I found this little lamp at the happy hunting grounds that is the North High St. Goodwill, maybe a month ago. I saw that it had a signature so I picked it up and I'm happy that I did!
When I first saw the lamp I thought it was an Ikea or Target lamp that I could pick up for my dad to use as a desk light, then I noticed that the cord looked older; a closer look turned up a signature and I plunked down the $4.00, went home and tried to research the signature. I thought it said "Mintz" and try as I might, I could not find a lamp company by that name, stumped I set it aside. A few weeks latter I was visiting the Springfield antique malls and spotted my lamp, labled "Martz"- Ahhhhhhhh.
Here is what I found out about the Marshall Studios/Martz lamp company.
Gordon Martz met Jane Marshall when they were attending The New York State College of Ceramic; shortly after graduating they married and moved to Veedersburg Indiana where Jane’s family owned Marshall Studios, a lamp company that made painted lampshades and wooden lamp bases.
Soon they set up a ceramics studio in the Marshall Studios building and began to produce ceramic lamp bases in a modern european style. The Martz used three basic design techniques for the lamps, scratching in a simple design, dipping the base in different glazes to create a layered look and lightly brushing on glazes, all of the techniques were common to studio pottery but not to commercial ceramic production.
The Martz 41 was their first production lamp, the ceramic base could be ordered in two dozen glazes and finishes; to the simple base was added a walnut neck and a walnut finial held the shade on the harp. The number 41 sold well but their break through lamp was the 101. The 101 caught the eye of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr (his parents had Frank Lloyd Wright design Falling Water) who invited the Martz to show the 101 in the 1953 Museum of Modern Art “Good Design” show. The 101s teardrop shape in matte black was a huge hit and the company took off.
Martz lamps were available in department stores, sold to hotel chains and were even used in US embassies around the world (once Gordon Martz secretly wrote "Kruschchev is a bum!" on the base of a lamp destined for the US Embassy in Moscow). eventually Marshall Studios was also producing dinnerware, serving pieces, canisters, planters, carafes, cruets, tile-topped tables, bookends with inset tiles, ashtrays. and even altarware for churches.
Sadly by the late 1970s demand for modern styling started to fade, sales dropped and the Marshall Studios/Martz company finally closed in 1989.
I highly condensed an article that appeared on JetSet Modern http://www.jetsetmodern.com/martz.htm
The pictures are from first dibs