June 20, 2024

Recommended Reading

Unfortunately, a comprehensive book on TV lamps has yet to be written, but there are several books that are useful and/or entertaining that I would like to recommend. Beyond TV lamps, I’m assuming that most collectors have at least some general interest in vintage lighting, American potteries, as well as mid-century design and culture, and the books listed here cover one or more of those topics. Any of these are a fine addition to the TV lamp collectors library.

Turned On: Decorative Lamps of the ‘Fifties
by Leland & Crystal Payton

Written with intelligence and humor, the Paytons book covers all types of ’50s lamps. While TV lamps are only a small portion of what’s covered, this book deserves a lot of the credit for putting the TV lamp craze in motion. This 1989 publication gets my highest recommendation, and is a worthwhile addition to any serious TV lamp collector’s library. While hard to find these days, it does show up on eBay occasionally.
TV Lamps Identification and Value Guide
by Tom Santiso

In the past this book was often quoted by sellers regarding TV lamp pricing, no doubt because the indicated values were rather high for the time. Containing a large number of good color photographs, it was published in 1999 and is currently out of print. It is getting increasingly difficult to find, but will appear from time-to-time on eBay.
50s T.V. Lamps
by Calvin Shepherd

Probably my favorite TV lamp-specific book, it has plenty of high-quality color photographs and many of the lamps are identified as to their maker. First published in 1998, it is currently available from Schiffer Publishing.
TV Lamps to Light the World
by John A. Schuman III

The most recent book on TV lamps (released mid-2006), this is the first new publication to specifically target the subject in years. Similar to the books that came before, “Light the World” does contain a bit more information than the others. It is available from Collector Books.
Pedlar of Dreams
The Story of Howard Kron and Texans Incorporated
by Mark Stevens

A look at the life and ceramic art of Howard Kron, designer of many collectible TV lamps. The book is a revealing study of Kron’s work at Texans Incorporated, and provides insight into the various designs, their history and values. Written by yours truly, I think this is the best book I’ve ever written. Wait… it’s the only book I’ve written! Available from Barnes & Noble or amazon.com. Pedlar of Dreams, by Mark Stevens
California Potteries
The Complete Book
by Mike Schneider

While perhaps not as comprehensive as the title implies (its focus is exclusively on figurines), this is an excellent look at the the California Potteries, including many of the lesser-known makers. Available from Schiffer Publishing.
TV Wonderland
The Enchantment of Early Television
by Brad & Debra Schepp

One can’t be a TV lamp enthusiast without having a certain fascination with the formative period of television. TV Wonderland is an entertaining and informative look at those early days. Available from the publisher, Collectors Press, or from Barnes & Noble.
American Art Pottery
by Lucile Henzke

Lucile Henzke wrote numerous books on pottery over the years, including this fine publication from 1970. It contains marvelous chapters on Weller, Rookwood and Roseville, and covers many other potteries as well. Given the age of this book there’s a surprising number of them around… just keep an eye on eBay!
Alamo Pottery
The Complete Collector’s Guide
by N. Perryman Collins

This new release is a marvelous look at the history and products of Alamo Pottery. Also included is the story of Gilmer Pottery, a company that was formed from the ashes of Alamo Pottery. A fascinating in-depth read, it has many photos and catalog reproductions. Available through alamopotterybook.com.
Collector’s Encyclopedia of
Rosemeade Pottery
by Darlene Hurst Dommel

A marvelous book that is just about the only published source of information regarding Rosemeade pottery. I was certainly surprised to see some of the TV lamps they produced. Unfortunately it’s out of print, and copies command a premium.
Collectors Guide to
Motion Lamps
by Sam and Anna Samuelian

The Collectors Guide to Motion Lamps goes into the history of the lamps and the companies that made them, and is a must-have for motion lamp enthusiasts. I cannot overstate the quality of this book, as it is as comprehensive as any publication ever released pertaining to vintage collectibles. Originally published in 1998, it is unfortunately out of print. Cherished by collectors, copies are as valuable as the lamps themselves!
Royal Copley
Identification and Price Guide
by Mike Schneider

Considering how popular Royal Copley seems to be with collectors, it’s suprising that this is one of the only books ever written on the subject. Fortunately it’s a good one, written by the author of California Potteries: The Complete Book. Although it was released in ’95, it’s still available from Schiffer Publishing.
Morton Potteries: 99 Years, Vol. 2
by Doris and Burdell Hall

This book is an enthusiastic, in-depth history of the potteries that once thrived in Morton, Illinois. It is an informative, highly enjoyable read that I recommend highly! First published in 1995, you can still order this book from the authors.
McCoy Pottery
4th Edition
by Jeffrey B. Snyder

The popularity of McCoy pottery has sparked many books on the subject, and this is one of the better ones. You can get it from Schiffer Publishing.
Sanfords Guide to McCoy Pottery
by Martha and Steve Sanford

This 1997 book is still the definitive book on McCoy pottery, including the various lamps produced by the company. You can get it at Amazon.com.
The Book of Tiki
by Sven Kirsten

Can someone named “Sven” write a competent book on the tiki phemonenon? You bet! This is one of the most entertaining books ever written on a mid-century theme, and is chock-full of great photos and illustrations. It is available from Amazon.com.
American Potters and Pottery
by John Ramsay

If you’re a fan of vintage pottery you’re apt to appreciate vintage pottery books, and this one is a real classic. Released by Tudor Publishing in 1947, it goes waaaay back. Long out of print, a copy will surface on eBay every once in a while.
Lamps of the 50s & 60s
by Jan Lindenberger

Like the Payton book, this one includes every type of lamp. It’s filled with a marvelous collection of photographs, and is a particularly fine resource for mid-century table lamps, but there’s no information to identify the manufacturers. Currently available from Schiffer Publishing.
Mid-Century Modern
by Cara Greenberg

Not too much pottery in this one, but those who dig ’50s design will love it! An interesting out-of-print book from 1984, you’ll find one if you search a bit.
Shawnee Pottery
The Full Encyclopedia
by Pam Curran

Shawnee isn’t known for lamps and don’t appear to have made TV lamps at all, but they are popular with many collectors of vintage pottery. This is a fine, comprehensive volume that is a must-have for Shawnee enthusiasts. First published in 1995, it is still available from Schiffer Publishing.
The House of Haeger
1944-1969, The Post War Era
by Joe and Joyce Paradis

Anyone with an interest in mid-century pottery will find this a fascinating read. It’s full of gorgeous color photos, and the authors definitely did their homework. Of all the books on Haeger, this one is of the greatest interest to the TV lamp collector. I have total faith in their attributions, and recommend it very highly. Published in 2004, it’s available everywhere, including Schiffer Publishing.
Lamplighters All!
A History of the Lamp Business
by J. Herbert Smythe and F. Victor Christy

If you’re really into vintage lamps, you might try to get your hands on a copy of this one. It’s an in-depth look at the electric lamp business, and spans the transition from gas and kerosene lighting all the way through the ’50s. Co-author J. Herbert Smythe was the Editor and Publisher of the trade publication Lamp Journal, and this book is a compilation of articles that appeared in the magazine. Long out of print (mine is copyright 1960), it’s rather hard to find.