I have an unusual ceramic and fiberglass lamp, measuring 10 wide by 5 deep by 111⁄2 high. Can you shed some light on its origin?
— R. E., Hatton, N.D.
Your art deco-style lamp, made by Rock Island, based in Illinois, is actually from the 1950s. When television first arrived in American homes, people watched it in the dark. Besides making the images easier to see, darkness created the illusion that you were in a movie theater. However, concerns quickly developed that watching TV in the dark would ruin peoples vision. The result? The development of the television lamp, which had a low-wattage bulb just enough to shine a bit of light in the room. By the early 1960s, TV technology came out of its dark age: The brightness of the tube improved. The picture was clear and easy to see, and such lamps faded from use. Estimated value: Between $100 and $125.
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