Monday, November 18, 2013

Easy On The Eyes

My birthday was in September and I received some money as a present. I think money is the perfect gift to ask for as gifts for birthdays and Christmas (unless you have a specific gift in mind) because it is always the right color or size (and you do not have to wait in line to return it if need be).
A couple of weeks after my birthday the money began to burn a hole in my pocket. I still did not know exactly what I wanted to get with my money but as I was out and about one day I passed a store that I had been wanting to visit for some time. This store.

Every time I passed this store (with or without The Colonel) I had the desire to see what was inside. I happened to be sans The Colonel the day I finally entered the establishment. With a store front like this how could I not eventually succumb to that desire?
The store inside was a sight to behold. It was bursting at the seams with all kinds of items, most of which were nautical in nature (no surprise there). There were items hanging from the ceiling, walls and on shelves. I felt as if I was in a hoarder's house (but one who was willing to part with their hoarded items for the right price).
I took my time as I weaved in and out of narrow aisles, looking up and down...I did not want to miss a thing (but I probably did...there was so much to see in the store).
I saw an old and interesting item on one of the shelves in the back of the store. I thought it was a pretty, green vase with a shell design on it.  As I picked it up I noticed it had an old light socket and electrical cord attached behind the vase.
I took the vase/lamp up to the counter and had the man there plug it in for me (after he found a light bulb) to see if it worked. It did.
I had the perfect place to put my new purchase. I would put it on my kitchen counter, put some artificial red coral in the vase and use it as an accent light. I had The Colonel help me to rewire the lamp with a new cord and socket because the old ones delivered an unpleasant shock every time I switched the lamp on or off (to be expected from old wiring). 
I knew my new vase/lamp was old but I didn't know exactly how old. I also didn't know exactly what it was or what it was used for until my aunt and uncle from Indiana stopped by for lunch and a short visit (they were staying in their condo south of here).
My aunt said she was sure that my vase/lamp was a Television Lamp. Of course I googled it when they left.
Television was introduced in 1946 but 1949 began the "television boom" when 940,000 households in America had a set positioned front and center in their living rooms. By 1953, around 20 million households had a television set.
I would bet that most everyone has photos similar to these in their family album.

When you looked at these old black and white pictures did you notice that each television had a Television Lamp sitting on it? Go ahead, look again if you need to, I'll wait.

When television was new, everyone was used to watching movies in darkened theaters, so they would watch their televisions in their darkened living rooms. Television Lamps were created to help guard against eye strain. It was believed that the ambient light would reduce eye strain and permit "guilt-free" viewing.

Soon Television Lamps were a must have and hundreds of companies began making them in thousands of designs. They were mostly made out of ceramic with shiny glazes. The lamps were made to look like animals (horses, dogs, deer, birds, panthers, fish), people (usually oriental in theme or mermaids) and natural or abstract designs. The Television Lamp "craze" lasted about 10 years.

When I searched the lamps on line I saw that there are special websites dedicated to those who collect them. I was amazed at how many lamps are still around and how many different designs there are. I did not see another like mine.

While I find Television Lamps interesting and all of their various designs as lovely, functional pieces of art, I do not think I will become a collector of them (my house could then become as cluttered as the store in which I found my new lamp).

A couple of pieces of television trivia before I leave you...

RCA introduced the color television in 1953 and the first television remote control was introduced in 1956, it was called "Lazy Bones".