Although there are several Archive posts showcasing some unusual or odd Cordey figurines, I decided that a similar post about Cordey lamps would be an interesting companion. A few of them still have their original lampshades, just as they were sold during the 1940s or 1950s.
We’ll start this overview with a bang, and a rather big one at that because this is the tallest Cordey table lamp that I have yet learned of. This lamp is 50 inches (4 feet, 2 inches) tall from the base to the top of the final! Placed on the table, as shown, the finial is 81” (almost seven feet) from the floor. Sincere thanks to the helpful Archive reader who provided the photos and dimensions of this lamp, which originally belonged to her grandmother.
This lamp is unusual because it’s a ‘stick lamp’ style, which Cordey rarely did. The appearance of the flower, especially the color of the center, is closest to a shasta daisy, so let’s call this a daisy lamp; a sunflower would have yellow petals and a black center. The lamp is 29” high overall, with the porcelain plus thus wood base being 13” high in total. It is a refreshing change from the typical Cordey ‘frills and furbelows’ look.
The flower molds are very close, but not an exact match, to a mold that was used as a ‘hat’ on one of the small Cordey lady bust figures. Many thanks to the helpful Archive reader who sent me photos of this lamp!
The cobalt-blue water-buffalo figurine was utilized as the bottom part of a Cordey trinket box (shown in my first Unusual Cordeys post), but has here been combined with a vase and a brass base to form a lamp. The lamp is 20” high from base to socket, and is 9” wide.
Chicken aficionados must have clucked with joy over this rooster lamp, which very likely also had a companion ‘hen’ lamp available; see this post for both of them as Cordey figurines. This lamp is unusual because it’s the only completely-white (no color decoration at all, not even a touch of gold accents) Cordey lamp that I’ve seen. Many thanks to Eleanor Beaver for bringing her auction find to my attention, and for sending photos!
Here it is shown with its original lampshade, which unfortunately was more heavily mildewed than it appears in this photo and so was not retained. (The color of the rooster appears grey because of the backdrop that the auctioneer used; in reality it is pure white, as is seen in the photo of the base detail.) The farmhouse/country-cottage vibe comes through loud and clear. The patterned shade is also unusual for Cordey lamps but it instantly explains why the rooster itself is plain white: A multi-color fowl would have competed for attention with the shade, and it’s not clear which would have ‘won’! The rooster himself is 14” tall (porcelain only), and the base is 2” thick. The lamp’s overall height is 30”, including a round glass finial that can be seen just peeking over the top edge of the original shade. Many thanks again, Eleanor!
I am perplexed as to how this double-arm lamp with purple roses would have looked when originally made: What kind of shade would have fit beneath the metal ‘leaves’ around the socket base? It wouldn’t have looked very attractive with no shade at all, one would think. The lamp is 22” high overall.
Speaking of purple, here’s a pair of lamps with a definite vineyard vibe: purple grapes and gold foliage. The foliage-and-grape-cluster motif is continued in the decorative band around the brass base. Although exact dimensions were not given, they are inferred by the lamps’ size relative to the 16-oz water bottle which is typically 8” tall. Using that as a scale, the lamps are about 24” tall from table top to the top edge of the porcelain. If you add another 12” for the socket, harp, and (one assumes) a finial, these lamps probably top out at between 36” and 40” overall….definitely not small.
Talk about unusual: How about a pair of Victorian-boots lamps?! These measure a bit more than 16” from the bottom (tabletop) to the flowers decorating the top edge of the boots. One of these lamps still had its original Cordey gummed sticker on the back of the heel section.
