1950's Ceramic and Fiberglass TV Lamp
A black and gold glazed ceramic television lamp with 2 piece fiberglass shade. Very good, working vintage condition. Fade to top portion of shade. Dimensions H 9 in. x Dm 11.75 in.
In the 1950s, the first decade of mass television adoption, there was a common belief that watching TV in low light could damage one's eyesight. But early televisions, with their dull luminescence, were best viewed in the dark. So the TV lamp was invented to add a little light to the room and dispel people’s fears. Originally a dime-store item which sold for as little as a $1.50, TV lamps were small figurine lamps styled to look like animals, people, plant life, or other objects. Lacking a shade like a normal lamp, the bulb created a silhouette of the lamp’s shape, casting its illumination on the wall behind the TV to create a kind of a mood lighting. Made for about a decade, these lamps surpassed their utilitarian purposes and were likely purchased as a trendy means of home decor—the TV top was yet another surface for a housewife to adorn. Some TV lamps were also planters, which people would water in spite of the lamp and plant’s proximity to electric wires. Others featured clocks and even radios. There were thousands of TV lamp designs, produced by at least 100 manufacturers. Often made of plaster, the most collectible TV lamps were ceramic. They came shaped as everything under the sun, many echoing the designs of ceramic figurines—leafy plants, pieces of fruit, dogs, birds, exotic and domestic cats, owls, deer, horses, mermaids, clowns, or Asian people in traditional dress. Inanimate objects were also popular, be it seashells, stagecoaches, wagon wheels, crystals, a moon and some stars, theatrical masks, accordions, or boats. Some of these vintage TV lamps are quite peculiar, and appeal to those who are drawn to "kitsch" and other oddities from the era, like sci-fi B-movies. Purely nostalgic collectors are attracted to TV lamps as a symbol of more innocent times. In addition, TV lamps are probably a close cousin to plaster figurative lamps, which proliferated in the United States in the 1940s and ’50s, and featured stereotypical characters.
Source: CW Collectors Weekly