Aladdin L-4
(1929 to 1954)
R.H. SPRAY, April, 1995


Aladdin L-4      This is a 14' x 14' one story frame building, which combined the observation facilities with the living quarters and is the lookout structure, which was built, in the greatest number. The firefinder was located in the center of the room with all living facilities around the outside walls. The bed, cupboards, counters, and all other cabinetry were truncated at window sill level so as to not interfere with the 360 degree view from the firefinder.
     Many L-4's have very low ceilings. Since the L-4 was designed to be packed by mule or horse to remote mountain tops, the structural parts were probably kept to the very minimum size. Seven-foot studs instead of 8-foot would have made a difference to the packer.
     Windows were either nine-pane or four-pane. Most of the later versions of the L-4 had four-pane windows, probably to improve visibility and to make window cleaning easier. All windows and the door were protected by large shutters that when raised protected the windows from glare and gave the lookout building it's distinctive appearance. The appearance of an L-4 with its shutters up and flag flying is very impressive, but there is no uglier building when it's shutters are battened down.
     L-4's were the most popular lookout structure built and were packaged in kit form. The Aladdin Company in Portland, Oregon, put most of these kits together, so this structure became known simply as the "Aladdin." When I was a lookout I never heard this name applied to the building. Instead an "Aladdin" was a much sought after kerosene lamp that put out light similar to that of a Coleman gas lantern but without the noise and fire hazard. Was it made by the same company?

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