Friday, December 27, 2019

In the lamp trade? Oak Lawn man has a design for you

William Lange and his lamps.

    Mr. William Lange has a business proposition for you: manufacture and market his cheery globe lamp design, and enjoy a share of the profits.
     He dangled that opportunity before me, several times, during the year I balked at writing about this. Each time I patiently explained that’s not how journalism works, and if I wrote about his lamps, he first must understand we did not have, nor could ever have, a business relationship.
     Then there was the issue of what his lamps look like.
     “I don’t want nobody to see them, copy them,” he told me, at first. But during our negotiations I explained he would have to take the risk; I can’t write about lamps that I can’t show readers.
     Mr. Lange is a persistent man, and that caveat did not deter him. So shortly before Christmas I found myself on the Metra heading to Oak Lawn to inspect the goods.
     Lange picked me up at the station in his tan Buick and drove me to his neat home where he has lived for 65 years.
     “Behind me was a farm,” he said. “It’s sure built up around here, I will tell you that.”
     Born in Danville, Lange turns 92 on Friday, Dec. 27. We share an interest in concrete: he spent nearly 50 years driving a cement truck for Material Services.
     “I got in at the start. I was the No. 1 driver,” he said. “All those high rises in the Loop? I bet I poured 50 percent of them. All the expressways — the Congress, that was done twice. The Stevenson.”

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  1. The photo appearing in the E-edition was just odd. The two mannequins pictured here are somewhat creepy, is that why it didn't pass your editor's pen? Would you have continued into William's basement had he more resembled Vince Vaughn than an aging Mike Royko?

    1. I didn't submit the creepy mannequins to the paper. They could only use a photo or two.

    2. Bingo. I, too, thought of Royko immediately. Hard to believe he's been gone for more than two decades. Mike would be 87 now. He had not yet turned 65 when he died. When I worked at the paper, he was only in his mid-forties.

      One cannot help thinking about how guys like Royko and Mauldin would have dealt with Trump. Bill Mauldin would have sliced and diced him, and Royko would have ripped him a new one almost every day.

    3. Appearing on Royko's page today, John Kass, apologist for the Cowardly Liar and advocate of outing the Whistleblower. Which one would deserve more of Royko's scorn?

  2. Great story. Better picture on your blog than in the paper, the color picture that is. And what an unusual hobby. Almost Wild Chicago like.

  3. At first glance this morning, I thought the column was more on Uncle Phil. It also reminded me of a case from law school about the people who invented the ribbon bicycle stand. No skimpy 20-year patent for them; they dared reach for the stars: a copyright that could conceivably last for a 100 years or so. Nice try, but didn't get it.



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