BANGS — Former employees, collectors of decorative lamps and others interested in local history will gather this weekend in Bangs for what has become an annual reunion of anyone interested in Texans Inc., the lamp plant that operated here from 1952 to 1983.
David Cole, who may own the most extensive collection of Texans Inc. products anywhere, has planned the reunion for the third consecutive year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at TexasBank in Bangs.
“When you’re talking about the reunion, you’re talking about David Cole,” fellow collector and author Mark Stevens of Fort Worth said on a recent visit to Brown County. “He does it all. I just show up.”
But the presence of Stevens, along with former Texans Inc. artistic designer Richard A. Gunter of Carrollton, have proven to be key to the success of the first two reunions. Both are expected to be on hand this year.
This year’s reunion will feature lamps designed by Floyd M. Thomas, an employee of the plant from 1952 to 1962, and Gunter.
Gunter and the late Howard Kron provided the inspiration for the design of the lamps which have become highly sought-after by collectors, especially since a book by Stevens documented the source of the lamps made in Bangs. Although the history of Texans Inc. and the lamps it made for three decades were familiar to longtime Brown County residents, that was all but unknown to collectors of the “TV lamp” genre. That changed after Stevens researched Kron’s life for his book, “Pedlar of Dreams.”
The ceramic TV lamps became popular during the 1950s when owners of new televisions wanted a decorative lamp to provide soft illumination in rooms where television sets were placed. An opening, usually in the back of the lamp, allowed a minimum amount of light to shine.
The team of Kron and Gunter was responsible for 60 to 70 original lamp designs every year, and Stevens is now maintaining a Texans Inc. Web site that is constantly being updated — http://texansinc.com.
Cole plans to have several pieces of his collection on hand Saturday at the reunion.
Anyone interested in the plant — and especially any former employees and their families — are invited.