Edison Mazda Light Bulb Store Display, ca. 1930
I don't know too much about it, but I got it from my father about three years ago. He gave it to my wife and I as a housewarming present. He's had it in his house for a number of years, and he knew I liked it.
And do you know where he got it originally?
I believe he bought it in the late '70s. He said he bought it just at a local auction. I asked him, actually, how much he paid for it, since I was coming to the ANTIQUE ROADSHOW, and he said he thought $75, but he couldn't remember. (chuckles)
Okay, I like that. Well, it's a wonderful item. What we have here is a store display for Edison Mazda bulbs. So Mazda was the name of the bulb, was the name of the line of bulbs that Edison had developed. And you can even see Mazda on some of the sides of these bulbs. And this whole thing was, at the time, a G.E. company. So this would have been something that you would have had at a shop, and they would have put any number of different bulbs on here. These ones you have here, a lot of them are original Mazdas, but there's no rhyme or reason to which ones they put on. It's a litho-printed metal surface. It's got this wonderful illustration here by Maxfield Parrish. So Maxfield Parrish was a very famous, very influential artist in the early 20th century. He had a career for over 50 years. Norman Rockwell considered him his idol, so he was quite a talented guy. And we can even see in the print here, it says, "M.P.," for Maxfield Parrish. And then of course you've got a great artist combining with a great American genius, Thomas Edison. Each different light bulb even has some unique features to them, as well. And what's interesting about this is, you can turn each of them off at a time because there's a switch by each socket. So you'd plug it in, you could turn on or turn off whatever light bulbs you wanted. Date-wise, this would have been in the 1920s, maybe late part of the '20s, maybe early '30s. Right around when Parrish was kind of at his height. Now, do you ever plug it in at home or...
No, I've never plugged it in. I mean, the cord's pretty old, and I'd be afraid of what happens, so...
(laughs) I don't blame you. I'd love to try it, but we don't want to damage it. Condition's not bad. You've got some wear. It's probably been out for a while. May even be a screw loose here or there. All that said, I would think conservatively, at auction, considering all the bulbs, whether it works or not, we're looking at a $3,000 to $5,000 item.
That's a lot more than I thought it'd be, that's for sure.
It's beautiful, and you've got just so many wonderful features kind of coming together on this piece. So I appreciate you bringing it in.
Well, thanks-- I appreciate your time.
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