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Kron (Texans Incorporated)

"Kron" TV lamps were designed by Howard Kron, a talented artist and ceramics engineer who was the primary designer for Texans Incorporated, a ceramics manufacturer in the small Texas town of Bangs.  Along with co-designer Richard Gunter, Kron created TV lamps, table lamps and various other products for Texans Inc. for almost 30 years.   In the early days, the lampshade manufacturing and sales and marketing branch of the company was called Texas Ceramic Studio, Texans Incorporated being the ceramics manufacturing side of the company, but over time the entire operation became Texans Inc. Most of Kron's designs are simply marked Kron, although Gunter-Kron, RAG, Howard and a myriad of other markings can be found on certain examples. Responsible for some of the most popular TV lamps (his Siamese Cats being a huge seller), Kron also designed many lamps that were made in comparatively small numbers.  Some of these are just now becoming known to collectors, as they seldom left the State of Texas prior to the rise of eBay.  As with the Leland Claes designs, online auctions have caused prices on the rare Kron lamps to increase, and only time will determine their ultimate worth.  If you would like to learn more (much more) about Kron and Texans Inc., check out TexansIncorporated.com.
Many thanks to those who have aided my research of Howard Kron and the lamp manufacturer Texans Incorporated: former Texans designer Richard Gunter, Pete Eads (plant manager) and Evangeline Eads (book keeper/secretary), collector/historian David Cole, and Karen Bien & Judy Allen from Ricochet Oldies & Antiques in Brownwood, Texas.  A variety of other Howard Kron designs (ashtrays, figurines, etc.) can be seen on the page: Other Kron and Texans Inc. Pottery.

Kron siamese cats value:  rarity:
This the most frequently seen Kron design and the most attractive of the various Siamese cat TV lamps.  Extremely popular, it was produced in greater numbers than any other product to come out of Texans Inc.  Only produced in the naturalistic colors shown here, any significant color variation (like solid black) is the product of another pottery unlawfully using the design. (A surprisingly common occurrence)  Known at the factory as the K313, they originally sold wholesale for $1.95 each.
stamped felt As is often seen on Kron TV lamps, the cat's original felt is stamped TEXANS INC. Bangs, Texas.  After '71 this stamp had the letter "B" following Texans Inc., denoting production at the Bangs plant, or the letter "D" indicating manufacture at the new Del Rio facility.
Woolworth's tag Woolworth's was the major buyer of Kron TV lamps, and they are still occasionally found with a Woolworth's hang-tag still in place.
Texans Inc. Plant Worker Probably taken in the '60s, this photo shows a Texans employee with K313 Siamese Cat TV Lamps prior to firing.
Kron Poodle & Pug value:  rarity:
The Poodle and Pug lamp is a less common sight than the cats, though not extremely rare.  The original collar, present on this example, adds to the value.
Kron Poodle & Pug value:  rarity:
This black poodle variation is several rungs higher on the rarity ladder than the previous one, and brings a premium at auction.
back view A look at the back of the Kron Poodle & Pug TV lamp.
Kron lamp/planter value:  rarity:
A rather unusual, seldom seen design which was referred to as the model K140 TV planter lamp.  They were originally a two-piece affair, with the gold ceramic figurine straddling the "points" behind the planter.  The K140 designation was followed by a "B", "C" or "D", which indicated whether the gold figurine (missing from this example) was a bird, cat or deer.
Kron lamp/planter This is the same TV lamp/planter in turquoise. One shouldn't underestimate the rarity of the gold figurines that once accompanied these lamps, as no examples have surfaced!
catalog page This page from the Texas Ceramic Studio catalog shows the above planters with the three different 22k gold figurines present.  These figurines are all but impossible to find today.  Also shown is the K144 Comedy-Tragedy TV lamp and the K135 Modern Flare TV lamp.
Kron Bear value:  rarity:
This bear TV lamp is in demand today, but as production numbers were low, prices have been on the rise.  Still more rare is a seldom-seen table lamp version.
