteryear that might otherwise be forgotten. To take things one step further, this is knowledge that may be needed down the road if our reliance on electricity becomes compromised. It could happen, you know.

For that reason, I think it would be wise to have this set of books tucked away in your reference library. One thing for certain is that they are priced right – even downright cheap. As I like to say, knowledge is power and the information in this book, as well as the others in the series, is powerful stuff.

Given the “not if, but when” likelihood of an EMP or cyber-attack on our power grid, it seems to prudent that we all learn as much as we can about non-electric lighting.  I am not saying it is going to happen but we could be in the dark for a long, long time.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Spotlight:  Book 6: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns (The Non-Electric Lighting Series)

Lanterns that use mantles produce light on par with electric lights. And KEROSENE mantle lanterns have an advantage over lamps that use Coleman fuel. Kerosene is more generic, more widely available.

The book has four main sections:

(1) It describes six different Coleman models, old and new, made specifically for kerosene. Collectors’ items (expensive) and orphans (no spare parts) are ignored. The emphasis is on practical, day-to-day lighting.

(2) It gives the specifics on converting nine different Coleman gas lanterns to kerosene (what generator to use, etc.).

(3) It explains Petromax lanterns, a pre-World War II German design. World-wide, there are more Petromax lanterns (and Petromax clones) in existence than Coleman.

(4) And it explains Aladdin lamps, kerosene lamps that use a mantle but are not pressurized. Aladdins have been around over a hundred years and a new model is on the verge of being introduced – the first new model in 46 years!

And – oh yes! – this book names eleven different lantern models that, given the right generator-mantle combo, will burn diesel fuel. That alone is worth the price of admission!

If you picture yourself being forced to live off-grid for an extended period of time, then THIS is the book you need. You don’t have to cook supper or fix the car or deliver a baby by the light of a candle. You can have light equivalent to a 50 or 100 or 200 or 300-watt electric bulb. Pressurized kerosene lanterns come from another day and age but are known, established, reliable technology. This book is not artsy-fartsy. It’s nitty-gritty.

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook print version is available.

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


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56 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 10: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns (The Non-Electric Lighting Series)”

  1. Just wanted to Thank you Gaye. Hope my reply got thru to you OK, Our PC has been acting up but said my reply was sent yesterday.
    Thank you again for all the great information you have here.
    Have a safe and prosperous Holiday and New Year.

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