meta name="p:domain_verify" content="83432fc69a1d6df071f49df584f9d839 Laurl Designs: Who is Paul Hanson?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Who is Paul Hanson?

Lately, I have found some fantastic mid-century modern lamps by the maker Paul Hanson. I love the contemporary lines, the intricate details, and the monumetality of the size. But, who is he? What is the story of these lamps?

The Paul Hanson Lighting Company began in the 1920's and as a collectible today as then. Their appeal lies in the quality of the materials- porcelains, high quality wood, marble, bronze and brasses. They were created using molds as well as cast metal in a lost wax process. This process is based on carving a form from wax and burying the wax form in sand. Then the bronze, or other metal, is then poured into the sand and the wax is burnt away with the metal filling the void left, thus making the casting. It is an expensive process reserved for art pieces.

The most collectible of  Paul Hanson lamps are from the Hollywood Regency style and the Chinoiserie styles from the 1940's through 1960's. The style hallmarks include detailed pierced work, Mid-century modern geometric lines, and more traditional styles of retro-fitted porcelain vessel shapes with Asian inspired painting and classical lines in glass or brass.

Some of the marks of Paul Hanson include:
Pair Paul Hanson Yellow Asian Design Ceramic Table Lamps image 9
Paul Hanson sticker on the lamp base- image from 1st dibs

Statuesque pair of clear Crystal Urn lamps by Paul Hanson, NY image 6
PH button on the lamp base- image from 1st dibs.

Pair Paul Hanson Solid Brass Twin Dolphin Desk Lamps image 6

Paul Hanson mark on the base of a double dolphin lamp.- image from 1st dibs

Fantastic lamp forms include:

Square forms with pierce work, or lattice-

Above image from personal collection

Image from EBAY- pair of Chinoiserie lamp bases
The orb and spacer-

From EBAY- Stainless steel and Brass lamp base

Pair of Paul Hanson clear crackle glass lamps image 7

From clear cracked glass with brass spacers lamp base
Pair of Hanson Pottery Ball Lamps

From Pottery Ball and brass spacer lamp base


  1. Where can I find more information on this maker? Particularly his majolica styles.

  2. If you are looking for more images of his work, a web search will help you. However if you are looking for info on Paul Hanson, then there is very little out there beyond what I have published here. I could not find any lamps in production after the 1960's. So, recent info is scarce.

  3. Paul Hanson was still in business in the 1970's I have a catalog of lamps & chandeliers and decorative accessories. How did his lamps compare to Frederick Cooper?

    1. Thank you for updating the company history info, I'll edit my post to reflect it! At a cursory glance, I would say that Cooper lamps are more traditional compared to the Hansen lamps. However, I do not own any Cooper lamps to judge detailed differences. Fredrick Cooper is still in business and I think that make a difference on the collectible scale for any item. If you have the catalog scanned and on the web, I would love to link to it!

    2. Want to get a price on the lamp I found.
      I can't find an exact match.

    3. You probably will not find the exact lamp to get a comp. And for items for the home, trend is a huge dictator of value. If you can find a similar lamp with a price online and your lamp is in as good of condition and has all the marks that the similar lamp has, then you can give that as the value.

      If you are wanting to sell it, price is what some is willing to pay. is a great place to find the top of market on value of an item, but very few people can sell an item at that price because they need to be selling in a store, or online store, with the same cache as 1stdibs. Ebay is the best place to find what people will typically pay for an item. Remember on Ebay to look at "sold items" to see what the price was, not what someone lists an item for.

  4. Paul Joseph Hanson is my wife's great uncle. He and his brother George Lee Hanson Sr. (my wife's great grandfather) were partners in the "Hanson Lamp and Shade Company", with offices in NYC, NY and Chicago, IL. They were born in Galveston, Galveston, Texas to Joseph George Hanson and Gertrude Genevieve Grisham; they had four sisters, also born in Texas.

    As I remember, Paul attended art school in Chicago, IL. He married Elizabeth Gombas and they had two children (one still living).

    This family line is related to President George Washington's grandfather Joseph Ball and great grandfather William Ball.

    1. Thank you much for this family information on Paul Hansen. This post is one of my most popular! The information available on Paul Hanson lamps is quite limited on the internet, but there is considerable interest in the company. I appreciate you taking the time to give some personal history of the men behind the company.

  5. From Korona (previous posted as "Anonymous January 5, 2015 @ 3:13 PM)

    Re.: Post of Jan 3, 2015 @ 6:43 PM: "Paul Hanson was still in business in the 1970's I have a catalog of lamps & chandeliers and decorative accessories. How did his lamps compare to Frederick Cooper?"

    Interesting... Paul Joseph Hanson was born 23 May 1896 and passed away 13 Dec 1982 in CT. He would have been 74 years old in 1970. George, born 31 Oct 1903, would have been 67 years old in 1970.

    According to family accounts, Paul and George closed the company due to their refusal to deal with union activity (electric union). While it is possible that the company went on without Paul and/or George, I find it hard to believe.


  6. Thanks Korona, for the additional information!

  7. The catalog I have came with a price list I have lost, I am sure it was dated about 1973 I will try and take a few photos of the catalog pages and send them. It is a large catalog . My interest in Paul Hanson was he made many lamps that go with French decor with the fake oil burner on top.

  8. When I say fake oil burner, I don't mean anything derogatory, Warren Kessler used them also

  9. I have a very old Paul Hanson lamp that I inherited from my aunt (who would be 95 if she were alive) that is blue glass with brass accents that look like an old candle stick holder. How can I find out how much it is worth?

  10. I worked for a company called Paul Hanson Lamps and Shades as an after school job in the office and worked there for a couple years after graduating High School. This would have been 1975 - 78?? This was in Carlstadt, NJ. These look like the same type of lamps they were mfg.


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