Pressure Lamps International

American Recreation Products

New Haven, Mo USA
1224 Fern Ridge Parkway, Ballwin (Sales)

 

American Recreation Products did not manufacture pressure lanterns, so the coverage here is only brief. For just a few years they were the parent company of The Wenzel  Co who marketed and sold the Wenzel pressure lantern, a Petromax style lantern popular with campers at that time. They did have a metals fabrication division which manufactured aluminium tubing for tents, and other similar products, but the lanterns they did sell are thought to be all Wenzel brand, and were made in China.

wenzel

Wenzel Lantern information leaflet showing the American Recreation Products address at Fern Ridge Parkway

 

Not to be confused with North American Recreation Products from the 1970s,  American Recreation Products was formed in the summer of 1985 by a group of businessmen to take over five subsidiary companies from the Kellwood Group (where Fred Wenzel was chairman). These were The Wenzel Co, The American Waterproofing Corp., Kelty Pack Inc., The Sleeping Bag Corporation of America, and ALP Industries Ltd. The group employed about 900 people in the small town of New Haven, on the Missouri River.

 amrecproSLPD01101985p32

St Louis Post Dispatch, 1 Oct 1985 p32

Then, in the spring of 1986 under the leadership of Edward Herrick American Recreation Products took over the Dallas based sleeping bag manufacturer Buddy Skoelkopf Products and initiated what was to become a slow decline in business profits. By November 1988, after defaulting on a loan, things were so bad that a public auction of assets was planned. In the event, the Kellwood Group bought back the companies it had sold only three years before.

 amrecprodSLPD19111988p11

St Louis Post Dispatch 19 Nov 1988 p11

 

Over a period of time some of the subsidiaries were sold off by Kellwood. The old metals fabrication division became Metalcraft Enterprises Inc, and MarChem bought the fabric waterproofing section, but the remaining divisions in American Recreation Products continued to trade successfully under Kellwood's control, but now importing some of their camping equipment from South Korea. There have been some unfortunate incidents since, with the recall of baby strollers and propane lanterns, and a lawsuit following an injury to a child when a tent peg shattered.

In April 2015 American Recreation Products (including Wenzel) merged with Exxel Outdoors to form a leading outdoors provider in the USA, but it seems they no longer sell pressure lanterns. Their website is at http://www.exxel.com/

 

References:

The St Louis Post Dispatch, 30 Aug 1985, p29

The St Louis Post Dispatch, 1 Oct 1985, p32

The St Louis Post Dispatch, 16 Nov 1988 p23

The St Louis Post Dispatch, 19 Nov 1988 p11

The Southern Illinoisan, 21 Nov 2000, p1 - 9

 

 

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