The most likely cause.
This problem is usually the pump cup. It will be dried out, cracked or will have just form-fitted itself to the cylinder. If this happens, air will not be forced into the fount.
How to repair it. I am assuming that you have already tried placing a few drops of oil down inside the pump through the "oil" hole. Now you need to remove the pump plunger from the lantern or stove and repair or replace the pump cup.
To remove the pump from the lantern fount or stove tank, use a flat tip screwdriver and gently pull either end of the "C" clip free from the fount/tank and then rotate it away from the pump. You can then grab the "C" clip and pull it from the pump, as shown above. (Older appliances may have two screws or the cap may screw directly on to the fount/tank.)
Now grab the pump handle and give it a good tug outward to remove. If there is a build up of grime around the cap, it may not come right out. Gently pry the cap off with a screwdriver, lifting one side and then the other until it is free, and then pull.
Carefully inspect the pump cup. Both rubber and leather can have cracks; leather can also become completely hardened. In either of these cases, the cup will require replacement. Leather: Part Number 216-5091 Rubber with push-on nut and plate: PN 216A-5091
But that is rare and a little work usually fixes the problem. Take the pump cup and fold it back against the shaft to make the appearance of a small umbrella as shown above on the left.
Next place the cup in a small bowl of neetsfoot or motor oil as show above on the right. Allow it to soak for about an hour and make sure it stays "open."
After the oil soak, pat-dry the cup and the pump shaft with a dry rag to remove all excess oil as shown above on the left. Hold the pump (cup down) and shake it vigorously to remove as much oil from inside the shaft as possible. With your mouth, blow into the small hole on top of the pump to remove more oil, or use compressed air.
Re-install the pump plunger. As shown above on the right, the cup will be larger now so take your time and do not allow it to fold over inside the cylinder. You should immediately feel resistance as you press the pump down into the cylinder. Re-install the pump clip (or screws) and you are finished.
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