A really superb Marboro lamp, absolutely top of the line interior decoration of the period, flamboyant, folk inflected, knock-yer-eyes-out. A total wow. And it’s big: 48″ tall, 26″ wide and 13″ deep.
The Marbro Lamp Company was acquired by Morris Markoff and his brother soon after the end of World War II. Their small shop was located in the garment district of Los Angeles. Many of the Markoff’s brother’s early clients were movie stars and celebrities looking for one-of-a-kind products. They offered a wide selection of antiques and accessories, including furniture and animal figurines. They were most well-known for their lamps, however, and it is their lamp products that continue to make their reputation. The Markoff brothers scoured the globe for gorgeous lamp parts to create their products—they found alabaster and glass bases in Italy, porcelain bases in Japan and China, brass parts in India and crystal bases in France and Germany. Lamps were also made from sculptures and other items that customers brought to the workshop.
The Markoff brothers assembled a team of experts and artisans (often older workers in their 50s and 60s prized for their skills). Wood bases and metal caps were made in the workshop. With a staff of nearly 40, all painting and tinting took place on site. Even the lampshades were made by hand by women at the company. Their lamps were made to order per a customer’s specifications. Working with interior designers and upscale furniture stores only, orders through the shop could take as long as 75 to 90 days to finish, but customers were happy to wait that long. The prices were high (up to $4000 for some) but many people continued to purchase the lamps both for their quality and as an investment.