Behind the Scenes: Special Edition Candle Lantern


“The candle lantern was the first product we designed from start to finish because we needed a reliable light that could last and could fit in a pack without taking up too much room.”

We started back in ‘71, right here in Seattle, manufacturing products for outdoor adventurers just when the industry was starting. We were all just a bunch of misfit outdoor enthusiasts & tinkerers that were in the shop at night making parts to go out and use that upcoming weekend. Whether it’s wrenching on bikes, or sewing up a bag prototype, there’s something so gratifying about making something with your hands that’s beautiful and useful.

The Original Candle Lantern

TheOriginal Candle Lantern is just the…the ‘Original’, it’s our first product. We still manufacture these lanterns the same way we have been, in the US for the last 44 years. Although this product remains unchanged, it is still as relevant, useful and beautiful today as it was back then.

The Special Edition Candle Lantern

We wanted to celebrate the heritage of our brand and the Original Candle Lantern, and figured there was no better way of doing that than by making a Limited Edition Candle Lantern. We wanted to show off the hand-crafted nature of the work we do, and emphasize the simple, clean, useful design.

When we first started making concepts, we looked into the UCO archive and pulled out old UCO Candle Lanterns that we had made over the years. We found all sorts of cool and interesting products. The two that really stood out were one with a worn finish, and another that was a full brass lantern in a hand-stitched leather bag. We used this as the inspiration for what became our final concept. The whole process was a lot of fun, as we really got hands-on in making prototypes of the leather sleeve, and mixing and matching different components to physically see how this would turn out.

The Special Edition Candle Lantern

We focused on fit and finish, bringing some special processes to the table…which speaks to our roots in manufacturing.

  • The lantern coating is a special 2-step powder coating process, which has actual metallic brass flakes in the paint.
  • Once the paint is cured, we tumble each tube for 30 minutes to provide a vintage ‘worn-in’ look.
  • We teamed up with a local leather stitching manufacturing team — Tacoma, WA based ‘Black Anchor Workshop’ — to design and make the leather sleeves.
    • A bit about Black Anchor Workshop: These guys are a great group, doing really cool stuff. We share a lot of the same values from building things locally, to getting outside with our friends every chance we get. They also did all the leather manufacturing for us, including the hand-stitching of each sleeve. A big thanks to Stephen & Christian for all the hard work!
  • Lastly we wanted to make the packaging something unique and different. We added a bunch of packaging details, like the hand numbered certificate of authenticity, and the ‘Stay Lit’ patch. That’s what it’s all about, connecting with like-minded people and enjoying the timeless glow of a fire in the outdoors.

A lot has changed in the last 40 some years… But our love for getting outside with our friends and families is stronger than ever!