BANGS — Displays featuring the works of Floyd M. Thomas of Bangs and designs by Richard Gunter of Carrollton — plus a very rare line of western designs made in the 1970s — will be among the exhibits at today’s third annual reunion of Texans Inc. employees.
Anyone interested in the plant, its history and TV lamps is welcome to join former employees at the event. The reunion will be held at and sponsored by TexasBank in Bangs, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.
All items are lamps made at the Texans Inc. factory in Bangs between 1952 and 1983, organizer David Cole said.
“Millions of lamps were shipped from Bangs,” Cole said. Among the major retail customers were Woolworth, other variety stores and the S&H stamp centers. Most of the lamps wholesaled for less than $5 each.”
The ceramic lamps are worth much more than that now.
“Collectors are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for the rarest of lamps,” Cole said. “The Internet, and e-Bay in particular, have made it possible to purchase these lamps from throughout the world.”
Until Mark Stevens of Fort Worth published his book “Pedlar of Dreams” about two years ago, most collectors had no understanding — and no knowledgeable — of Texans Inc., Cole said. Publications prior to Stevens’ work indicated that anything marked Kron — the signature of Howard Kron, the plant’s lead designer — was made in Morton, Ill. That point was in error, because most lamps made in Bangs after 1955 bear the Kron marking.
This year’s reunion display will feature items with the signatures of Thomas, Richard, Gunter and RAF.
Gunter, who worked with Kron as associate production designer, again plans to attend this year’s reunion. Kron died in 1991.
Individuals with Texans Inc. lamps are invited to show them and discuss them with Cole and Stevens.
“Most of the younger generation in Bangs do not realize Texans Inc. — ‘The Lamp Factory’ — ever existed in Bangs,” Cole said. “Nor do they realize its importance to Bangs during its 31 years of production. The industry was born in 1952, when the small farming community of Bangs was suffering from ‘the drought of the ’50s,’ and no other industry existed in Brown County to produce income.”
An in-depth history of Texans Inc. can be found on a site maintained by Stevens at http://texansinc.com. Stevens’ Web site about TV lamps is www.tvlamps.net.
Stevens’ book focusing on Kron and his work with Texans’ Inc. will also be available for purchase at the reunion.