The unusual aspect of this Cordey lamp is not the porcelain, but the number of elements that were stacked atop each other in order to create the base. Starting from the top, we have a fairly common Cordey lady-bust figurine often seen on eBay which is 7” tall including her hat. Here she was placed atop a simple white-with-gold-trim porcelain base that is probably 1.5” (or at most 2”) high. That combo was put into a filigree-edge brass base that has four legs, each fronted by a rather beefy-looking …well, I’m not sure what to call these figures. Young Atlas? Wingless putti on steroids? Honestly, I have no clue. That whole assembly sits on an even larger brass base that is an astroid shape (not asteroid, as in the space object; a square having concave sides is called an astroid) but with squared-off ‘points.’ [That’s the end of the geometry lesson, I promise!] Anyway, this seems like a bit of overkill for such a small figurine-into-lamp design, doesn’t it? Yeesh.
Cordey’s popular bird-on-branch figurines are here transformed into blue-and-white lamps. They are 23 1/2″ tall overall, and 16 ¾” tall to the top of the socket. These would probably have ended up in a bedroom.
Blue-and-white flowers among blue/black/grey shaded leaves would have worked well in either a bedroom or living room during the 1950s.
In a similar monochromatic vein are these green and yellow-green roses. This was the best photo of the few that were included but this lamp is probably similar to the blue ones shown above in size.
I would bet money that this lamp is from the 1960s Schiller-Cordey era but am including it anyway because it’s so unusual. It is 26” high overall and is an inverted cone shape. Look at the detail photo showing how the leaves are ‘cut out’ from the mold surface. This is not easy to do without breaking during some stage of production if the material is porcelain rather than metal. The gold paint accents are very nicely done and enhance the 3-D effect even more.
What I’m not sure of is whether the gold flowers are metal or are gold-painted porcelain. My guess is that they are metal and that the red centers are some type of glass stone, because a zoom of the detail photo reveals a prong setting of some sort – which would not be needed if the flower was all one piece. This would be easy if the flower setting was all metal, but it could possibly also be done by embedding a prong setting into the center of a porcelain flower mold. (This lamp sold for only $1 in 2018 at the online auction venue from whence this photo came, by the way, which surprises me because it’s a classic late-50s/early-60s retro item.)
Circa-1940s or 1950s Cordey floor lamps don’t show up that often.
There was only one photo of this probably-1950s floor lamp, and no useful information regarding dimensions. Based on its size relative to the adjacent couch, it is probably about 5 ft tall at the highest point (arc) of the gooseneck.
Unfortunately, I have no full-length photo of this three-light pole lamp with rose decorations. The pole would run from floor to ceiling and was undoubtedly adjustable. The location of each lamp is fixed but they can be rotated into various positions to direct their light.
This portion of a 1961 advertisement had no companion photo but it describes a very “mod” style of Cordey pole lamp. As explained in my History of Cordey post, by this time the company was no longer owned by the people who also owned Cybis. The original (Cybis-era) Cordey lamp era ended in 1959, so the lamps in this advertisement were actually made by the Schiller-Cordey company.
Two styles of Cordey ‘duck lamps’ are known to exist.
This is what I call their ‘stargazer Mallard’ mold. It was produced as companion duck figurines (painted as a male and a female) as Cordey design #s 324L and 324R. This is the female version (#324L) as a lamp. This example has a brass base and wood finial. It is 34” tall to the top of the finial, the duck itself being 14” tall.
This duck is closest in appearance to a Merganser, and in particular the Red-Breasted Merganser. Notice the wood base rather than metal.
A 1956 retail store sale advertisement in Oregon includes this mention of “Cordey bird lamps” with “teak base, exquisite detail.” It’s quite likely that the ad refers to the Merganser lamp, because the bird-and-branch lamps did not come on wood bases. Archive readers of a certain age will feel nostalgic to hear that the ad also includes the mention that “We give and redeem S&H Green Stamps”, and that buyers could take advantage of “No down payment” and “Months to pay” in that pre-credit-card era. Gasoline also cost 27 cents per gallon at that time, but contemplation of that versus today’s price-per-gallon….. yikes!
