Friday, March 29, 2019

Antique Panlight Chandelier Needs New Wires and Sockets

A customer brought in this fixture the other day and asked for it to be rewired. Panlight fixtures are on my long list of favorites. The way these fixtures are decorative and simple at the same time is really why I like them. They are specific to the early to mid 20th century and are perfect for restoration.

Antique Panlight Fixture - Ready for restoration

First, we need to inspect the lamp and make a list of parts needed for the repair.

Some obvious things include:

5 - Medium Base Adjustable Fixture Sockets

48208i - Medium Base, Adjustable Keyless Candle Socket, adjusts from 4" to 5-3/4" tall
5 - 4 Inch White Paper Candle Covers
19814T - 3 inch Smooth Flat White Color Paper Standard Candle Covers
Wire - Antique Brass Colored SPT-1 Spooled Wire
46608 - Antique Brass, 250 Ft. Spool, Plastic 18/2 Lamp Cord - Wire, SPT-1 size
48509 - Large Wire Connector with spiral threaded metal insert
5 - Clear Plastic Cord Bushings
26918 - Clear Plastic Pipe Bushing and Lamp Cord Protector for 1/8 IPS Pipe

Note - For smaller projects, you can use cord sets and cut off the plug. You want to make sure not to have any "extra" connections or spliced wire when it's not needed. 

With all the parts located, we are ready to disassemble the fixture. We start by removing the old candle covers. Then we unscrew the wires from the old socket screw terminals. The old sockets have a threaded base that unscrew from the fixture arm. 

Next, we open the Panlight body by unscrewing the bottom finial. The body has two parts: a top and a bottom pan.

These cloth covered wires seem to be original. They were made of good copper, but the plastic insulation breaks down over time and becomes brittle. The crack can expose the copper wire to the lamp body creating an electrical short and a dangerous fixture.

Last, we will remove the decorative cups on each of the arms and remove the old wire. Now the fixture is completely disassembled and ready to be rewired.

Each arm will have a socket, bushing, and wire routed to the middle of the pan. Connecting the wire to the socket terminals needs to be consistent. The smooth wire should connect to the brass screw terminal and the ribbed wire should connect to the nickel screw terminal.

With all the sockets wired and the wires in the pan, we will add a 6th wire. This wire will connect to the canopy and the house wires. Each wire should be stripped about 1/2 inch and connected with a wire nut. The smooth wires in one connection and the ribbed wires in another connection.

With all the connections complete, the wires are tucked inside the bottom pan. Join the top and bottom pans together and insert the rod on the bottom finial to hold the pans in place. The sixth wire is threaded up the top pan and through the chain and finally into the canopy.

At this point you can test the lamp. Add bulbs to the sockets. Keep your distance from the sockets while you power the 6th line. Remember, the smooth wire represents the hot/black/small side of the plug on the home wires and the ribbed wire is the neutral/white/wide side of the plug. Keeping theses wires in order keeps the lamp polarized.

Looking good and almost complete. Finally we add the candle covers for the complete look.

Another Panlight Fixture ready for the next 100 years of service. Total Cost < $30 Total time ~ 1 hour

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