Big Cats

Panthers, leopards and such found immense popularity as decorative items in the '50s, and were undoubtedly the number-one TV lamp subject. The basic "stalking panther" is the most immediately recognizable TV lamp style, variations of which were produced by several companies.

crouching panther value:  rarity:
For the purpose of discussion, I refer to this design as the "crouching panther". This style was extremely popular and seems to have been copied by numerous companies, making identification a real challenge. This one has a smooth look about it, lacking detail. This is generally not by design, but rather from using an extremely worn mold.
brown panther value:  rarity:
And here's another crouching panther with the same basic design, yet different detailing. Probably from the Morton Pottery Co.
Texans Inc. Crouching Panther value:  rarity:
Another variation of the previous lamps, this one with a beautiful green glaze. This one, with its base covered by leafy foliage, is from Texans Incorporated.
Texans Inc. Crouching Tiger value:  rarity:
A variation of the green panther above. This time tiger stripes and foliage details have been added for a pleasing, dramatic effect. Photo courtesy of Woodland Trace Collectibles/Bill Keller, Knoxville, TN.
Texans Inc. Crouching Panther value:  rarity:
The A505 Panther TV Lamp, was one of the earliest TV lamps made by Texans Incorporated, and was not designed by Howard Kron. Texans Inc. got it's start with the help of the Mar-Lita Lamp Corporation, and this model was a carry-over from that company. (Kron did re-work the design slightly, restoring detail to the worn molds) The only clue as to the maker is the "Texans Inc. Bangs, Texas" stamp on the felt base. White glaze is rare. Photo courtesy of Vicki Courtney.
Phil-Mar panther value:  rarity:
Very popular in it's day, lamps similar to this Phil-Mar panther were produced by many potteries. Which one came first? We'll probably never know.
Phil-Mar panther A look at the back of Phil-Mar's panther.
Phil-Mar panther Detail of the switch location.
value:  rarity:
Obviously derived from the same basic design that was used on countless conventional TV lamps, this "crouching panther" has the addition of a clock! Photos courtesy of an eBayer from Winnipeg, Canada.
Back view.
Morton Pottery panther value:  rarity:
This is almost certainly by the Morton Pottery Co. While it bears a superficial resemblance to the "crouching panther" style produced by other companies, this one is distinct and unique.
Morton Pottery panther Heres the back of the panther TV lamp from the Morton Pottery Co.
Phil-Mar panthers value:  rarity:
A departure from conventional styling, this Phil-Mar TV lamp featured two panthers! Photo courtesy of Rebecca Kortjohn.
burgundy panther value:  rarity:
I refer to this style as the "stalking panther". (not to be confused with the crouching panther!) This is the one that everyone thinks of when you say TV lamp. Made in a variety of sizes and colors (black being the most common), similar lamps were made by a number of companies, including Royal Haeger, Gonder and some that are marked "Jacquelin". Be aware that reproductions of these are circulating and, other than for some being in rather odd colors, are remarkably similar to the originals.
Jacquelin Panther value:  rarity:
The classic stalking panther. This one can also be seen from the back. The Jacquelin panther has escalated greatly in value recently, suggesting that these TV lamps are beginning to get their due. They are virtually identical to a panther figurine by Haeger Potteries, but Haeger never produced a TV lamp version.  It's found in several colors, black being the most common.  Photos courtesy of Andrea from USA.
Jacquelin mark This is a close-up of the underside of the Jacquelin panther showing the manufacturers mark.  It reads, Model 522 Jacquelin Panther "TV" lamp.  This mark wears poorly, and legible markings on these are rare.  A less common foil label is occasionally found on Jacquelin panthers that reads Crafted by Jacquelin Fine Vitrified China.
green  panther value:  rarity:
A pretty easy one to find, this lamp/planter comes in several other colors, including black, red, blue and pink. The glaze lacks depth and the over-all sculpting of this panther is rather angular. It lacks the aesthetic appeal of other panther lamps.
pink panther value:  rarity:
I've seen this particular lamp in pink before, but never with the "globs" of dripped glaze on the base! Also, unlike most examples, this one does not have the small planter opening in the front, making it a bit more valuable.
panther value:  rarity:
While it's sometimes said that this Panther is a McCoy item, it is not. The top view shows the planter portion of the lamp, as well as an elevated area that was put into the design, allowing the manufacturer to use the same piece for a table lamp base. Top view photo courtesy of Charla Holtschneider from Guthrie, OK.
Royal China & Novelty TV lamp value:  rarity:
Looking like lamps and figurines by Haeger, Lane & Co., Jacquelin and others, this panther by Royal China & Novelty Co. is a sleek, elegant design. The Royal China "lamp-only" panthers are identical to the planter/lamp variation, except that they lack the protruding planter and the Royal China marking on the back. All of RC's panthers are 21" long.
Royal China & Novelty TV lamp Back view.
Royal China & Novelty TV lamp/planter value:  rarity:
Royal China's panther TV lamp/planter is distinctive in that it is based upon the popular panther design, a protruding planter area added to the top. Unlike the lamp-only version, these are clearly marked in the hollow behind the bulb/fixture.
Royal China & Novelty TV lamp/planter Back view.
panther lamp/planter value:  rarity:
Found in many colors, this black and gold variation of the Royal China panther is distinctive and unusual. Note how a collar has been implied with creative use of the gold.
Kron Panther value:  rarity:
At over 16" long, the Kron Panther lamp is large, and heavy!  Called the K208 Sportsman Panther in the manufacturers catalog, it was said to be "a thing of beauty by day and a TV or Nite-Lite by night."  Original wholesale price for the panther was $2.25.
Kron Panther value:  rarity:
The Sportsman Panther is also found in black.  The painted decorative circles on the base were also done in 22k gold, a rare variation.
Texans Inc. TV lamp value:  rarity:
This Texans Incorporated panther is extremely rare, and predates Howard Kron's association with the company. It was a design originally made at Mar-Lita, and brought to Texans Inc. when they helped setup the plant. This example was indeed made at Texans, and has an unusual application of gold using the wax-resist process. From the collection of Floyd Thomas, with photo courtesy of David Cole.
Lane panther value:  rarity:
The Lane & Company panther was a popular item, and stands out from the others with its gold collars, chain and base. Green eyes were standard on all examples, regardless of the color of the lamp. This example is in immaculate condition, right down to the UL label on top!
Lane panther Back view of the Lane & Co. panther. The bottom reveals a date of 1953 and L.A. Calif. as the place of manufacture.
Lane panther value:  rarity:
Although this panther might have a superficial resemblance to the one above, this one is a completely different design and considerably more rare. Photos courtesy of Jack from Galesburg, Illinois.
Lane panther The back view shows a different switch location from the panther on a base.
Lane label A foil Lane label (or what's left of it) is visible on his leading leg.
Lane marking The chartreuse panther is marked Lane & Co., L.A. Calif. 1952.
Lane TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Produced several years after the previous cats, this Lane panther is quite large at 16" wide and 12" tall. Photos courtesy of R.L. Rising of Rising Sky Artworks.
Lane TV Lamp value:  rarity:
An uncommon version of the "stalking panther" motif, and one of the less common lamps from Lane & Co. These bear the Lane & Co. marking, but it's typically so faint as to be all but unreadable. They are easily identifiable however, by the "closed" area between the tail and back legs. I bought this beauty from Carole Christensen at Antiques of Northfield.
Lane TV Lamp Back view. Made in several colors, the brilliant red glaze on this example is particularly rare. Bright red was a difficult glaze color, as it had to be fired at lower, decorator-kiln temperatures.
Lane TV Lamp A close-up of the fixture shows the original Lane & Co./UL sticker.
Fuhry & Sons Classical Scene value:  rarity:
A rather elaborate classical scene with a woman, an urn and a panther. The distinctive design was produced by Fuhry & Sons. Photos courtesy of Woodland Trace Collectibles/Bill Keller, Knoxville, TN.
