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I am involved with restoring a historic house built in 1886. This light fixture was probably installed on the porch in the 1930s or 1940s when the house was electrified. The elements have taken their toll as it is rusty. The assembly in the center between the plate that attaches to the ceiling and the basket that  hangs from it is so rusty that it will probably have to be replaced. Not shown is the cylindrical glass globe that goes in the center of the basket. Who made this? Are repair parts available?

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

Tom Benjey for Craighead House

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Replies to This Discussion

It will be nearly impossible to discover who made this exact fixture. There were hundreds of manufacturers over a long time period. So, what would be best, is to try an online site like "Restoration Hardware" and others out there.  They carry a wide array of parts and stuff, and reproduction lighting as well, if you can't save this one. More importantly, what ever you purchase that way, will be up to code as well. 

The only other thing you can try is ebay/Etsy sellers that specialize in vintage and antique lighting. Sometimes they have extra stuff you can purchase from them. 

 These are generally referred to as a "caged filigree porch lamp, or hanging lamp"

Disagree with Vicki.  Don't buy a new reproduction. RH sells nothing like it nor do they sell repair/replacement parts. If you can find a repro, it will cost you a couple of hundred and still look like a cheap imitation.  Fix this one.  IF you live in an old house be prepared to fix stuff.  You will need to  get the paint and rust off the metal.  you can do it with small wire brushes and paint remover, or have it soda (like sand blasting but more gentle) blasted.   Look for vintage car restoration shops.  Should be about $30 bucks.  Soak the screws inside the socket and on the threads that hold the socket on  with lots of quality  product like liquid wrench or PB blaster etc. .  Let it sit a few days.   try to remove the socket from the lamp, and the wires  from the socket.  great if you can, if not, you'll be looking at lamp shops and eBay for a replacement porcelain socket.   

I've found great replacement glass (If it's a cylinder) at Hobby Lobby, or that type of import store.  Usually can find a decorative candle glass cylinder for about $10.   Metal was probably was painted satin black (Krylon) originally if it is steel,  green or black copper patina if it is copper. Lock for traces of old paint for signs of original color. Rewire and connect it the reverse of how you removed it. 

There is no 'electrical code' for this sort of thing.  NEC is only  for the wiring in your house, not the lamps you have attached to the house  (grey area here, but don't worry about it.) You will be using new wire that's about it.  New hanging lamps now have an additional ground wire.  It's thin copper.  You can add one if you like but unless the house has been rewired, you will not have anything to attach it to..   Now it's yours and you have a great restore story to tell and be proud of.

Thank you, Dan. I looked at RH's site and, as you said, they sell nothing like this. Fortunately, the glass cylinder that goes inside the cage is in good shape. Some of the oak leaves on the cage are fragile, so I'll ask the sandblasting shop (that also does powder coating) if they do the more gentle soda blasting. I'll soak the assembly that includes the socket to see if I can get it to come apart.

Working with old stuff is nothing new to me. My own house turned 200 this year but had nothing electrical in it that would have been considered vintage.

The paint left on the cage appears to have been black. Would powder coating it be a good idea since it will be exposed to the elements?

Getting the two little screws off that hold the parts of the socket together will be the challenge....I restore a lot of exterior lighting and that's always the hard part.  

Through much soaking and effort, the lamp is completely disassembled. The harness, for lack of a better term, from which the filigree cage hangs is rusted through in places. Does anyone know where I could purchase one of these. Top and bottom photos of it are shown above.

Any information you can provide would be most appreciated.


That is called "ladder chain"  If you search on line for lamp or lighting ladder chain, you may come close.  Here's an example:   


  You may not get the exact same type, but may find something close.  Hopefully the round part is good.  I doubt you will find those.  If not maybe you can make one out of a large washer  (fender washer)  found at a well stocked older local hardware store.

Bummer. The chains are okay. It's the ring that is rusted through. I guess I could drill out the center hole in a fender washer and drill three smaller ones to rivet the chains to. Beating it to cup it into the right shape may be a challenge.

Maybe some heat from a propane torch (or the kitchen stove if you don't have access to a torch) then beat on it.  Or using files and wire brushes, you could  clean the original ring and laying it down on a  brick or some fire proof surface, fill the  holes with  hard solder, or cut a thin piece of brass and solder it to the ring  and redrill the holes through both pieces.  All that was much easier to propose than it will be to do.  The ring is not a standard part likely found in a lighting catalog. 

The fender washer seems like something to try first.   They are only about 50 cents each...

I'd suggest you use a product called "EvapoRust". It's non-toxic and water soluble, so you can simply rinse it off afterwards. I get mine at Tractor Supply for around $15/gal. I've used it successfully on delicate rusted metal. Just fill an old plastic container and leave the metal sitting in it. Usually takes a few days, and I agitate/stir it once a day to help loosen the rust. Maybe take a brass wire brush to it now and again.

It's a much better method than sandblasting, especially with metalwork such as this.


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