April 21, 2024

A treasure trove of “lost” Haeger TV lamps

In the summer of 2007 my good friend Charlene “Char” Korcz met me and the family at Haeger Potteries in Dundee, Illinois, which was just a couple of miles from her home in Carpentersville. That vacation had morphed into a connect-the-dots of midwestern pottery hotspots (we had just visited with Doris and Burdell Hall in Morton, Illinois) and we couldn’t pass up Char’s offer to show us her “home pottery”. Char had made many friends at Haeger during her frequent visits and saw to it that we were given the grand tour. We couldn’t have asked for a better hostess. She introduced us to a number of employees, and we were taken on a walk-through of their in-house museum, a truly fabulous display of history. It was an experience I’ll always remember fondly. We lost Char to cancer just a couple of months later, and we’ll never forget her friendship and the lengths she went to in arranging our reception at Haeger. Something that she had mentioned during our visit was a book, Haeger Potteries Through the Years by David D. Dilley. She stressed that this was the book that even the folk at Haeger referred to, and was a must-have. In her words, “this is our bible”. Well, by sheer coincidence I came across a copy in an antique shop on our drive back to Texas, and after having studied the volume I could see that Char’s enthusiasm was warranted. I have a great appreciation for any pottery reference book, and this one is excellent, not because of the text (there is none, except for captions), but because of the many catalog pages that are reproduced. Dilley’s book makes one thing obvious, that the volume and variety of Haeger’s output was staggering. I could not believe how many TV lamps were made by the company, and how many I’ve yet to see outside of this book. I cannot scan the lamps shown in the book for inclusion here, but I will list some (and the page on which they appear) that are of particular interest:

From page 79
Bell Flower TV lamp
Globe Reflector TV lamp
2 Stag TV Lamp/Planter
Freeform Lantern TV Lamp/Planter
Pagoda TV Lamp/Planter

Pg. 87
Brass Hook TV Lamp
Oriental Sampan Planter/TV Lamp

Pg. 98
Dachshund TV Lamp
Scottie TV Lamp

Pg. 99
Goya TV Lamp (a cylindrical design, available with different fabric/fiberglass shades)

Pg. 100
Fish Shadow Box TV Lamp
Greenwich TV Lamp
Wild Horses TV Lamp

Pg. 103
Donkey Planter/TV Lamp
Horse TV Lamp (horse head)

Pg. 116
An un-named TV lamp, model #6632TV

Pg. 119
Oriental Burner TV Lamp
Two Panther TV Lamp (has fiberglass background/shade)

Those eighteen TV lamps are by no means the only ones shown, but are just the lamps that I’ve never seen. I’ve been collecting a good while now, so learning that so many TV lamps, from a major manufacturer, have flown under my radar is quite a surprise. I guess it’s finds like this that keep me interested! The book, incidentally, is still available, and can be found on amazon.com.

June 17, 2009
The cost of a TV lamp, then and now.
I was on one of my favorite websites yesterday (Shorpy.com), and someone commented about the cost of a particular automobile (the Apperson 8) in 1921. To determine the cost of that car in today’s dollars they ran it through an “inflation calculator”, and that got me thinking. After a little Googling I had found a number of such calculators, and decided to see how TV lamps stack up when corrected for inflation. The tricky part is getting the old prices: What was the retail cost of a new TV lamp in the ’50s? I know a few for certain, the ever-popular lamps of Phil-Mar. A Phil-Mar catalog was offered on eBay a couple of years ago, the list price on a number of their TV lamps is shown to be $4.95. Bargain, right? The year that the catalog was published is unknown, but for arguements sake I’m going to say 1956. Well boys and girls, in 2009 those same lamps would cost you $38.81. The interesting part is how the individual lamps are valued today as compared to their inflation-adjusted value. The “Mare and Colt” was one of Phil-Mar’s biggest sellers and common today, so the $38.81 isn’t far off. But the Double Panthers does better, and is now worth probably $65 or so. And how about the Racing Hounds? A desirable lamp today, because of the subject-matter and it’s frequent mis-attribution to Haeger Potteries, is valued at around $115 or so. What does this tell us? I’m not sure, but I know one thing, if time-travel becomes a reality I’ll sure know which lamps to bring back with me!