Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Converting an Old Duplex Burner Oil Lamp into Electric Table Lamp

When my great grand father started this business in 1952, electricity was finally making it's way into rural homes. He was an antique dealer and truck driver by trade. People in his antique circles would ask "How can we use electricity in our lamps?" They were not interested in buying new lamps, they just wanted the nice old lamps to work with the new electrical parts. He started converting old oil lamps from the kerosene burners to the electric sockets. That is how we got started.

A customer brought in this lamp the other day and wanted it to be converted from an oil or kerosene burner to an electric lamp with a socket and bulb. The important thing is this lamp is dry; no kerosene or lamp oil residue is left in the lamp. The key in this type of conversion is to keep the burner shell intact for the conversion so it still looks original when you are complete.


We start by unscrewing the burner from the lamp body. We remove the wicks from the burner and the shade ring from the burner.





Now we are going to cut a hole in the bottom of the lamp so we can thread a lamp cord to the socket. There is going to be a hole in the bottom of the lamp and a hole in the side of the lamp.




Now for the hole in the side of the lamp. We use a plastic bushing so the cord will not rub on the cut metal of the lamp.




We will need to drill a hole in the bottom of the tank on the lamp for the cord to reach the top.


Next we work on the burner. The interior of the burner is removed and the base is cut out for the socket.





For this conversion we chose an antique brass turn knob socket with an extended brass key.




The socket cap clamps to the burner base with a few washers and a nut.



Next we thread the wire through the lamp body.




We thread the wire through the burner with the socket cap and tie a UL knot in the lamp cord.



The socket interior is attached with the smooth wire connecting to the brass screw terminal and the ribbed wire connecting to the nickel screw terminal.


The socket shell snaps in the socket cap. We add a bulb and test the lamp.


For the complete effect, we add a chimney and ruby swirl optic glass shade with 4 inch fitter and crimped top to the shade holder.


Now that new found electricity works with that nice old lamp. Total time < 1 hour, total cost < $25.00

Bonus Video: