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The TV Lamp Collectors Blog » Blog Archive » Insights from a Morton Pottery Co. Catalog

Insights from a Morton Pottery Co. Catalog


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Morton Pottery Co. Catalog Page

When you research the history and products of the various potteries one is faced with many obstacles. Given that approx. 50 years have passed, many of the former employees are gone, taking with them facts that simply cannot be acquired from any other source. But once in a while a product catalog will turn up, and these can be extremely valuable. The catalog page shown above is in the collection of Burdell Hall, undoubtedly the most knowledgeable historian of the Morton, Illinois potteries. None of the products shown are indicated to be lamps, but at least two of them were certainly available as such.

At the top-left is a buffalo that is one of the most valuable TV lamps, and I was frankly shocked to discover that its origin was the Morton Pottery Co. I don’t claim to be an expert on the various potteries in Morton, but the bison, to my eyes at least, shares little with their other work. The rich, complex glaze isn’t characteristic, neither is the naturalistic sculpting of the animal. I was just about convinced that it was an unmarked product of Lane & Co! The catalog provides proof of the MPC attribution, and without the catalog the maker of that lamp would have remained a mystery.

I also find the panther (top-right) of great interest…who hasn’t seen that design time and time again? It echoes my previous post about potteries modifying and using the designs of others, and that one was “re-styled” a lot. It is often found with the log base as shown, but also with the base heavily covered with vegetation as produced by Texans Inc. Unless other information surfaces, I suppose we can assume that all of the panthers on that log base are by The Morton Pottery Co…good to know! I have a pet theory that the origin of the design is from a mold company, possibly Atlantic Mold. I’ve been unable to find much about Atlantic Mold but they clearly were in business for decades, closing their doors fairly recently. As with a competitor, Holland Mold, they catered primarily to hobbyists, providing molds that could be used for fired ceramics or plaster construction. I spoke with the son of the Holland Mold founder a few months ago, and he indicated that some of their designs made their way into mass production, but that they didn’t market specifically to potteries.

The stalking panther (bottom-left) isn’t found often, but I believe it too was made as a lamp. I don’t have one of those for comparison, so can’t really comment on a TV lamp version.

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