Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Smart ephemera discovery in York

While many of us are scrambling in the final week leading up to Christmas1, Smart magazine editor Kara Eberle is way ahead of the game, already working on preparations for Christmas 2012.

As she writes on her blog:
"We produce each issue of Smart about two months before it hits your mailbox, so we’re always off by a season. It leads to some interesting challenges, and I learned that I need to work a year ahead if I want Smart to reflect the appropriate seasons. This means I have to find beautiful homes decked out for the holidays now, so I will have Christmas decor2 in the holiday 2012 issue."
Kara was recently interviewing a York County interior designer for that 2012 holiday issue. That's when she made her ephemera discovery.

In an email, she writes: "[He] had these super cool lamps that look green when they're lit, but white when off. I asked him for information on them, and he pulled this tag from underneath the lamp. Oh, how I love hidden treasures! It's a book about the lamp and how to care for it. He had kept the books for each of the two lamps. ... (Unfortunately), we couldn't find any dates on them. He thinks they're from the '40s, but that was just a guess."

Kara's photo of one of the lamp tags is at the top of today's entry. And here's a peek inside one of the booklets:

Here are some things I tracked down about Rembrandt Lamps:
  • "The Sentinel's History of Chicago Jewry, 1911-1961" states that "among the largest manufacturers is the Rembrandt Lamp Corp. This company was formed in 1924 by Albert Witz, Louis Brosilow, and William Markoff, in a consolidation of two companies. Witz was president of Rembrandt from 1924 to 1931..."
  • John Chuckman's blog of Chicago nostalgia and memorabilia includes a circa 1930 advertisement for Rembrandt Lamps. The ad copy states, in part, "The industry's greatest line -- over 500 designs for selection covering every lamp requirement -- priced within the reach of all."
  • A U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for Rembrandt Lamps Masterpieces on September 18, 1944.3 It was one of several associated trademarks once held by IIH Industries.
Here are side-by-side pictures of the Rembrandt Lamps Masterpieces lamp that the tag came from.

Much thanks to Kara for the cool ephemera find! Check out more nifty stuff on her Smart website.

1. No, I have not finished my shopping yet. For me, it's still early.
2. Speaking of Christmas decor, our family recently took a drive and enjoyed some of the holiday lights -- including a house with its own radio station -- around York County. Joan writes about it in this Only in York County post.
3. Another web page detailing the Rembrandt Lamps Masterpieces trademark includes this line under "Consent": "The portrait forming part of the trade-mark is that of Rembrandt Harmanszoon van Rijn, deceased." They missed by one letter on the correct spelling of his name, which is Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.

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