Emeralite- The Banker's Lamp

January 14, 2014

We recently had a client in looking for something quite specific- A Bankers Lamp.


For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Emeralite Lamp (or Banker's Lamp as it is more commonly referred to) it can be seen below. The Banker's Lamp has a single brass knuckle with a round base, with a unique (and sometimes) square edged emerald green cased glass shade.The Banker's Lamp usually stands approx 14” high. An original Banker's Lamp should have a brass pull chain rather than a switch.

The glass shades are generally flat on the sides and back, with the front gently sloping towards the desk or viewer.




The Bankers Lamp has a psychological effect upon an individual sitting amongst its green glow.

The colour green is one of the “cool” colours.

Green is psychologically soothing and so its use in an office or workspace encourages calm focus and concentration. In fact, at the backstage of a theatre one might find a “Green room” which has the primary purpose of calming actors' nerves before going on-stage.


The Emeralite lamp as we know it today was first produced in 1909 by Harrison D. McFaddin who created the company H.G. McFadden & Co.

According to references, all Emeralite shades were produced in the glass factory of J. Schreiber & Neffen; the plant was located in the city of Rapotin, Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic (Emeralite.com).





The Emeralite's production may be divided in to four distinct periods. Over these periods the lamp bases went from simple and undecorated (4378 Series) to the more elaborately decorated second and third series.


The 4378 Series: 1909-1916

The shade was designed with a hole at each side so that it could be attached to and swivel upon the base arm and then locked in to the desired position. The bases were generally brass plated over a base metal (square or rectangular base) or solid brass (round base).


The 8734 Series: 1916-1930's

The Emeralite shades from this generation did not have holes on each side. Instead a new base armature was designed and the shade was created with indentations which fitted into the channels on the new base arm. The shade was clamped in to this armature for stability and so could be removed for cleaning if necessary. Bases made during this period were usually solid brass.


No.9 Series: 1930's for approx 5 years

The general design remained the same but the shade increased in size from 8.5 inches to 10 & 12 inches. Again the shade was created with an indentation at the back to fit in to the clamp and could be removed for easy cleaning. However the number 9 series larger shades required two lamps (bulbs) rather than one. Similarly to the second period, the bases were usually made of solid brass.


Inferior Produce: From late 1930's for 20+ years

Most of the “Emeralites” produced after the number 9 series' were not designed to the standards of the originals and so are not of great monetary value. Many of these lamps were fluorescent and were constructed with metal shades.


A Double Emeralite Partner's Lamp



Most of the lamps created had a hidden cast iron weight in the base of the lamp.


McFaddin retired around 1939 and the company was bought by employee Charles Inness Brown who changed the company name to Emeralite Co. Inc. During the 1950's the company unfortunately became unprofitable and was sold again. 


Following this, the company's name was changed to Tilarem but the company was eventually dissolved in 1962 and sadly, Emeralite production died with it. 

If you are looking for a Banker's Lamp, please contact us at 00 353 1 284 3486 or call in to our showroom at 51 Sandycove Road, Sandycove, Co. Dublin. 


Primary source: http://www.emeralite.com/history.html

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