I would not be surprised to someday find a Cordey duck lamp utilizing one or more of the same 1950s Holland Mold Company duck molds that the Cybis operation was using at the same time; if so, they will be added to this post if/when ever spotted. Any of the several 1950s Cybis duck molds could have conceivably been used early in that decade as the base of a Cordey lamp.
Because Cordey produced so many ‘companion’ figurines, it was easy for the Philadelphia operation to manufacture them as paired lamps – although sold individually – also known as companion lamps. Some were full figures and others were busts/torsos.
Here, two Cordey figures became a pair of bride-and-bridesmaid (or maid of honor?) lamps. They are 24” tall overall, with the ladies themselves being 10” high. The shades are the original ones that came with the lamps during the mid-1940s; the small rose that is attached to the shade is made of porcelain.
It is likely that quite a few of the Cordey lady/gentleman companion figurines were also offered as lamps. Here we have two different ‘lady lamps’ from the 1940s. The brass base molds are the same but the stamping (design) is slightly different; the threaded tube (sometimes called the “neck”) that connects the base with the socket is smooth on the pink-lady lamp but is fluted on the blue-lady one.
As you can see, each of these ladies had a male companion Cordey figurine, and it’s fairly safe to say that Cordey also manufactured them as companion/pair lamps as well. Was every male/female companion figurine also offered as a pair of lamps? It’s impossible to know without having access to the old vintage Cordey salesman’s catalogs which unfortunately are scarcer than the proverbial hens’ teeth. My thanks to the helpful Archive reader who took and sent these photos (and has been patiently waiting a ridiculously long time for this post to be written; my bad!)
This Asian couple was produced in full color as figurines but also here in a white-with-gold colorway lamp pair. The full-color version of the female figure, which is design #4077, is shown in my first Unusual Cordeys post.
This pair of Asian-couple lamps has incorporated the parasol-shaped shades into the design by placing the tube/neck differently than most. Instead of coming up behind the piece, the tube performs as the ‘stick’ of the parasol that the figure is holding. Of course, this means that the upper lamp assembly is at an angle rather than being vertical as normally expected; it’s anyone’s guess as to how stable such an arrangement might be. These are the original shades. The height of the porcelain + brass base is about 18”, not including any of the tube/socket/shade assembly.
While none of the Chinoiserie Cordey items can be described as ‘subtle’ in design, this pair of busts certainly has a lot going on! There are orchid flowers cascasing down pin-striped ‘branches’, and a dragon, and pink clouds or waves. The man wears a triple medallion necklace, and the lady has a tassel on the end of her hair ornament. And then, of course, there’s the paint-decorated base. The bust section itself is 19.5” high, and the overall height of the lamp is 28 inches to the top of the socket, according to the seller’s listing. The non-lamp version of these can be seen in my first Unusual Cordeys post.
Notice that the two dancers in this lamp pair are dressed exactly alike although their molds are different. The intention may have been that both are the same dancer in a different pose, or that they are two different dancers performing in the same ballet ensemble costume. There was also a male Cordey ballet dancer figure (seen in my first Unusual Cordeys post) who may or may not have found his way into the lamp assembly line; to be honest, I think he looks rather boring!
My final ‘unusual lamp pair’ was spotted by a collector friend in an antiques mall in the Southwest. The lady bust is the same basic design as the one on the Herculean-putti brass base, shown above; the male is her companion figurine. What’s unusual about these is the base section: It’s all porcelain (no brass) and is not all that much shorter than the busts themselves, which makes them appear somewhat ‘too big’. Another oddity is that the socket assemblies and harps are silvertone rather than brass, so it’s possible/probable that those are replacements. This pair is the first of this type of companion-bust lamp pairs to be found on this type of large, white porcelain base rather than the usual brass affair.
Additional ‘unusual/odd/strange’ Cordey lamps may be added to this post in the future, as found, and their addition will be noted on the What’s New page.
You may also find the post about Cordey lamps in vintage advertisements interesting; those also include their original prices.
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