Kron Bear with Clay Model On the left in this photo is the original clay model upon which the bear TV lamp was based.  Models were created approximately 10% larger than the final product, to allow for the shrinkage that would occur during firing. Both the model and finished lamp shown here are in the collection of Richard Gunter.
Kron Bear with Clay Model This is the back view of the bear model and the final product.
Kron Bull & Brands value:  rarity:
Very unusual, this Bull & Brands TV lamp is ultra-rare, and at 15" tall it's hard to ignore.  The bull & brands seldom comes up for sale, and as a result doesn't have much of an auction "track record" to assist in determining value.  It is undoubtedly one of the least common Kron designs, and you can expect to pay $$$.  Like the bear and the owl, it was also produced as a table lamp, but I've yet to come across one.  The table lamp version is known only from the old Texans catalogs.
back view Back view of the bull & brands TV lamp.
Gunter Kron mark The Bull TV lamp is one of only two TV lamps that have the Gunter-Kron marking. This particular example features the signature of designer Richard Gunter.
Richard Gunter This photo shows designer Richard Gunter autographing my Bull & Brands TV lamp.  I conducted an interview with Richard on August 11th of 2004, and I just happened to have it with me!
Kron 3 Horses value:  rarity:
You've just got to love the expressions on these horses.  This Kron TV lamp is 11" tall and almost 15" wide at the base.  Produced in three solid colors, it was also made with distinctive airbrushed colors on each horse.  All are quite rare.
Kron 3 Horses Whereas the previous example of the 3-Horse Kron is a pale off-white, this one is a distinctly brownish-tan shade.  Don't these make you think of a mountain carving?  Sort of like Mount Rushmore with horses?  Maybe it's just me...
Kron 3 Horses Back view of the Kron 3-horse lamp.  Orange bulb?!
Kron 3 Horses While extremely uncommon, the Kron Three Horses TV lamp is sometimes found finished in black.  Like the other solid-color examples, it has a low-gloss matte finish.  Photos courtesy of Judy Allen from Ricochet Oldies & Antiques in Brownwood, Texas.  Thanks Judy!
Kron 3 Horses The back view of the black three horses lamp.
Kron 3 Horses This is the airbrushed version of the Kron Three Horses TV Lamp, probably the most desirable finish for this rare item.
back view Back-view of the Kron Three Horses TV lamp.
Kron mark A look at the Kron marking located behind the black horse.
Kron Owl value:  rarity:
The K559 Owl TV Lamp is fairly common with this coloration, but also found occasionally in white.  Designers Kron and Gunter made a single example of the owl TV lamp in a mother-of-pearl finish at the special request of a close friend.  Whereabouts of that lamp is unknown.  As with the Bear and the Bull & Brands, the owl was also produced as a table lamp, an extremely rare variation.
Kron Owl value:  rarity:
A beautiful example of the rare white Kron Owl.  Photos courtesy of Woodland Trace Collectibles/Bill Keller, Knoxville, TN.
back view Rear-view of the Kron Owl.
nos Kron owl What's better than finding a Kron owl TV lamp?  Finding a new one! This lamp is what is known as "new-old stock", or NOS.  It has been in its original box and shipping carton since, well...since it was packed!
Kron owl A close-up of the electrical parts shows the unused condition.  All of the original labels are present, including the "Do not use over 25w bulb" warning.  The socket has never held a bulb, the plug has never been in an outlet, the twist-tie has never been off the cord. The cord is still flexible and shows no evidence of age!
Kron Panther value:  rarity:
At over 16" long, Kron's 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.
Kron Circus Horse value:  rarity:
This is the K176 Circus Horse TV Lamp.  It was made in black and with airbrushed coloration as well.  This Kron lamp is too cool!  It is 13½" tall.
circus horse Here's the color version of the Kron circus horse, undoubtedly the rarest version of this lamp.  Photos courtesy of Woodland Trace Collectibles/Bill Keller, Knoxville, TN.
circus horse This is another example of the airbrushed circus horse.  It's interesting to compare the differences in color application between the two.  The horse was colored with brown, black, or brown and black.
