Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Collecting 1950's T.V. Lamps

Kitschy 1950s T.V. Lamps For Your Retro Style Home

Talk about kitsch...what do you think of these whimsical 1950's T.V. lamps? And what about the cheesy (but adorable) combo T.V. lamp and planter (shown below) ?

T.V. Lamps History
Indirect Light Used In 1950s Living Rooms

Back in the fifties when watching T.V. was becoming a household leisure activity folks generally gathered in the living room to watch T.V. on small sets with hard to see pictures.. It was believed that watching television in a darkened room would hurt the eyes, so many families used T.V. lamps that were "backlit' to add some soft light to the room.

Adjusting The T.V. Lamp Antenna

My friend Cindy who owns The Collinsville Antiques Company Of New Hartford convinced me that the T.V. lamps were needed because you were always playing with the antennas and you needed to see what the heck you were doing.

Whatever the reason for the popularity of T.V. lamps in the 50s, there were oodles of them made, Now there are plenty of passionate collectors who want to get their hands on these indirect kooky lamps which can sell for $25.00-85.00 and higher depending on rarity, theme, condition, region.

Many of these lamps had ceramic bases that were also planters or clocks (See Green lamp shown) from http://www.etsy.com/people/AriesgirlVintage .

While most lamps are made of ceramic, you wil also find other materials such as Chalkware, Plaster and China.

Styles of 1950's T.V. Lamps

You will find ceramic T.V. lamp planters in a variety of styles such as panthers, poodles, roosters, fish, stallions, birds, deer, nautical, dancers, swans, flowers, fruit, shells, plant life, fish, bulls, ducks,owl, dogs, musical themes, trains Oriental themes, Western themes , and more. Read http://www.tvlamps.net/category.html
Meet T.V. Lamp Collector Mark Stevens

Avid collector Mark Stevens was interviewed by Collector's Weekly and is convinced that the panther and exotic designs back in the 50s. He states: "I have a theory as to why those were the most popular. In the 1950s there was a good deal of interest in anything that had a touch of the exotic. Part of this had to do with an influence from soldiers coming back from World War II. So in the 1950s you have people all of a sudden interested in Oriental, Africa, Polynesian, and French motifs, basically anything that represented a foreign culture became very popular. A panther kind of fit in with all that, an exotic animal from a foreign land."

Indirect Light And T.V. Lamps

Typically the base is made out of high gloss ceramics and the bulb is hidden behind the base or in a attached cylinder .Unlike a regular light that had a shade, often these T.V.lamps/planters gave off a soft glow to protect the eyes from bright light.

T.V. Light Manufacturers

According to the website http://booksfyi.blogspot.com/2009/07/collectibles-corner-vintage-tv-lamps.html"it is estimated that there were 75- 100 manufacturers of these kitschy lamps including Haeger, Kron, Lane of van Nuys, California Originals, Gonder, Maddux, Hollywood Ceramics, McCoy, Treasure Craft, and others". For an extensive list of manufacturers click here: http://www.tvlamps.net/manufacturers.html
The T.V. lamp was generally placed on top of the T.V. set or on a nearby table.

Collector Mark Steven suggests reading:

Turned On: Decorative Lamps of the 50s
by Leland and Crystal Payton, has been out of print for years but can be found on eBay. Other TV Lamp books are, 50s TV Lamps by Calvin Shepherd, and one called TV Lamps: Identification and Value Guide by Tom Santiso. Both those books were written in 1998 or 99 and there is one other book that is newer called TV Lamps to Light the World by John A. Shuman.


You can find Steven's interview at http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/an-interview-with-1950s-tv-lamp-collector-mark-stevens/

Read More at: http://www.tvlamps.net/blog/category/lamp-history/

Collie lamp and Oriental Theme photos courtesy of http://booksfyi.blogspot.com/2009/07/collectibles-corner-vintage-tv-lamps.html



C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of Iantiqueonline.com an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.comVisit my website, CDianneZweig.comDianne is a member of:The American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThe Authors Guild, Inc.

1 comment:

  1. TV lamps are so pretty. I saw a deer one at an auction and thought it would go to high in price and then wanted to kick myself when I didn't stay and it went for $3 !!!