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The TV Lamp Collectors Blog » Blog Archive » Did potteries plagiarize designs? You Bet!

Did potteries plagiarize designs? You Bet!


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It’s often hard to determine the maker of a given lamp, particularly when more than one maker used the same design. This sort of “borrowing” took place more often than one might realize, with even the largest potteries getting into the act. I suspect that the reasons behind this are twofold. (this is just me talking…I could be wrong) First of all, the legal climate of the ’50s/’60s was certainly less “lawsuit-happy” than today, and such plagiarism was no doubt easier to get by with. Also, I’ve heard it said by several people in the industry that a “15% rule” applied to copying designs. This states that basing a design on the work of others was OK, providing that at least 15% was changed. Now I haven’t been able to find this carved in stone anywhere, but this rule has come up often enough that it must have been a generally accepted guideline. And, of course, some makers didn’t even respect this rule, bravely swiping a design wholesale. It’s clear that industry standards weren’t in place, or at the least extremely lax.

Haeger Bronc Rider

Let’s look at an example:

Here we have a bronc rider figurine by Haeger Potteries. This is not a vintage piece, but a recent re-issue of an original Haeger design that I picked up in Dundee, Illinois when my pal Char Korcz guided us though the pottery. The original was often produced as a table lamp, the fixture rising from the cactus, and a rare TV lamp version was also made. So, re-issue status aside, this is the real thing… a Haeger design produced by Haeger.


But wait…what do we have here?! Yes my friends, it appears that the lamp company so dear to my heart, Texans Inc., was taking a long, hard look at Haeger’s product when they came up with their bronc rider lamp. Now I suppose it could be argued that 15% of the design was changed. After-all, the cactus has been fused together, right? I will come to their defense, as the copying was most likely done by the hand of someone at Polynesian Arts, the company in Mayfield, Kentucky that assisted Texans in their formative months. All of the earliest Texans designs were provided by Polynesian Arts, as Howard Kron wasn’t in the picture until sometime in ‘54. That lovely trio of lamps is in the collection of David Cole of Bangs, Texas.

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