The Everlasting Designs of the Marbro Lamp Company!

You often hear the phrase “they don’t make them like they used to…” applied to many items, like cars, appliances, and yes, even home furnishings. Without doubt, the Marbro Lamp Company was a business that created high-quality products the likes of which are rarely seen today, and their influence can still be found in many homes across the world.

The Marbro Lamp Company began by Morris Markoff and his brother soon after the end of World War II. The small shop they started was located in the garment district of Los Angeles. Immediately demonstrating an eye for great style and good tastes, 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 an impact today. 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 didn’t get just anyone to work on their one-of-a-kind lamp creations; they assembled quite the team of experts and artisans (often older workers in their 50s and 60s prized for their expertise). 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. Exemplifying their dedication to customization, the Marbro lamps were never made with just plain brass, instead tinted with a special recipe that was kept secret from the public. 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 for their products, knowing full and well how great they’d come out. As you might imagine, the prices of these lamps at the time were high (up to $4000 for some) but many people continued to purchase the lamps both for their quality and as an investment.

In 1987, the Marbro Lamp Company was purchased by the Masco Corporation, a company that had recently begun acquiring furniture manufacturers. Production under Masco continued until December of 1990 when the manufacturing plant in Los Angeles was closed. All the remaining inventory of Marbro lamps moved to another company, LaBarge Mirrors in Michigan, which was also owned by Masco. Though different reports state different lengths of time, the Marbro product line was eventually dissolved by the Masco Corportation when they began selling off many of their other furniture companies. This spelled the end for new Marbro lamps.

Once one of the most important Mid-Century lamp manufacturers, Marbro Lamp Company's lamps still continue to retain fans and fetch a lot of money. Not just because the business no longer exists, but because of the gorgeous, quality products the company produced for nearly five decades. Marbro Lighting Company lamps don’t have any one specific look, rather, they encompass a whole range of colors, shapes and styles. They do have one very important thing in common, and that’s exquisitely high quality. Whether Murano glass, alabaster, brass, or porcelain, Marbro lamps continue to be a source of good taste and inspiration in countless homes today.

Swank Lighting is quite familiar with the great products of Marbro Lamp Company, in fact we offer many Marbro products! Check out the website for our selection!