Antiques, Collectibles and Curiosities                                                                   Washington D.C. Photos
David R E Hunt   
Reddy Kilowatt Figurine 1940's
Find below an interesting conversation with Paul K Lubliner in regard to the Reddy kilowatt figurine

Hello David,

Thank you for your answer and thank you for your help in reaching some tentative and Earth-Shattering conclusions.  Ahem.

Believe it or not, I only recently became aware of Reddy Kilowatt.  Impossible I know, but I grew up in New York City and they'd have none of that in the 1950's and '60's, let alone today.  I have no memory of him on display at the '64-'65 World's Fair but I and "he" were there.

You may indeed be correct that these early post war variants with the Fluorescent pink acrylic Lightning Bolt bodies did not have luminous face, hands and feet.That makes sense as the hands feet and face on yours are a truly opaque ivory color. 

For plastic resin to be made to "glow in the dark," it has to have the luminous metal oxide pigment added to a clear material base prior to injection molding.   As a result, there is a slight translucency to these luminous, plastic molded items.  Use of a non-transparent and pre-pigmented resin substantially occludes the glowing properties.  I just happen to vocationally design injection mold plastic tooling, hence my interest in these early examples, from the field, that along with a good dose of arrested development.

I have obtained copies of the transparent red "Lucite" (or Acrylic) versions which do indeed glow, even almost 60 years on. The "tall-skinny"original 1926 design as you have here but manufactured in the late 1950's (that conclusion based on the "3 Cent Postage" not visible below on the mailer box) glows a blue-green color.  This indicating a mixture of the period's two most easily available Zinc-Sulfate luminous pigments: both the violet and the yellow-green (lightning bug) glowing pigments combined, a somewhat rare occurrence. 

The later Walter Lantz designed version of 1961 production and thereafter, glows the true violet hue.

I'd written another fellow who had one of these with the fluorescent pink body as yours.  He'd mentioned that his did not glow in the dark as well.  It also had the true ivory colored hands and feet as with yours.

That said, the orange fluorescing bodies did indeed have luminous hands, feet and face:
fluorescent orange AND lumious. As you can see these luminous glowing appendages do not have the same opacity as does your pink variant. In addition, this one has a $175 price on it so it will not be not entering my collection!

So, from your added information  I have thus far concluded:

1)  The initial, immediately post WWII fluorescing pink versions "Day-glowed" only, that by reacting to the U.V. found in ambient light and were not truly phosphorescent and did not glow in the dark.  I say post WWII as to my knowledge, fluorescing pigments were not used in injection molding until sometime during the war and then for emergency equipment only. 

2)  Next came the both fluorescing orange and luminous versions in the late '40's and early '50's, followed with:

3)  the transparent red acrylic and luminous "tall skinny's" of the late 1950's;

4)  culminating with the Walter Lantz designed "Big Headed" variant in transparent red with violet glowing portions in 1961 and thereafter. 

All this worthless chronological non-sense is most interesting to me and does intrigue me far more than does contemporary Pop.  Just showing my 6 decades I suppose, lol.

Thanks again.