"TV lamps"Prevented Blindness?

My wife returned from a yard sale with a “TV Lamp”. these were placed on top of TV sets (in the 1950s), in the belief that watching TV in a dark room would cause blindness. Was this true? there seems to be quite a number of TV lamps around in junk shops. Who promoted this strange belief?

My mom used to tell us (this would have been in the 80’s) that it’s bad for your eyes to watch TV in the dark.

Nowadays I don’t think anyone believes that, but it is common to backlight your TV. That is, put a small light behind the TV to light the wall. Some TV’s even come with that built in (and some even have a ‘smart’ one*). It eases the transition from the bright TV to the pitch black room. Try it, it really is nice.

The Smart ones, as I recall, take the average color that’s on the TV screen and project that to the wall behind the TV, or even light the bezel with that color.

This lie was promulgated by a PR genius named Mendte, on behalf of a client who manufactured lamps. :mad:

Since this isn’t really about TV, moved to IMHO (from Cafe Society).

The manufacturers of TV lamps?

At least there was a pecuniary motive in that idea. Now, who promoted the strange belief that sitting “too close” to a TV would cause nearsightedness?

I can’t answer that one, but I know that I used to watch movies from a front-row seat when I went by myself. This went on until I was almost 11 years old, when we moved to another neighborhood. I became nearsighted. (Of course, I could also ascribe my myopia to my mother, who herself became nearsighted at the same age around 1940. (She went to the movies as a kid, too.)

I thought it caused cancer because of the x-rays created in cathode ray tubes.

I think they were also a way to decorate your new TV set. My wife collects TV lamps, and there is an amazing variety of styles and colors, something for every taste.

<<I think they were also a way to decorate your new TV set. My wife collects TV lamps, and there is an amazing variety of styles and colors, something for every taste.>>

We would usually put a VCR or a chiming clock, or both, on top of our set (but no lamp), until we got a more modern one with no level surface on top.

Oh… and then there would be a cat, who would adorn the top at his own discretion; he would jump on top of the TV as he saw fit, to ensure our attention to him for hours on end. :slight_smile:

In Britain during the early days of TV most people seem to have watched TV in the dark, all lights off, to avoid alleged eye strain.

Sylvania Halolight TV


Just remember to take along a really powerful flashlight the next time you go to a movie. All the patrons who are being saved from blindness will be grateful to you, I’m sure.

I’ve never heard of TV lamps before right now. What is the difference between a regular lamp and a TV lamp?

I do also remember it being common knowledge in the late-'80s/early-'90s that watching TV in a dark room was bad for your eyes.

When I was a child my aunt and uncle had a black panther TV lamp on top of their TV. It was a stalking panther, and the lamp was inside the body, but the cavity was to the side of the panther that faced the wall. Panther stalking to the left, light shined against the wall from the cavity in the right.

I can assure you, that in my rural farming community, this was considered ‘classy’.

I’m shocked to discover, that over 50 years later it’s still being manufactured just without the light part.

Isn’t that the sculpture that was on top of the TV in Archie Bunker’s house? The mystery of why Archie would have a black panther, of all things, in his house is finally solved!

Watching TV in the dark isn’t bad for your eyes? Nor is sitting to close to the screen? Hmph, you discover something new every day. How about reading in poor lighting?

My father sat in front of a cheap computer monitor during the late 80’s early 90’s and that’s where he contributes his glasses to. He said that after each day of work his eyes would hurt.

Can I tell him that’s all rubbish? I should also have a talk with my (dead) grandfather who was a paediatrician and said the same things about the TV.

That, and the old exploding penguin on top of the telly.

I blame my receding hairline and expanding midsection to the CRTs I worked in front of during the '90s through about 2011. Must be something about the devices; it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that I have passed 50.

The way I’ve heard it put (by an eye doctor, don’t remember the discipline), “Reading in dim light can no more hurt your eyes than taking a picture in dim light hurts the camera.”

I read the precis of a study a few years ago that looked into that the the conclusion was no, reading in poor lighting doesn’t hurt your eyesight. The only thing they found that had a statistical affect on eyesight was reading in moving vehicles and even that was very minor.