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Vintage lighting:

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Wild Root, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. Well, I have a few lamps that are from the golden era. I have mostly desk lamps but, they look good placed around the room. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m a big fan of indirect lighting and to me; it gives my room and home a very nice vintage feel.

    Lighting affects us each in different ways. I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m kind of a fan of soft, dim light in most places. When I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m working on something I do like lots of light to see what I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m doing. But, if I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢m on the PC late at night, I like only a 15 watt desk lamp burning. So much more relaxing in my opinion.

    What kind of lighting did they use in the golden era? Well, homes weren?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t lit as well as homes are today. Back then, in the suburbs or the city, homes and buildings were nicely lit. There were mostly only one or two lights in a kitchen, one in the bathroom, two could be found in bedrooms. The living room had maybe two or three lamps. Torch styled floor lamps were popular as well. Art Deco indirect lighting was very popular at that time. Lamps with metal shades were found in offices and homes alike. The highest wattage bulbs in my home are 60 watts and that?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s even a little bright for me. In my room all my original lamps are 11 watts or 15 watts. It gives a nice cozy feel to the place!

    Any way, what are some the ways you all light your flats?

  2. Flitcraft

    Flitcraft One Too Many

    You're absolutely right about the softer lighting in vintage homes- something one doesn't often think of when trying to re-create a Golden Era feel.
    Restoration Hardware in Seattle has a great catalog and website. They're pricey, so I generally only use them for inspiration.
    Lately I've been scouring antique shops for older lamps and then re-wiring them. I'm working up to restoring a ceiling fixture.
    Some of the bigger harware chains- Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.- are starting to carry softer lighting in higher wattages- 40, 60, etc. and I've been using those more instead of the brighter, and harsher, 100+ wattages.
    Good thread starter!
  3. Vintage lamps.

    All my lamps I buy are from the 20's to the 40's. I had to have two of them rewired. My antique radio guy has a spool of brown silk wrapped insolated power cord just like the stuff that was used in the 20's 30's and 40's. When I rewire a lamp of antique nature I always try and restore it by also using the original plug. The value goes up and it also keeps its vintage integrity. If you want, I can dig up the info for getting some of that vintage replacement cord. Its aculy designed to be used for lamps! But, it works great for radios too.

    I have seen a large trend in making antique inspired lighting at most large hardware stores. Lighting is rather expensive any way you look at it! New or old lamps can cost plenty. I was so happy when I found my 1940's 'flying saucer' lamp. It was only 40 bucks and worked perfect. Ebay one can find some deals on these metal dish like shaded lamps that are just so attractive.

    Any way, thanks for posting! I was wondering if it was going to get any traffic at all :p

  4. this post takes me back

    ...takes me back to my childhood. I remember my grandparents home (built 1930s) had the floor torch lamps with white glass shades. They gave off a nice soft light that somehow fit just right with the original art deco furniture. Their home also had a great skylight in the bathroom. I wish that I owned that home!
    Wildroot...thanks for the interesting thread. Regards, Sefton
  5. I love vintage lighting, especially Arts & Crafts era fixtures. To some extent the theory of how to light a room was different then. At the time lamps were used to light certain "spots" in the room for some purpose. You might have a reading lamp by a lounge chair, a desk lamp in order to work by a desk, sconces on the wall to light a hallway or to add general light to a room, etc.

    Today the idea is to light the entire room at once from the ceiling, such that there is no real need for additional lamps throughout. It is undoubtably more efficient but it also makes a room feel rather sterile, like a hospital waiting room or something. I prefer to have a couple nice lamps with 25-60 watt bulbs around the place lending it some charm.
  6. I wanted to have a ceiling fan in my home so I had to use indirect lighting, I agree indirect lighting compliments vintage items. Thanks for the interesting thread.
  7. Flitcraft

    Flitcraft One Too Many

    Good post, Root!
    I hadn't thought of using the cord you mentioned, but its a great idea. I generally try to use nondescript brown electric cord, but the kind you mention sounds killer. I'll keep my eyes peeled.
    Another great source for period reproduction lighting is Rejuvenation Hardware. Verrrry pricey, but very authentic and, once again, a great inspiration for those of us with Dom Perignon tastes and Pabst Blue Ribbon budgets.
  8. I have a new Dragonfly lamp of stained glass and that is it for now, the rest are in storage except for modern. Have you guys every heard of Laurel Lamps, they made the famed Mushroom Lamp with a frosted glass shade, that is my family's old company. Also, you can see their lamp in Wilard White's office in Dimond are Forever. They also retroduced the classic desk lamp that orginated from England (the that is brass with a green shade). If you found a tradtional desk lamp as I have decribed above with a brown (kinda golden-brown) or a blue, show me a pick and I may be able to I.D. as a Laurel Lamp.
  9. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Get the real thing!

    When I was remodeling my house I almost lost lunch over the
    cheap, yet expensive crap sold in the lighting department at
    Home Despot. I set out to find vintage fixtures!

    What I found instead, while rooting (if you will) through a
    pile of old fixtures at a flea market, was a guy who restores them.
    He turned out to have two warehouses full of old fixtures of all
    descriptions. You pick the one you want, he restores it in every way,
    but only as necessary. For literally half the price of the flimsy,
    ugly toys they sell at HD.

