A customer brought in this lamp the other day and wanted to get it in tip top shape and working order. This is a nice old pan light fixture and you might know from our Lamp Part Index. The pan is the most important feature of this lamp and it seems to be in good shape.
First thing to do is a visual inspection for shorts, burns, breaks or cracks. We do notice a crack in the top portion of the body.
Our goal is to keep this fixture as original as possible so we are going to repair this crack and any other dents along the way. To fix this crack we take the lamp a part. The bottom finial is attached to the threaded rod, so when it is removed the lamp opens up.
The pieces are removed and laid out on the work space. To fix the crack in the body, we are going to use solder. Brass is a top choice for lamp parts for many reasons: soft, flexible, doesn't rust, and can be repaired.
Using a pair of vise grips the cracked piece is held together. Using a small sander or Dremel tool, the lacquer and burs are smoothed off. Now the brass is and soldered on the inside.
Even the small cracks are repaired.
Now the piece is ready to be placed back on the fixture.
With the body work out of the way, we turn our attention to the wiring and electrical parts. This fixture has some original GE Made in the USA sockets with porcelain interiors. They are really nice so we want to reuse them.
I love the patent information and date. It really puts this lamp in perspective. These sockets were designed and patented in 1910. This character should stay with the lamp (as long as it's safe).
Inspecting the sockets means mostly visual. We look for burns where heat has damaged or a short caused problems. Then we turn, push or pull the switch and listen for clear click. These sockets look good except the socket insulator (paper shell inside the socket). They look like 100+ years and need to be replaced. That is easy to do and allows us to keep the sockets. Sockets over 50 years old are flair shaped and sometimes called fat-boy sockets. We use a fat-boy type socket insulator to replace the old insulators.
One by one, each socket is wired to the fixture. The socket cap is connected to the shade holder, the shade holder attached to the lamp arm, wire is threaded through the socket cap, a UL knot is tied; the socket interior is wired to the cord (smooth wire to brass screw or middle contact, ribbed wire to the nickel screw or the threaded portion), slack is pulled up the shade holder, socket key is placed on interior, socket shell snaps into socket cap.
The wires are collected in the pan. Then they are stripped and held with a wire nut. We marked the wires black and white to match the wires in a home. The ribbed wires are connected to the white wire and the smooth wires connect to the black house wire.
The pan top and bottoms are put back together and the bottom finial connects to the threaded rod. We add some bulbs and connect it so power.
Beautiful. This fixture is ready for another 100 years.
Total Cost: < $20 Total Time < 2 hours