Let There Be Light

One of my personal favorite Breyer items is the lamps that were produced with their models.  Most of these products were not considered official releases as Breyer did not make nor market the lamps, and only provided the models for other companies to attach to their products.  Some are recognized in the Breyer ‘canon’ so to speak, particularly those that were marketed by the lamp companies as a separate product line or item with the Breyer name attached.  They were advertised and sold through a variety of locations, such as the Montgommery Wards catalog and the Miller-Stockmans mail order catalog.

The first of the quasi-official releases were made by Dunning Industries for a product line called Ranch Craft Originals.  The most well known of these had woodgrain models attached which are now recognized as being special run models made only for the lamp company.  They were made from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, which was after most woodgrain models had been discontinued.

Woodgrain Running Mare and Foal Lamp

One of the most common of these lamps is the Running Mare and Foal in woodgrain.  Ranchcraft lamps are all mounted on a wooden base with the detailed edge, brass pole and burlap shade.  The base may have scalloped edge, rounded corners or sometimes rope glued to the edge.  The base is covered in felt, usually brown, and the model is usually screwed on to the base although they may also be nailed.

Ranchcraft lamps

Here we see another commonly found woodgrain lamp, the Family Arabian Foal.  On the right is a bay Clydesdale Stallion lamp, with replacement shade.  You can see the bases are slightly different colors, but both have similar edge details.  The non-woodgrain models are actually harder to find, but the collector cachet of the woodgrains tends to keep the prices higher for these lamps than for those with realistically colored models.

Glen Tek Silky Sullivan Lamp

Of the Breyer lamps, my personal favorite are those made by Glen-Tek.  These lamps were made in the mid-1980s with mostly classic size molds.  They are on wooden bases, with a metal pole, and have been found with a variety of shades, all clip-on style.  The base edge is usually painted a complimentary color and they will frequently have a small added detail on the base such as a fence, circus drum or water pump.

Glen Tek Family Arab Foal Lamp

This is a palomino Family Arabian Foal lamp, with the complimentary colored base edge and water pump with water bucket detail.  They also have small balls on the bottom corners of the base to set the lamp slightly up off the surface they are sitting on (you can’t really see in this picture as it is sitting on carpet).  All these lamps will have a sticker stating it is a ‘Portable Lamp’ made by ‘Glen-Tek Scientific Company’.

Breyer Poodle Lamp

This is a very cool Poodle lamp on metal base with woven fiber shade.  I bought it at Breyerfest many years ago, had many friends look at it, and we still aren’t sure who made it or if there are more out there.  The slightly more common, but still very rare, Poodle lamps are on metal mesh bases where the light bulb is in the base and the poodle sits on top.

Breyer Fury Lamp

This is another fun one, the palomino Fury Prancer lamp.  It has been found with palomino and brown prancers, with the western snap saddle and can be found with riders.  The base is painted plaster and the shade has a two-tone image of Fury with rider in the desert.  These models were made in the mid-1950s, so that is likely when the lamps were made as well.

I hope this piqued your interest in this bit of Breyer history.  There is a very good blog post on the subject of Ranch Craft lamps by the Breyer History Diva at http://breyerhistorydiva.blogspot.com/2009/05/ranchcraft-lamps.html.  There isn’t a lot more information out there.  If you have a favorite lamp or something unusual, let me know in the comments and we can investigate!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Let There Be Light

  1. Sande Schneider

    Montgomery Ward’s 1955 Christmas catalog offered a Davy Crockett lamp featuring Breyer’s Crockett rider & brown Fury Prancer horse mounted on the plaster ‘desert’ base with the parchment silhouette scene lampshade. Price then was $7.98.
    Spiegel’s 1961 Christmas catalog offered a lamp with a rectangular wooden base (looks black in the full color ad) and a white fabric shade featuring a Breyer Poodle on the lamp base. The catalog ad pictures a white Poodle but the description offers buyer’s choice of a black or a white Poodle. The shade is shown decorated with a small black silhouette of a cartoonish looking poodle. Price then was $9.94.

    • Excellent – thanks for the info Sande. I don’t think I have seen a Ranch Craft lamp with poodle before, that would be neat with the original shade. Oh for a time machine to go back to these prices!

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