Kron Pheasant value:  rarity:
This Golden Pheasant TV Lamp is spectacular!  Known for some big lamps, this one is a giant at 15" high and over 13" wide.  It was made with two pieces that were fused together during firing, as was the Kron Mallard.  Extremely rare.  Photos courtesy of K.C. Heylin - Beachdude, Inc.
back view A look at the back of this impressive lamp. It was made in the airbrushed coloration seen here or in brown.
Kron Pheasant TV Lamp Left side of the Kron Pheasant.
Kron Pheasant TV Lamp Right side.
Kron Marking Here's the Kron ® marking on the Golden Pheasant TV lamp.
Retail Price On the bottom written in grease pencil is the original retail price. Gee, I'd buy'em all day for that!
Kron Pheasant In the collection of David Cole is this unusual variation of the Golden Pheasant TV lamp. It strays from the natural coloration on the example above, and is seldom seen.
Kron dancers value:  rarity:
Extremely rare, this "Dancing Couple" TV lamp is prone to damage and seldom found in pristine condition.  This design was nearly scrapped because of breakage concerns, particularly regarding the woman's arms.  The man was given bell-bottom pants to enhance stability.
Kron dancers Back view of the Kron dancers.
Kron marking The Kron marking is prominent on the back of the dancers lamp.
Kron dancers This turquoise Kron dancers TV lamp lacks the decorative white glaze that is on the brown one above.  The assortment of colors and glaze variations used on these lamps are unknown.  Photos courtesy of Mike O'Briant in Roxboro, NC.
Kron dancers Back view of the turquoise Kron dancers lamp.
Green Kron dancers Here's another example of the ultra-rare Kron Dancing Couple TV lamp, this one in a color that can only be described as "pea green." The dancers are also found with 22k gold details. Photo courtesy of David Cole from Bangs, Texas.
Kron Cathedral TV Lamp value:  rarity:
The K201 Cathedral TV Lamp is known to me only by this picture from a Texans Incorporated catalog page.  Rare!
Kron Masks value:  rarity:
Wow, this one is different!  While certainly inspired by theatrical comedy/tragedy masks, the faces on the Gunter-Kron lamp have, to my eyes at least, a certain sinister quality.  Called the K144 Comedy-Tragedy TV Lamp, the finish is brown with thick white and gold splatters applied over it, a glaze known as "Pebble-Tex."  One of only two TV lamps that have the Gunter-Kron marking, it was the first design created by Richard Gunter. It is 13" tall and 10" wide. It was also made in turquoise or pink, and it's rare in any color. This one is personally signed on the back Richard Gunter '04.
autograph This is a view of the back of the comedy/tragedy TV lamp showing the Richard Gunter autograph.
Kron Masks Here's the turquoise version of the TV lamp shown above.  Photo courtesy of The Mid-Centurian's Back-to-the-Fifties Room.
Kron TV lamp value:  rarity:
I discovered this little gem at an antique mall in Forney, Texas and is a restrained, and rare, design.  It is stylistically similar to the Kron comedy/tragedy lamp, including the overall shape and thick, Pebble-Tex glaze.  Designated the K136 Modern Flare TV lamp by Texans Inc., the rather oriental styling to the base of this design is unique. Otherwise it has much in common (including the modest size) with the K135 shown below.
Kron Here's the back of the pink Modern Flare TV lamp.
Kron The Kron mark is clearly seen on the back.
Kron value:  rarity:
Certainly not a flashy design, this K135 Modern Flare TV Lamp is in fact one of the rarest Texans Inc. designs.  As with the K136 shown above, it has the textured "Pebble-Tex" glaze.
Kron This back view shows the ®Kron marking.
Kron Mallard value:  rarity:
The K119 Flying Duck Planter TV Lamp was the first design created by Howard Kron for Texans Incorporated, and while it was made for many years it is still rare today. It is made from two separate molds, over 15 1/2" tall, and very heavy!  The fact that it's larger and more "substantial" than other TV lamps is reflected in the original wholesale price of $4.45 each. It retailed for around $7.00 at a time when most TV lamps sold for under $4.00.  It is also found in a brown simulated-wood finish, rather like that used by Treasure Craft.
Kron Mallard The reverse side of the Kron Mallard.
