I happened by a consignment antiques shop yesterday while shoe-shopping. My first thought on seeing this item in the window was Captain Nemo has hocked his labs! So I bought it. It's a Star-Rite Type C heater, made circa 1925 by Fitzgerald Manufacturing Company of Torrington, Connecticut. 630W at 110V, and it even works, not that I left it plugged in for very long. It's seen some hard use but the paint appears to be original, and only the clips holding the wire cage to the dish are missing. (The cage stays in by spring pressure, and not much of that.)
The parabola seems reasonably accurate, and when I took it out on the deck and pointed it at the Sun it smoked a piece of an advertising flyer in a second or two. It needs a little cleanup, but nothing heroic. Anybody care to guess what I'm going to do with it?