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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Marbro Lamp Company

The Marbro Lamp Company was started in Los Angeles by Morris Markoff and his brother shortly after World War II. Their lamps were sold through interior decorators and exclusive furniture stores. Most were one-of-a-kind and took 75 to 90 days to complete.

For the most part, the lamp bodies were not made on-site. The company procured alabaster and handblown glass bodies from Italy, porcelain from Japan and China, brass from India and crystal from Germany and France. Lamps were also made from sculptures provided by customers.

Once the lamp bodies arrived at the plant, Marbro employees made the bases and shades. Marbro wanted only the most experienced artisans, so most workers were 50 years of age or older. This unique group of talented craftsmen created extremely high quality pieces that sold for as much as $4000.

Because of the company's history and the quality of their product, Marbro lamps are highly collectible today.

From ezinearticles.com and swanklighting.com


svpply.com

swanklighting.com

vandm.com

1stdibs.com

1stdibs.com

16 comments:

  1. oh my god!! each and every piece is so desirable...cant have them all though :(

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  2. So gorgeous and what a different way of thinking: experience workers. It seems that today people's experience is not always respected as newer, younger (cheaper) workers are ushered in.

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  3. Wow! What a truly designer product. I love those green lamps. The shapes, the shade of green, the shades themselves. Gorgeous. I'm off to catch up on all your other amazing posts! I've been out of town and am seriously in need of some vintage love right now =)

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  4. @Flo: Yes, a $4000 lamp is expensive by today's standards, but by 1950s and 1960s standards, when you could buy a Corvette for less than $5000, it's understandable that a most of their customers were movie stars and millionaires who could afford one-of-a-kind pieces.

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  5. @Tanya: You're right. These days companies are far more concerned with the bottom line than with quality.

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  6. @Sudha: I'd be happy if I just had the ones on the bottom. :)

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    1. I have one that says Marbro, it's green & I couldn't get $175 on eBay for it. It's in great condition so I guess there just not selling now. I see others at $5000 +

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    2. I have a feeling that's the type of thing that would have to be sold on 1stdibs for top dollar. There are collectors with that kind of money, but they usually have decorators buying for them, and decorators are looking in stores, at auctions or on 1stdibs, not on eBay.

      We sold a dining set the other day for many, many thousands of dollars...to a collector. I doubt that the set would have sold on eBay either. Most buyers wouldn't have known what it was, as the the set was extremely rare.

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  7. I have a tea saucer and in it the stem is connected to the small steeper pot, it says Marbro Lamp Italy 7078. It is ceramic,china,porcelain? The handle goues from the saucer to the mini steeper pot with a spout. Does anyone know of Marbro making this kind of stuff? Your help would be greatly appreciated

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    1. Sorry...I know very little more about Marbro than what I posted here. I hope someone can offer more information.

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  8. I have a Marbro floor lamp that looks like it has some alabaster on the base. I cannot find another one like it. The person I bought it from called it a tourtiere. It is absolutely beautiful. Do you have an email address I could send a photo to so perhaps you could give me more information on it? I'd love to know it's value.
    Lori in Oregon

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    1. Lori, the extent of my knowledge about Marbro lamps is what you see in this post. I think the seller meant "torchiere," rather than "tourtiere." If you do a Google image search of "Marbro torchiere," you might be able to find what you're looking for. I don't know who is considered the country's foremost lighting expert.

      I did find a site that might help you though.

      http://goo.gl/3LMIqd

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  9. I have just bought one of the prized harlequin lamps by Marbro....someone did a horrid repaint but I found a skilled chalkware restoration company who can bring it back to being used/displayed....I am thrilled!

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    1. How fantastic that it can be restored! It's really a shame that so many pieces from that era met with the paint can. I admit to painting a few myself back in the 1960s when I was a newlywed and considered them "just grandma's out-of-style hand-me-downs."

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  10. I have a rare marbro lamp for sale
    Rare I can't find 1 on the entire websites.nobody has this lamp.

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    1. email me a picture of your lamp to:

      pilamikala@yahoo.com

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