    I ended up with a matching set of four 1920s mica shade sconces,
    two more impressive 20s sconces for the bathrooms, a 50s iron
    fixture for the dining room, and, though he swore he didn't like or
    stock deco, a simple deco wall fixture from an old firehouse and
    three really nice, thick, pleasing glass shades for upstairs rooms.
    The sconces were all around $90 each, with new finish and electrical
    and hand made "candle" sticks (original mica), to give an idea of price.
    The 9-candle iron piece in the dining room was around $500. That's
    custom hand finished. Remember you can hook them up to any
    modern electronics if you'd like. I have nice dimmers on some of these.

    In the process I found a set of columns and half columns from around
    1900 (period of my house) in his warehouse, and a really nice table.

    The downside to consider is that, at least in my part of California
    (and if you're curious, this guy is in Hayward, though I'm not sure
    how fast I can find his info), vintage fixtures are not up to code.
    The issue is, even though the wiring is new (and the fixture, let's
    face it, is just a sculpture for holding wiring), if it is not UL listed,
    it's not to code. So make sure "it was there when I bought the old
    place" when the inspector comes around.

    I have yet to see a repro fixture that holds a candle (ahem) to a
    real vintage item. Seek them out- they are there.
  10. Well, I couldn't agree more! Vintage fixtures are out there and it just requires looking. Deals are had all over the place and well, I have been to some fancy lamp shops and see that a simple lamp can cost as much as a restored Art Deco lamp at high priced antique shop. So, I'm just going to invest in the original stuff seeing it will go up in value and will also look correct.

    Might as well buy the real deal and get quality in the process!

  11. KR

    KR Familiar Face

    I found this great 1920?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s lamp while browsing through a local antique store.


    The wiring needed replacing so I found this great company that sells modern wiring that is made to replicate vintage cloth covered wire. They even carry reproduction vintage plugs. One of the styles just happened to be an exact duplicate of the original plug that came with the lamp!

    Their website is http://www.sundialwire.com/

    Was able to rewire the lamp myself.
  12. Flitcraft

    Flitcraft One Too Many

    Now that is a useful link!
    Thanks and a tip of the fedora, KR :cool2: !
  13. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Best Company For Lighting

    Vintage Restorations as well as reproductions. Not cheap, but it's very well made:

  14. PrettyBigGuy

    PrettyBigGuy A-List Customer

    I'm looking forward to buying some vintage/repr lamps in the near future (need to buy a house first). There was a shop on 2nd St in Long Beach, near my old place, that sold a ton a repro lighting. Lots of tiffany glass & Arts & Crafts stuff, which I really dig. I'm also a fan of the art deco table lamps that feature a bronze nude holding a glass dome. I've seen several repros of these on Ebay, I just haven't pulled the trigger on any of them yet. One day I will own a motorized hula-girl lamp too!
  15. Michaelson

    Michaelson One Too Many

    I've picked up two identical desk lamps in the past year from two different locations (and states!) that date to 1934. They're true art deco goose neck metal 'scoop' lamps (the type you see on just about every film noir detective desk or clerical set up), and one was purchased at a yard sale for $3, and the other in an antique store in Kentucky for $15. I've seen them in large antique stores for $100, so I'm pleased. They're both in perfect working order too, and I usually just use 40w bulbs in them for that 'vintage' look.

    We purchased the two for the 'someday' when we get a partner desk, and each of us will have one for our side of the desk to work by.

    Regards! Michaelson
  16. I'm surprised there's not more lighting threads here? My wife collects vintage (mostly Victorian) "Fairy Lamps" and they're beautiful.
    Anyone else here know of these? She had a nice piece in "Victorian Homes" mag last year, and there's lots of folks that collect them elsewhere...
  17. Good bump!
  18. FountainPenGirl

    FountainPenGirl One of the Regulars

    I just thought I would jump in here. Lets not forget Kerosene lamps. Dad's folks didn't get electricity until 1939 and Ma's folks didn't get it until 1943 and that wasn't a sure thing. At Grandma's when I was a kid if one cloud went over the power went out so the Kerosene lamp was a normal part of life. I've become somewhat of a lamp collector myself. I have some flat wicked lamps and have been getting interested in Aladdin Lamps with the mantles. As I'm writing this I'm sitting next to a Model 11 Aladdin made between 1922 and '28. The Aladdins operating at normal brightness are as bright as a 60 watt bulb plus they warm up the house. I still light the house mostly with Kerosene.
  19. I'm rather surprised that this thread is not much bigger than it is; I'd argue that lamps are the most visible (pun not intended) of all electrical inventions, rather the ability to illuminate is what separates us from the previous form of existence wherein you got up and went to bed primarily based on the sun's movement.

    But more than that, anyone who's ever worked on a movie set or for a ride design company (particularly Disney Imagineering) knows that the way a scene is lit will do far more to affect how it looks (and therefore its feel) than what's actually in the room.
  20. Anybody else here big on 'Gone with the Wind' Lamps? I love them and am slowly phasing almost all my lighting out in lieu of them. Weird, I know.

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