Collectors are often faced with more questions than answers when attempting to identify their TV lamps, but many manufacturers did mark their work, if only sporadically. Several methods of placing the makers name on pottery have been used. Die-impressing, whereby the marking is pressed into the piece while it is in the “greenware” state, are permanent. But the use of paper or foil labels gained favor in the ’50s, and these were subject to deterioration, or removal, over time.
The addition of markings on pottery, and TV lamps in particular, had several purposes. They can denote the company name and/or place of manufacture, indicate the year (of design, copyright or manufacture), credit the designer, display in-house model designations, or carry the Underwriters Laboratories certification. (the “UL” marking indicates approval by Underwriters Laboratories) All of these tidbits of information have been applied to TV lamps in every conceivable combination, and exactly what information is being conveyed can be unclear. Below are some examples of various markings and their significance.
Lane & Co. label Royal Haeger label
Here is two examples of foil labels, both indicating the manufacturers name and location of manufacture. Lane & Co. and Haeger Potteries were among the many companies that began using these in the ’50s.
One of the oldest forms of “branding” ceramic products, this is an ink stamp, although Jacquelin used them in a decidedly untraditional way. Typically applied to an unglazed portion of a ceramic item, Jacquelin stamped them to the smooth, glazed surface, a technique that resulted in poor adhesion. These markings are usually partially, or completely, worn away. It indicates the maker, and includes the name and number of the particular design.
Texans Inc. stamp
Ink stamps were also applied to the protective felt base, as illustrated here by a Texans Incorporated stamp, a marking that is found on many Kron TV lamps.
On another Kron TV lamp we see the designers name proudly displayed. This name was sculpted into the original clay model, and transferred from there to the mold and then to the final product.
Fuhry & Sons label
This Fuhry & Sons TV lamp has a large paper label, this one being in unusually good condition. They used this space to declare the company name as well as the recommended bulb wattage.
Maddux UL label
One of the most frequently found paper labels is the one declaring the lamp “UL listed”. Sometimes potteries would place their company name on the same sticker, as did Maddux of California on this example.
These “hang tags” are normally long-gone, but can add significantly to the value of a TV lamp, particularly if TV lamp-specific references are made.
Richard Gunter autograph
While you’re not apt to come across one of these, a lamp autographed by a designer or employee is certainly a prized marking.