George Zoltan Lefton immigrated to North America in 1939. Once an accomplished sportswear businessman in Hungary, he had an enthusiastic hobby for fine porcelain. Lefton founded the Lefton Company in Chicago in 1941. After World War II, George Lefton became one of the first to import items from Japan. Much of this porcelain labeled “Made in Occupied Japan” has become very desirable to collectors today.
The quality of goods imported and also produced by the Lefton Company is exquisite. They dealt not only in fine porcelain and hand painted china, but materials like ceramics, pottery, and glassware were popular as well. A variety of numbered stamps and foil stickers identify Lefton products. Some pieces were meant for everyday use, such as teapots, teacups and saucers, cookie jars, and bowls. Other items are for display as collectible figurines. These would include angels, animals, birds, and Lefton’s beautifully detailed lighthouses.
lefton lighthouse, 2
The Lefton Company, as a top manufacturer of highly detailed lighthouses, created the “Historic American Lighthouse Collection” in 1991. Each replicated piece is fully illuminated, hand-crafted of fine quality ceramic, and hand painted with special attention given to each marvelous detail. Each lighthouse comes with an embossed tag providing a condensed lighthouse history.
Lefton introduced the highly desirable “Lost Lights Collection” in 2000. The original series was limited to 5,000 cold cast resin pieces. The collection pays tribute to the lighthouses virtually lost because of their placement, and enduring the harsh elements to perform their duties. The size of the collection was increased with a second and final series of “Lost Lights.” The entire series has since been retired.
Miniature lighthouses are a pleasing substitute to the larger, tabletop versions. Many collectors enjoy the smaller renderings, that are about six inches tall. The Lefton Company created over a hundred miniature lighthouses with the same artistic quality and feature considerations as their larger counterparts. Each miniature also comes with an embossed lighthouse history tag. There is also a collection of more than fifty Christmas lighthouse ornaments that are a wonderful addition to any holiday tree.
George Z. Lefton passed on in 1996 and the company was sold in 2001. However, the Lefton Company continues to create lighthouse collectibles. The newer pieces have rotating or flashing beacons. Some lighthouses function as table lamps, coin banks, wind chimes, even dinnerware and home decorating items such as candle holders.