Fuhry mark The back of this lamp clearly shows the Fuhry & Sons mark.
Haeger Panther value:  rarity:
The Haeger panther is smaller than most, the total length being under 13 inches.
Haeger mark Some of the products of Haeger Potteries pre-dated the Royal Haeger line, as attested by this panther, marked simply "Haeger".
Haeger Panther Here is an example of Haeger's panther with a turquoise base and the fiberglass shade behind it. Photo courtesy of anonymous from Arvada, Colorado.
Claes Panther value:  rarity:
Leland Claes is known to have produced several TV lamps that are highly valued today, and this is certainly one of them. Although this design isn't as bold, it is at least as rare as the leopard spot variation, which can be seen on the cover of Leland & Crystal Payton's book Turned On, Decorative Lamps of the 'Fifties. Photos courtesy of Noah Brodie of Orlando, Florida. Thanks Noah!
Claes Panther Another shot of the Claes Panther.  You can also see it close-up.
back view Here's a look at the back of the Panther TV lamp.
Claes mark The panther is marked "Claes Copyright '56".
Claes Leopard TV Lamp value:  rarity:
A number of lamps have been referred to as "the holy grail of TV lamps", but for my money this one is it. The Claes leopard is flashy, unique, and very, very rare! Photos courtesy of Rebecca from Neptune, NJ.
Claes Leopard TV Lamp Another look at this great Claes lamp!
Claes Leopard TV Lamp Side view.
Claes Leopard TV Lamp Back view.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
You're more likely to stumble across a real tiger than to find one of these! This "Tiger Head" TV lamp by Claes is a very, very rare item. Photo courtesy of Dorothy Hawkinson.
Rosemeade Panther value:  rarity:
This ferocious-looking Rosemeade Panther TV lamp is a beautiful, distinctive design, and quite rare. Of particular interest is the beautiful pink glaze, unlike that found on other TV lamps. The panther can also be found in forest green, black and bronze. Expect to pay over $600 regardless of color. Photos courtesy of Joan Parker from WINDMILL Warehouse.
Rosemeade Panther A look at the back of the Rosemeade Panther.
Rosemeade Label The Rosemeade label.
Rosemeade Panther The same panther TV lamp design as shown above, but this one in the color that Rosemeade called forest green.
Rosemeade Panther Back view of the green Rosemeade panther.
Rosemeade Panther Rosemeade made one of the more ferocious-looking panthers!
panther value:  rarity:
Rare in any color, this one is more apt to be found with airbrushed coloration, as seen on the cover of Calvin Shepherd's book 50s T.V. Lamps. The quality of design and manufacture on this lamp is top-notch, with the glaze being particularly beautiful. I sure would like to know who made it!
back view Back view of the green panther.
on/off switch This close-up shows the clever placement of the on/off switch on this one, right behind the panther's paw!
Bil Mar Mold TV Lamp value:  rarity:
This tiger from Bil-Mar Mold is particularly interesting, as it seems to be a blatant copy, with changes, of the green lamp shown above. Photos courtesy of Cindy Ghilarducci.
Bil Mar Mold TV Lamp The "behind the paw" switch location is identical to the green and green-and-black examples it copies.
Bil Mar Mold TV Lamp The bottom is marked, Bil-Mar BM 855 ©.
Panther TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Chartreuse could be the rarest color variation of this one! Photo courtesy of George Martin of Little Valley, NY.
Phil-Mar panther value:  rarity:
This Phil-Mar panther TV lamp is not so common as those from Lane or Jacquelin, but the unique pose sets it apart even more than its rarity.  Photos courtesy of Donna P. of Ormond Beach, FL.
Phil-Mar panther Here's the back view of the Phil-Mar panther.  Notice that the glaze used is the same yellow-with-brown-specks as shown at the top of this page.
Phil-Mar label Rather worse for wear, here's what's left of the foil Phil-Mar label.
