Originally posted December 15, 2011, on the now-defunct Mid-Century Vibe blog.
We’re crazy for lamps and have several in our space at Rural Origins Antiques in Royalton, MN.
Here’s one of them:
Item: Hollywood Regency Revolv-a-Lite Lamp
Often when purchasing vintage lamps, we’ll find lamps without their shades or with replacement shades. This beauty has its original shade, which we discovered when we found a couple of ads from 1957 showing the lamp. You can see a copy of one of the ads in the picture, but here’s a link to another one in the Newspaper Archive. Finding an original ad for a vintage item is fabulous because it helps to date the item. In this case, the Newspaper Archive ad identifies General Electric as the manufacturer of this lamp. (Just found another ad in the Newspaper Archive for the same lamp.)
Incidentally, we found an identical shade without its lamp within about a week of finding this lamp. That serendipity happens to us on a surprisingly regular basis in this business.
The Revolv-a-Lite name refers to how the lamp is switched on and off – not by a knob under the shade, but by the black barrel switch you see in the middle of the lamp above. It’s a slick feature that allows for operation of a three-way bulb.
Hollywood Regency is a mid-century style that was meant to appeal to people who wanted a glamorous lifestyle, just like Hollywood actors. While the style supposedly started in the 1930s, it’s obvious from our lamp and its ads that it continued well into the 1950s. Often there are touches of gold and graceful curves in Hollywood Regency pieces.
For more on the Hollywood Regency style, check out these links:
[Addendum: Erik found the ad shown in the photo above for me. It's from the Cass City Chronicle, Cass City, Michigan, dated December 12, 1957. The newspaper is part of the Rawson Library's archives. Apparently just the Revolv-a-Lite switch is a GE product, not the whole lamp. The ad shows a heading that says "Designer Lamps with new Revolv-a-Lite switch. I can't tell whether "Designer Lamps" is a descriptor or a company name.]