Texans Inc (KRON)
texans inc (KRON)
Texas Incorporated was a ceramics manufacturer in Bangs, TX. At the beginning company was called Texas Ceramic Studio, which handled lampshade sales, manufacturing and the marketing branch, and Texans Incorporated was the ceramics manufacturing part of the company; however, in time, the entire operation became Texans Inc.
The company utilized at least four designers over the years, but Howard Kron is the one typically associated with Texans Incorporated. Kron created various lamps for the company including TV lamps and table lamps for Texans Inc. for almost 30 years.
Howard Kron’s had an extensive knowledge of ceramic engineering and was also a very skilled artist and designer. He had over twenty years’ experience and in that time he developed a very unique style.
Howard Kron was born on May 10th, 1914 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and at an early age he showed a high talent for the arts including drawing, singing, and acting. Upon graduating high school Kron took a bus to Hollywood California to pursue acting but in the end decided against being a professional actor.
After having a rather successful singing career - that ended in 1942 when his singing coach and business manager passed away - he came across a roadshow that included pieces from the Midwest Pottery Company; seeing them as simplistic Howard commented that they needed a designer and was hired by the company. He was very well received by the owner, Sherman Deutch, and when he went off to serve in the army Howard was put in charge of running the company.
The new “Kron Line” of figurines was a significant departure from the other products Midwest usually sold, but it was a huge success, and with this Howard proved that he was a master of the medium and thusly his career in ceramic deisgn began.
The Midwest Pottery Company burned down in 1944 and resumed its production after purchasing a facility in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During this time Howard not only designed for the company but he also designed and marketed his own lines and these items were sold at local shows. In 1950 Midwest moved again to Tyler, TX but they were soon out of business following an embezzlement scheme by one of its employees.
After his time at Midwest Howard did some design work for Gilmer Pottery, which was also in Tyler, and his work consisted of decorative planters, ashtrays, and cookie jars. In 1954 Howard discovered a lamp company in Bangs, TX that needed a designer.
Howard learned that the company needed a consistent flow of new products, and seeing it as an opportunity to have steady employment, he, along with Richard Gunter – Howard’s co-designer – took the job.
Soon after Howard and Richard moved to Bangs, TX and formed a team that handled all of the company’s design needs for the next 25+ years. Most of Kron's designs are simply marked Kron, although Gunter-Kron, RAG, Howard and a myriad of other markings can be found on certain examples.
At the age of 57 Howard suffered a heart attack, but survived, and he stayed with the company until the end. In 1982 Richard Gunter left the company after it was sold to Sam Obert, but Howard stayed on and worked for what was now Challenger Lighting until he retired in 1986.
In 1991, at the age of 77, Howard passed away after a fight with leukemia.
Given the lamps were produced in Texas, my home town, it is easier to find a Kron lamp at a good antique store, but eBay has a great selection too. One of the most popular of Kron’s TV lamp is the Two Siamese cat lamp that I have pictured. This design was copied by imitators though, so shop wisely!