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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Texans, Inc.

While the 1950s are often regarded as an era of prosperity, the conditions in and around Bangs, Texas were dismal indeed. Experiencing what is today considered "the drought of record", the years between 1950 and 1956 saw annual rainfall drop to less than half of the average. Before the drought had subsided, all but ten Texas counties were declared disaster areas.

Survival was dependent on action, and a far-reaching plan was conceived in May of 1951. The authors of this proposition were key figures in Bangs: T.M. "Tommy" Young, a druggist, Thomas Levisay, a local grocer, Oren Bauer, hardware merchant, Raymond Morgan, banker, and Forrest Kyle, publisher of the Brown County Gazette, and in July of 1951 a new corporation, Texans Inc., was granted a charter with $100,000 of capital stock.

In March of 1952, the plant was completed and an open house celebration was held with over 3000 people in attendance. The event brought the community together, not just for a celebration, but in the knowledge that they were going to make a difference.

The fully operational factory had 25,000 square feet of workspace, two 12 ton mixing tanks, a 30 ton slip tank and an enormous 70 foot tunnel kiln, capable of producing 2,000 lamps per day. An adjacent building was already under construction to house the Mar-Lita Lamp Company, which would be the assembly and sales branch of the new company, purchasing all of Texans production. A third building for lampshade manufacture was in the planning stages, and a fourth for the manufacture of novelty tables was also being considered.

After some internal strife and the dissolution of Mar-Lita, which necessitated some personnel changes, the Texas Ceramic Studio took over duties previously performed by Mar-Lita, including shade manufacture, and Howard Kron took over design duties.

Kron began his pottery design career in California, creating various products at Haldeman Potteries during the late '30s. During the 1940s he was designer and ceramics engineer for Midwest Pottery in Tyler, Texas. Upon the closing of Midwest Pottery, Kron did some design work for nearby Gilmer Pottery, in Gilmer, Texas*, sculpting new designs and making master molds from his garage, traveling to the pottery as needed. Tyler native Richard Gunter expressed interest in learning the craft, and began to assist in Kron's mold making. For over 25 years the pair were the creative minds behind the products of Texans Inc.

*Gilmer, Texas, is my hometown.

From and

Richard Gunter, Pete Eads, and Howard Kron

Texas Ceramic Studio catalog

Three Horses lamp

Dancers lamp

Pink lamp


  1. There is something irresistable about vintage lamps!

  2. I think, for me, they epitomize the wonder (and a little bit of nervousness) we all felt back then at the new inventions springing up everywhere. For all the talk of Don Draperish sophistication of the era, adults and children alike were awestruck by televisions, automatic washers and space ships. We've come a long way from saying "Watching TV in the dark will hurt your eyes" to "Honey, we really need a new flatscreen. This 50" is entirely too small."

  3. LOL! That 50" IS too small.

  4. hahaha So you recognized yourself immediately, huh?