Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rewiring an Antique Lamp - Saving an Heirloom

Over the holidays, my bf and I went to visit with his mother. While there she asked me if I would be interested in a lamp she wanted to get rid of. I was shocked when she showed it to me because it is absolutely beautiful and I think it is worth much more than free. I told her so, encouraging her to hold on to it. She insisted she didn't want it any longer adding she had listed it for sale on Craigslist, but had no takers because it didn't work right; Sometimes it turned on and sometimes it didn't. I knew instantly she was having a shorting-out issue and it was a really easy fix. Despite assuring her I could fix it, she said she didn't want it any longer and if I wanted it, I could take it.

My bf picked it up to put it in the car and the lamp revealed it was not very stable. The spider that is responsible for holding up the shade had much too much free movement, which caused the lamp to wobble quite freely. I made a mental note to take a look at the assembly to see if I could tighten it up somewhat.

$5 fix - New Socket
Old Socket Being Removed
Reassembled Properly
Today I took a run to my local DIY store and purchased a new bulb socket. I took out the bulb, pulled out the socket cover, pulled up the old socket, and undid the wiring. I had examined the lamp cord and found no issues with it, so I just figured for under $5 I could confirm my guess it was just the socket portion. After I secured the wires to the new socket I realized that the lamp was assembled improperly. My guess is that someone rewired this lamp way back in the day (based on the cord the late 1940's) and put it back together incorrectly. This accounted for the spinning and wobbliness overall. I took some time to take it apart and reassemble it, tightening each section as I went along. I could tell I was successful once I put the very heavy glass shade back on. The lamp is solid and turns on and off with ease.

Standing back, I cannot help but admire the craftsmanship of the early 1900's. This lamp is beautiful and highly detailed. I noticed there are small holes in each of the leaves, which means there was most likely crystals that hung from it at one time. I bet this was a sight to behold in the window of a store.

Hand-painted Repousse Glass Shade

Detailed Crown

Repousse Glass Section Mimics Glass Shade

Small Holes Where Crystals Likely Hung At One Time
I am thrilled to be the new owner of this extraordinary lamp. I think it will look fantastic in the Shouse. What do you think?