Kron mark The mallard has the typical Kron "brand."  This lamp carries the Kron marking twice, on the lamp and again on the planter portion.
Kron Mallard value:  rarity:
Same mallard as above, but in a brown finish.  While perhaps less attractive than the brightly colored version, the brown is a bit more rare.
Kron Fruit Vase value:  rarity:
Often refered to as the "Fruit Vase" TV lamp, it was originally designated the K196 TV Lamp.  It wasn't popular in it's day and is quite rare.  The design, and glaze, is a virtual duplication of a cookie jar that Kron did for Gilmer Potteries.  Many thanks to David Cole from Bangs, Texas for parting with this great TV lamp!
Kron Fruit Vase Back view of the Kron fruit vase lamp.  The glaze on this is difficult to describe.  It appears to have been coated with a dark brown-violet coloration, then a transparent milky white glaze poured over it... beautiful!
value:  rarity:
The K242 Butterfly and Magnolia TV Lamp is so rare that few collectors are familiar with the design. This white example is in fair condition, but some of the gold decoration is worn. It was also made in black and turquoise.
Back view of the Kron Butterfly and Magnolia TV lamp.
Kron Deer value:  rarity:
This K209 Deer and Fawn TV or Nite-Lite was derived from a figurine that Howard Kron designed during his time at Midwest Potteries. It is also found in white or black.
Kron marking This one has the usual Kron brand, pardner!
Kron Deer Here's the black version of the Kron deer and fawn lamp. The gold accents are particularly effective against black!
Kron Bird value:  rarity:
This is the K200 Bird Paradise TV Lamp.  The colors and detail on this one are simply stunning! It was also made in black and in turquoise, and all colors are extremely rare. Photos courtesy of Woodland Trace Collectibles/Bill Keller, Knoxville, TN.
back view A back-view of the Kron/Texans Inc. bird.
Kron Signature The ®Kron marking is prominently displayed on the back.
Texans Inc. Crouching Panther value:  rarity:
This is the A505 Panther TV Lamp, one of the few TV lamps made by Texans Incorporated that 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.
Mar-Lita Hunting Dog value:  rarity:
Mar-Lita Lamp Co. only marked their products with a stamp on the felt base, missing from this example. As a result, it's unclear whether this hunting dog was made at Mar-Lita's Kentucky facility or at Texans Incorporated, a company that Mar-Lita assisted with plant setup and designs in '52-'53. Photos courtesy of Fran from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Mar-Lita Hunting Dog Back-view of the Texans/Mar-Lita hunting dog TV lamp.
Mar-Lita Hunting Dog Not a intricate design, it's nevertheless a skillfully sculpted and attractive lamp.
Kron TV lamp value:  rarity:
This one isn't a visual stand-out, but it's certainly rare! At 18½" tall, it is big, too. It's one of the last TV lamps produced by Texans Inc., not produced until the late '60s or early '70s. Photos courtesy of an eBay seller from Lubbock, Texas.
Kron TV lamp Here's a back view. The rather colonial styling and cylindrical form makes this Kron TV lamp look more like a table lamp base.
Kron TV lamp The openings that facilitate the illumination aren't particularly effective which, along with the late manufacture, could explain the limited production of this design.
Kron TV lamp It has the usual Kron marking.
Kron TV lamp value:  rarity:
Also rare and similar in styling to the one above, this Kron reading lamp could mount on the wall or hang on the headboard of a bed. Photos courtesy of Wanda from Caldwell, Texas.
Kron TV lamp The hanging hooks are visible from this angle, as is the Kron marking.
Kron TV lamp This view from the underside shows the light fixture.
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.
Mar-Lita/Texans Sailfish TV Lamp value:  rarity:
This seldom-seen sailfish TV lamp is another "pre-Kron" design that was made by both Mar-Lita and Texans Incorporated. Like all the early designs, these went through a design evolution, with variations in the "cut-outs" that direct the lighting. Photos courtesy of David Cole from Bangs, Texas.
Mar-Lita/Texans Sailfish TV Lamp Back-view of the Mar-Lita/Texans sailfish TV lamp.

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