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The TV Lamp Collectors Blog » History

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

TV Lamps In Their Natural Habitat… the ’50s!

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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TV lamps in Florida

Now this is a rare scene… a photo from the ’50s showing TV lamps, lots of them, on the shelves in a retail outlet! These are obviously of the “touristy” variety, made up from shells and sprinkled with plastic figures and such. I haven’t addressed this unique style of lamp on tvlamps.net, but am working to correct that oversight. The picture is shared here through the generosity of Charles Phoenix, purveyor of all things retro. If you haven’t seen his website, well, you haven’t lived! I command thee, go there now.

Modern Mechanix, A Website You Need To Visit

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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I’m going to stray off-topic even more than usual here to share a great website, Modern Mechanix. It includes hundreds of scanned articles from vintage copies (from the ’30s and beyond) of Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Modern Mechanix and the like, and is a great place to spend a few hours. The blog entries are sorted into many categories, covering transportation, home, television, science and much more. Be warned, it’s addictive!

Howard Kron Biography

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

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I thought I’d give my blog readers a “sneak peek” at the biography of Howard Kron that I just finished. It’s one of four pages that will focus on the Texans Incorporated designers, and will be posted on texansinc.com once they’re all done. There’s no link to this from the website yet, but I had to share it… don’t tell anyone! The Designers: Howard Kron

What is a TV Lamp, Really?

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

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Jacquelin Panther
One of the main sources of confusion among collectors, and sellers, is the true definition of a TV lamp. The term is used quite loosely, often by eBay sellers that understand how avidly that category is watched. So, in the strictest sense, what constitutes a TV lamp? I’ll start with the Jacquelin panther shown above, as I consider it to be the very essence of the genre, the style that immediately comes to mind for most people. The attributes that make this a classic TV lamp are simple: It dates from the ’50s, it is ceramic, it provides back-lighting, it represents a popular mid-century theme (the panther was one of several “exotic” icons of the day) and it was designed and marketed specifically for use atop the family television. This is a TV lamp in its purest form, no question. But there are others, many others that meet the criteria.  (more…)

Kron Design Sketch

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

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Kron Circus Horse SketchMaybe it’s just me, but I find TV lamp design sketches fascinating, if for no other reason than their extreme rarity. This one, in the collection of Richard Gunter, is a layout sketch by Howard Kron for the Circus Horse TV lamp. The lamp, manufactured by Texans Incorporated, follows this drawing with little deviation. This was clearly a final sketch, with the basic concept having been sorted out in other drawings. A great deal of precision and detail has been applied here and, although it doesn’t appear to exist today, I suspect that a similar rendering was done of the back as well. Designers put a huge amount of work into preparing a lamp for production, with proportions, size, mold design and glaze formulations all taken into account. A larger version of this sketch, as well as several other Kron drawings, will eventually appear on texansinc.com.

Charlene Korcz

Monday, October 29th, 2007

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Charlene KorczThe community of pottery collectors has lost a true friend, as Charlene Korcz passed away on October 4th following her fight with cancer. Char was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic historian, particularly regarding the products of Haeger Potteries. She traveled from her home in Carpentersville, Illinois to Texas in 2006 for the Texans Inc. Reunion, and my family and I had the pleasure of visiting her this past summer for a tour of the Haeger facility. Char was a dear friend, and will be missed.

Catch of the Day…

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

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These fish TV lamps are familiar to many collectors, but I wonder how many know that they were made by two different potteries?

Before I delve into their differences, I want to identify the sources of these two “2 fish” TV lamps. The brown one was made by Texans Incorporated, the lamp company in Bangs, Texas. But it should be said that it is not one of the Howard Kron designs… those came later. The gray and maroon example was produced at American Art Potteries in Morton, Illinois. I am confident in the attribution of both, as the Texans lamp has been identified by former employees and the AAP version is often found with their foil label.

So how do they differ? The most obvious thing is the number of “waves” on the base, as the AAP version has more, and smaller, waves than the Texans version. The glazes are also a good identifier, as the Texans fish are typically found in a single color with a lighter drip over-glaze. AAP on the other hand, seems to have always gone with two-tone schemes, some quite attractive and others, well… not so attractive! (more…)

Today’s Fun Photo

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

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Howard Kron TV Lamp Sketch

Here’s something you don’t see every day… a developmental sketch for a TV lamp! This styling exercise was rendered by Howard Kron as he brainstormed the 3-Horse TV lamp for Texans Incorporated. A revealing look into his creative process, the pencil drawing was clearly intended to sort out proportions, as no effort was wasted on details. Texans Inc. 3-Horse TV LampAt this point Kron had established the basic form, the space for the bulb/fixture having also been considered. It’s interesting to note that this early sketch included references to the legs, a feature that was minimized in the final product. The sketch is in the collection of Richard Gunter, as are other sketches of various Kron TV lamps. My favorite of these is the Owl, with both the front and back rendered. I’ll post those in the next few weeks!

Mystery Lamp: Deco-Styled Deer

Friday, September 21st, 2007

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Deco-Styled Deer TV Lamp

This one has peaked my curiosity for a long time. Both elegant and massive (12″ tall and 17″ wide!), it is beautifully designed in a style that I think of as art-deco. (but I could be wrong!) Glazed in chartreuse and emerald green, it is actually too large to have been suitable for many televisions of the day, which could explain its extreme rarity. So who made this behemoth? (more…)

Leviton: The Light Behind TV Lamps

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

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Leviton AdvertisementI’ve been contacted by many collectors looking for help in identifying their TV lamp, often confused that the only marking they can find is on the switch, Leviton. While the name appears on most lamps, they were responsible for just the electrics, as Leviton was one of the largest producer of electric switches and lamp sockets in the world. Founded in 1906 by Isidor Leviton, the company remains a thriving family-owned enterprise. Initially focusing on gas lighting, Leviton was quick to shift their focus towards electrical fixtures, the arena in which the company was to excel. Isidor’s son Harold was an active part of Leviton beginning in the ’40s, becoming President and CEO in 1965. He served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at the time of his passing on September 8th, 2007. No, Leviton didn’t make lamps, they made them work.