Thursday, September 24, 2015

Table Lamp With Busted Plastic Candle Cover Repaired

A customer brought in this lamp the other day with a broken piece on the lamp body. The piece was a plastic candle cover used in the lamp body just below the lamp socket. We are not sure what type of accident caused the break (fall off the table or hit by something), but the lamp seemed doomed to fail with the design. Our repair is going to make a slight modification to the structure without changing the look of the lamp.

First thing to do is unplug the lamp. Then like most other repairs we pry the socket cap from socket shell and remove the socket interior. The lamp cord is pulled from the lamp body so we can remove the damaged parts.

Our mod or change to this lamp is to line the candle cover with a brass tube. This will reduce the stress on the candle cover and keep it from future failure. The lamp parts required for this repair are a 6 inch candelabra white plastic candle cover and brass tube (any material tube would work since it is not seen on the lamp).

The new brass tube is cut to length and slips right into the candle cover.

Back on the lamp we attach a threaded rod on the lamp making it the proper length for the candle cover and the socket cap and harp base. The threaded rod is two rods connected with a brass coupling.

With the rod at the proper length, the lamp is put back together: seating ring, candle cover and brass tube, seating ring, harp base, lock washer, nut, seating ring, and socket cap.

The lamp cord is pushed back in the threaded rod up to the socket cap. Tie a UL Knot in the cord and attach the socket interior. The ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw terminal and the smooth wire connects to the brass screw terminal.

Snap the socket shell back on the socket cap. Add a bulb and test the lamp.

Complete. Total Time < 30 minutes Total Cost < $0.50 (the brass tube was recycled from another project)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Opal Electric Aladdin Lamp Repair

Aladdin Mantle Lamp company set the standard on oil lamps for both beauty and function. Their lamps with kerosene mantle could produce light much brighter than a traditional burner and wick. There are lots of fan clubs and discussion boards for Aladdin Lamps, but here we only want to talk about making the old electric burners safer.

A customer brought in this lamp the other day and it had an electric style burner. These were made by Aladdin after electricity was introduced so a consumer could use their lamp with shade and chimney on electricity and switch back to kerosene if needed. Electricity was not reliable in the early stages. This customer's burner has an old  cord and the socket interior is not closing the circuit well.

The lamp parts needed to repair this electric burner are a new white molded plug lamp cord and on/off socket interior. First thing is to remove the top gallery and shade holder from the burner.

Next pry the socket shell from the socket cap and remove the socket key.

You should be able to remove the burner body from the lamp body by unscrewing the burner.

Unscrew the wire from the old socket interior and remove the old lamp cord. Replace the lamp cord with the new cord and tie a UL knot in the cord.

Attach the new socket interior to the new lamp cord. The smooth wire connects to the brass screw terminal and the ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw terminal.

Attach the socket key to the interior and pull the cord slack out of the socket. Snap the socket shell back on to the socket cap.

Replace the shade holder and gallery back on the burner. Add a bulb and test the socket.

Screw the burner back on the lamp body.

Now the lamp is safe, working great, and looks original. Good work! Total Time < 15 minutes Total Cost < $10.00

Friday, September 11, 2015

Small Crystal Mantle Lamp

As we've seen from the lamps in this blog, lamps can be made from anything. From the expected to the completely unexpected. The other day a customer brought in these to crystal lamps. They are great for a dinner table, mantle, bookcase or other small space and are a really simple design. These two lamps were in bad shape. They must have been left out in the elements because all of the breaks and necks were beginning to rust.

To fix these lamps we are going to replace the rusted lamp parts with new ones and replace the lamp cord and socket with a better finish. When working on a lamp like this it is a good idea to take a photo of the lamp and record how it is made. We are taking photos for this blog, but we are also only fixing one lamp at a time so we can see how the pieces are supposed to fit back together.

First thing we do is take apart one lamp. Unscrewing the nut on the bottom of the rod, opening the socket shell and un-wiring the socket, removing the socket cap from the rod and pulling the cord through the rod. In warm water and dish detergent we let the glass pieces soak for about 20 minutes. We want to remove all the dirt and grime.

While the glass pieces are soaking we collect all the replacement parts we need. This includes nickel plated seating rings, nickel neck (slips 1/8IP rod), felt washers, clear silver lamp cord, nickel socket, reducing washer, and a nickel shade holder. Tip: The felt washers help hold the lamp firm. They will absorb some of the pressure and keep the lamp tight for longer. They will also help reduce the possibility of over tightening the lamp.

Noticing the rod was a bit weathered and would be seen through the lamp parts a little silver paint was applied to the rod. With the glass washed and the parts collected we are ready to put this lamp back together. Working in reverse order form the dis-assembly the socket cap goes on the rod and the lamp body pieces fall in line like a shish kbob. Cap the rod with a felt washer, seating ring, and a nut. Then thread the lamp cord through the rod.

On the top we tie a UL knot and attach the socket interior and socket shell. This lamp looks as good as new.

The socket shell snaps into the socket cap.

Add the shade holder and a bulb for testing.

Perfect. This lamp should last another 80 years without any issue. Total cost: <$28.00 Total Time: <45 min per lamp

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: