This month and next Morty Weiss is sharing with us his collecting of the Shawnee lamp line:
"Shawnee lamps! Where to begin? With Juan Klinehoffer of course. Before his article in Pam Curran's NL (Feb 1992) a lot of Shawnee collectors did not know very much, if anything, about Shawnee lamp bases. He got our attention and my wife and I went lamp hunting and never stopped. I believe that to this day there are not too many serious Shawnee lamp collectors out there. Please email me and tell me I'm wrong.
Juan pointed out, in error, that some designs (e.g. Moor heads & Orientals), were produced by Shawnee with two different bottoms. In fact these were made by more than one pottery for lamp companies using their molds and color specs. Only the ones with the inner strength rings were made by Shawnee. The flat unglazed bottoms were not. A notable exception is the deer lamp. Collecting was never an exact science. It's an addictive challenge.
That summer we found two cold painted lamps with strength rings. The Elephant w/ball and the Duck w/drum. They were confirmed by Bernard Twigs, a former Shawnee Production Supervisor. The cold painted lamp bases were made in the 1940's and had Bakelite sockets (WW2 metal shortage). There were others in what some like to call The Circus Series - Clown, Monkey, Seal, Harlequin (or Jester), Bear (looks like a bear to Doug, so it's a bear) and Carousel Horse. Some are very hard to find. Bottoms have to be checked on all of these. Predominant colors are red and blue with some yellow and black. The Elephant that we first came upon was decorated with yellow only and is probably one of a kind.
More cold paints: The Stagecoach was discovered by Sandy Kightlinger (I believe). I was told she has a great lamp collection. It has a unique glazed bottom and no strength ring. We found's mate, the Locomotive (has a strength rim). Stagecoach is marked U.S.A. and the Loco is marked U.S.A. L-290. They are decorated with red and black paint.
Mother Goose was made with cold paint and then produced again some years later with underglaze decoration. Another great cold painted lamp is the Cowboy and Horse.
We have been able to acquire all of these lamps, except the seal, with 95-100% of the paint intact.
Credit where credit is due. Juan told us 15 yrs. ago that there was an Elephant and a Cowboy out there somewhere. I've heard talk about a Snowman. We are still looking.
I know I have only covered the cold painted 1940's. If Linda and Doug feel that there is enough interest in this subject I would be glad to expand on it when time permits.
Feel free if you have any questions.