Banker's Lamp

Harrison D. McFaddin               1909               Desk Lamp

When banks started to care about their employees’ efficiency and so focused on creating a better work environment, the time was right for this American engineer to create a lamp with a shade as green as the visors of the people counting money. Even before today’s work standard requirements that there not be strong contrasts of illumination, the direct light cast around the lamp’s base was easy on the eyes with the softly glowing eponymous emerald colored shade creating the perfect atmosphere for reading, writing and other office duties. Over time, variations on the design have been produced, with accessory holders integrated in the base, different decorative styles and shade colors, but the basic ‘Emeralite’ lamp proved to be the most successful version, popular not only in banks but also in libraries, offices and homes. The adjustable double layer glass lampshade was manufactured by specialists in Moravia, today the Czech Republic, and subsequently exported to America. International shipping was heavily compromised during World War II, nearly causing the company’s undoing. The founder decided to retire and his successor went on to produce other models. Today, several companies manufacture replicas, which still sell very well.

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