Updated: Mar 4, 2019
I love vintage lamps. They have so much character and I think they really defined the interests of the original owners. I found this one recently at an estate auction.
This has such nice detail!
I believe from my online research this is from the 1920s or 30s. I don't know if the globe is original or not. I have seen a couple of different versions in my research. One was a green globe and one was a white ribbed globe. The metal is called Spelter. It is a zinc alloy (typically mixed with copper). Spelter is fairly soft and you will often see damage in a lamp made of this. These are often misidentified as brass. Scratching a piece of spelter will show a silver color (brass will look gold).
Scratch somewhere it won't be seen please! LOL.
One thing I don't like about old lamps? Old wiring. It's unpredictable and downright dangerous.
This is the cord that was on my lamp. The cord covering was very frayed, but the cord itself was not. The plug just looked like I would be electrocuted. I didn't even try to plug this in. I will re-wire most of the lamps I re-sell, particularly if the cord looks like this. I re-wire all of the lamps I will be using in my own home—safety first!
I learned how to re-wire a lamp in the 7th grade. That's when Indiana started requiring girls to take shop classes and the boys to take home economic classes. I won't say I remembered how to do it from the 7th grade, but I wasn't afraid to try it when I started doing it a few years ago. You can purchase lamp kits at any big box store. Pay attention to what is already in your lamp (pull cord, knob, flip switch) so you can be sure to purchase a similar kit. I say this because as I was standing in the Menards lighting department, I was trying to visualize how this lamp operated. Since the lightbulb was encapsulated in the globe, how did the lamp switch on?
I left Menards with nothing (well, nothing for this lamp) and came home to inspect it again. There was no on/off switch. I guess back then people just used the wall switch to turn on their lamps. I did want this lamp to have a switch so I needed an inline switch on the cord. They didn't have what I wanted at Menards (second trip), so I found this rayon covered lamp cord at Amazon. I bought the socket at Menards.
I liked this one because it had the inline switch and it was wrapped in fabric. I felt this fit really well with the period of my lamp.
You have to take apart the lamp to re-wire so I had to remove the felt.
This is the original socket. This illustrates perfectly why you should not plug this in. One of the wires was frayed and the other one was not connected at all—yikes! All of this went in the trash. The new socket is grounded as well.
I won't provide a tutorial on re-wiring the actual components. There are directions included in the lamp kits and there are several great tutorials and videos online if you want to learn.
Now this gem lights up again! It is so pretty. I wish I had a place for it in my home, but it is going in the shop. I will add new felt to the bottom to seal up the wiring and prevent the piece from scratching furniture.
Don't let old cords keep you from purchasing a Fab Find lamp! It is so easy to re-wire—seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.