Lamp repair can take many forms from easy stuff like cleaning a shade to the more complicated wiring a three terminal table lamp. When someone says "my lamp is broken." It can mean a wide range of things: it doesn't work well, it doesn't work at all, or it's completely smashed. In this case, the phrase turned out to be one of the easiest fixes: a busted lamp key.
A customer brought in this statue table lamp and said it wasn't working.
First thing we try is to replicate the complaint. With a bulb in the socket and the cord plugged in, this lamp was going no where. The keyed socket would just spin and spin. As we have seen in the Anatomy of Keyed Socket Interior, these are mechanical parts. They can fail, but this lamp was't old enough to have socket problems from over use. So we look at the plastic lamp key and there was the problem, it was cracked.
The crack would not keep the key tight enough on the socket shaft to make it turn the socket on or off. This was the only lamp part needed to fix this lamp.
Good thing this lamp didn't end up in the dumpster. The fix was too simple. Next time you are in a Yard Sale, Flea Market, or Goodwill and you see a lamp labeled: "For Sale, Does Not Work". Give it a simple inspection, as this blog shows it might be really easy to fix. Total cost <$1.00 Total Time < 5 minutes