Phil-Mar Panther value:  rarity:
Here's a beautiful example of the Phil-Mar design above, this one with a dramatic glaze. Photos courtesy of an eBayer from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Phil-Mar Panther Back view.
Phil-Mar Panther Phil-Mar frequently used these glaze colors in combination, and always with gorgeous results.
Chalkware Lion value:  rarity:
Rather than copy the ceramic TV lamps, the chalkware makers went their own direction, creating with strong color and bold designs. This lion is unmarked. Photo courtesy of Khrys from Canada.
Chalkware Panther value:  rarity:
There's something about chalkware lamps, perhaps their use of paint applied straight to the plaster, that allowed for a directness of expression that is typically absent in ceramic TV lamps. I'd be scared to walk past this one! Photos courtesy of John Ritchie from Toronto, Ontario.
A look at the back of the chalkware panther. The marking reads "Use 25 Watt Only".
Puccini Leopard value:  rarity:
Often worse for wear, this Puccini TV lamp is in fine condition for a chalkware item. Photos courtesy of Eddie Carire, Brooklyn NY.
Puccini Leopard Back view of the Puccini leopard.
Columbia Statuary TV Lamp value:  rarity:
The Columbia Statuary leopard is nicely detailed and colored. The same TV lamp can be found with a Puccini marking. Photos courtesy of an anonymous eBayer.
Columbia Statuary TV Lamp Back view.
McCoy panther TV lamp value:  rarity:
While McCoy always had many "irons in the fire", they weren't about to let the booming panther TV lamp market go unchallenged! Photo courtesy of Bill Keller, Knoxville, TN.
McCoy panther TV lamp McCoy also made their panther lamp in a maroon glaze.
Rock O'Stone panther value:  rarity:
Given the wild paint sometimes applied to plaster TV lamps, this one from Rock O'Stone is tastefully understated. Photos courtesy of John Reuter from Saint Petersburg, Florida.
Rock O'Stone panther Rock O'Stone went all-out in creating an aggressive looking panther!
value:  rarity:
A rather small TV lamp, especially for one with a panther as the subject! The glaze makes one think of McCoy, but I'm certain that it is not. It also bears quite a resemblance to the small swan lamp produced by Beauceware.
And from this view we see the cause of the burnt area on the fiberglass much light bulb!
American Art Potteries panther value:  rarity:
All potteries active in the '50s seem to have released a panther TV lamp, and American Art Potteries was no exception. Photos courtesy of Janet from Carl Junction, Missouri.
American Art Potteries Norwood marking The incomplete "Norwood" label shows the panther to be from American Art Potteries.
American Art Potteries panther value:  rarity:
This panther is interesting as it is a variation on the one above. The panther and top part of the vegetation is identical, but this cat is striding across a log. No label is present, but given the characteristic translucent glazes and the similarity to the previous example, I can only assume that this one is also from American Art Potteries.
American Art Potteries panther Here's the back of the panther on a log. The bugged-out blue eyes are almost sure to be a later addition!
Claes lions value:  rarity:
Another extremely rare Claes TV lamp design, this one dated 1957. Photos courtesy of Ken from Castle Rock, WA.
Claes marking Close-up of the lions showing the Claes marking.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
What a difference the finish makes! Just as the Claes panther was airbrushed to become a leopard, this Claes tiger TV lamp is from the same mold as the lions shown above. A beautifully applied glaze has resulted in this lovely, and rare, transformation.
Claes TV Lamp Back view of the Claes tiger lamp.
Claes TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Without a doubt, this is my favorite Claes TV lamp. Depicting what I believe is a lioness and her cub, this design was carefully thought-out and beautifully sculpted, and is obviously a variation on the one shown previously. The example pictured is the only one I've seen, and if one appeared at auction I'd expect it would easily bring in excess of $750. Photos courtesy of Cindy & Mike of Bakersfield, California.
Claes TV Lamp Here's a different view.
Claes TV Lamp As with the previous lamp, this one is marked with the year 1957.
Florence Art TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Unrestrained by the limitations of ceramic glaze, the chalkware manufacturers enjoyed more latitude where decorative finishes were concerned. The result was evident in designs like this colorful leopard by Florence Art. Photos courtesy of a contribution from Lorain, Ohio.
Florence Art TV Lamp Florence Art is stamped into the back of the leopard TV lamp.
Florence Art TV Lamp Another view.
Florence Art TV Lamp Here's Florence Art's panther lit-up in all its menacing glory!
Lampcrafts TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Lampcrafts had an extremely tasteful design on their hands with this one. It is a wonderful homage to a prevalent style of the era... a love of all things mysterious and exotic. Photos courtesy of Elaine from Park City, Montana.
Lampcrafts TV Lamp Back view of the lady and her cat!
Lampcrafts TV Lamp As with their sailing ship TV lamps, Lampcrafts wasn't frugal with their application of 22k gold. Such decoration was economically feasible at the time, and many potteries took advantage of the rich luster it provided.
Lampcrafts TV Lamp This example still wears the foil Lampcrafts label.
LeBow TV Lamp value:  rarity:
LeBow jumped into the panther lamp arena with this particularly animated design. Photos courtesy of an eBayer from Kansas.
LeBow TV Lamp From this angle one can see the planter area that was common to most all LeBow lamps.
Zerbini TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Zerbini Giftware is responsible for this neat chalkware panther TV lamp, complete with fiberglass shade. Photos courtesy of an eBayer from Canada.
Zerbini TV Lamp Back view of Zerbini's panther.
Zerbini TV Lamp Here is the Zerbini Giftware marking.
Lane TV Lamp value:  rarity:
This lion from Lane & Co. has to be one of their least common designs. Photos courtesy of an eBayer from Hanna, Oklahoma.
Lane TV Lamp Back view.  It is marked with the year 1957.
Lane TV Lamp This boy looks ready to rumble!
L.M. Fielack TV lamp value:  rarity:
This chalkware panther by L.M. Fielack is one of their best designs. Photos courtesy of Tanya from Carbondale, Pennsylvania.
L.M. Fielack TV lamp The panther lamp is clearly marked, ©L.M. Fielack on the back.
Lawrin Co. Panther value:  rarity:
I'm a little perplexed by this one. It has an original Lawrin hang-tag, but seems identical to the panther lamp made by the Royal China & Novelty Company. Photos courtesy of eBay seller, indainboy43.
Lawrin Co. Panther Back view.
Lawrin Co. Panther Here's a look at the incomplete Lawrin tag. It is clearly different from the one on their ship lamp shown above.
Lane Panther value:  rarity:
Lane produced several variations of panther lamps, this one being perhaps the least common. The brown stained finish on this example is particularly rare. Photo courtesy of Daniel Connell.
California Originals TV Lamp value:  rarity:
An infrequently seen lamp, California Originals called it the L-702 Mtn. Lion Lamp. Photos courtesy of Deirdre from Lititz, Pennsylvania.
California Originals TV Lamp Back view.
LeBow TV Lamp value:  rarity:
Most LeBow of California TV lamps share a common template, but this one is a definite departure!
LeBow TV Lamp Here's the LeBow label on the fighting panthers.
Lane Panther value:  rarity:
Yet another Lane & Co. panther, this one being particularly rare. The extensive use of color differentiates this Lane from most other panther lamps. Photos courtesy of eBay seller, boxer328.
Lane Panther The back is marked, Lane & Co, Van Nuys, Calif, USA, ©1961.
Breslin TV Lamp This panther TV lamp wears a Breslin label. Didn't Phil-Mar make one just like this?
Breslin TV Lamp Back view.
Sculpture Ware Co. TV Lamp value:  rarity:
The Sculpture Ware panther is rare and, well... weird! The purpose of the protrusion at the top (pointing to the right) is a mystery.
Sculpture Ware Co. TV Lamp Back view.
Sculpture Ware Co. TV Lamp Sculpture Ware marking.

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