Mystery antique green mineral lamp

onegroovydudeFebruary 3, 2012

Hi. I'm trying to find out some info on this lamp. It appears to be very old. I don't know what the mineral is on the base. I'm sure it was very pretty new, and was thinking of restoring it. It still works perfect. The height is 20". Any ideas...? Thanks

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wow! that's rough!
The mineral is most likely glass. It's probabably about 90 years old...seems like iron with brass?
Be a lot of work, but pretty lamp when you are done.
Linda C

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 3:00PM
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That was my first take as well.......twenties. There are a few things, however, making me wonder if we can't take it back another ten years or more. The socket design looks older. That style is more typical of 1915 or before. There should be some sort of marking on it. Is it legible? Does it have a wattage listed on the socket. If you look directly down the socket, can you see the insulating material?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 4:17PM
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The base could be a green onyx

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 5:10PM
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If it takes a standard light bulb, that pretty well fixes the age which it's not older than at about 1910.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 5:28PM
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"it still works perfect" doesn't mean it's safe to use. I see it's been rewired, but that doesn't make the rest of it safe. Those old sockets had less than adequate insulators. Couple that with a metal pull chain. Yes, green onyx was popular in that timeframe.

It is splitting hairs to peg it right down to a decade, but it's possible to do it with the metal parts if you want to put that much time into it.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Well I looked under heavy light, and saw that the sockets say: Benjamin 250W. The cord is original, and has never been replaced. It needs to be, but appears to be all original to me. The plug says: Glade Mfg. Co. Chicago USA. The bottom of the lamp says: RMC954 or 95A. Can't tell for sure.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:45PM
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I'm sorry........from the photo, the cord looked plastic-covered. So is it cloth covered? 250W stamp does put it past 1910. So does the fat socket style, because that's when the wire knot was coded in. That's also when the edison base was becoming the norm for bulb manufacture and socket producers were building for it.

There's just a real lot of info out there on sockets, including Benjamin and the socket can be rather valuable in and of itself. This type of socket would have required a shade ring, and a few other features make me think it's after 1910 but pre-1920s. Patents were flying in that timeframe and it's a great tool for nailing your lamp's age pretty accurately if they have not been replaced.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 7:38AM
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Ok. Well I'm curious, because I don't deal in lamps much, but do people generally prefer them restored like old coca cola machines, or untouched like guns..? I'm really wondering about the sockets. They have a really good patina built up, and I didn't know if people would prefer them aged, or buffed to a mirror shine like on a restored brass blade fan? What do you think....

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 2:28PM
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I'd leave the socket covers untouched, but that's just me!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 2:41PM
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I want them polished bright and shiny...but I want the mouse hole left in the cupboard and the signs of use left on the Coke cooler.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 3:19PM
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The lamp's socket cluster has a lovely patina that I would not remove. Most of the lamp's value is in that cluster and most antique lamp collectors would want it in original shape and with all its original components.

Here is a link that might be useful: Research your antique lamp here

    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 9:26PM
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Thought I would follow up. The lamp is basically done except for the polishing of the green onyx base slab. I didn't polish any brass, only cleaned the dirt off. I wire wheeled all the rust off the rest, and re-painted it antique white. I spent today trimming the lamp all in, and it looks great. One question. Since the lamp has two sockets, but the cord only has two wires, how do you make both sockets work with only two wires, since there is a positive and a negative for each socket? I didn't even think of taking a photo before I ripped the old wires out. I would post a pic ofthe lamp, but I'd like to wait until it's all done, and re-wired.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:22PM
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I could explain it to you, and I'm not trying to be snarky, but I am concerned. I also don't want to be responsible if you do it wrong.

That is about as basic as it gets, and if you have to ask, then you shouldn't be trying to wire it. This is a metal lamp, with metal sockets, and pull chains. If it's not a proper job, and each component checked carefully.......and considering the age of the components.....all parts of this lamp you touch, could be hot. It's not expensive to have a lamp rewired at a lighting store. Just spring for it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:06PM
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I never knew of green onyx. It looks similar to certain low grade jades.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 6:17PM
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You will need to connect one wire from each socket with each of the wires leading to the base. I find that plastic twist-on electrical connectors work best for this.

Rewiring a lamp is a basic skill that everyone should have in their repertoire. There are tons of how-to videos on or get a household fix-it book from the library.

Sometimes with an old lamp like this, it's best to prolong the life of the sockets and pullchains by minimizing their use. I often use a remote switch to turn them off and on.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:50AM
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