Old chandelier (might) need glass shades?

jlc102482February 24, 2011

I found an old chandelier that I'd like to rewire and hang in my home. I was told it's Victorian; it's definitely old, whatever it is. I am trying to figure out if this style of chandelier would originally have had glass shades or globes on it. It's hard to tell by looking at it, so I'm hoping maybe someone can tell me by looking at the style if it's old enough to have needed shades, or if it's later and was always electrified. Sorry if this is a dumb question! Thanks for the help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chandelier

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Here is a close up of the base where it attaches to the ceiling, in case that helps. Maybe it used to be a gas fixture?

Here is a link that might be useful: Base of chandelier

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 8:34AM
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I know nothing of electrical things, but I do have 2 cents to share ;)
From the look of it, I would picture "fancy" bulbs. The type that are shaped like a flame or candle - know what I mean? It does look old to me, too ~ or a good reproduction. Does the finish look original - with some authentic patina that perhaps can be rubbed off in an inconspicuous place? That might give a clue on age too.
As for it having been gas my guess is no. There would be some type of knob or valve on the steam of each socket I believe. I could be wrong there too ~ but that is the only way I have seen gas to electric fixtures. Maybe try the wiring forum if you haven't already? http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/wiring/

Just my 2 cents ~ bank it or throw it in the wishing well as you see fit :)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Thanks, Mrs. Richards, I was thinking the same thing about the "flame" bulbs, though I was hoping to hear differently! I don't think it's a reproduction, but I am no expert. It's very heavy, but I can't tell much about the finish because it was painted. Still, the details and the way it's put together don't scream "repro" to me, if you know what I mean.

I wonder if there is any way to retrofit glass shades on it...or maybe that would look really weird. I'll have to play around with it. I'm not a fan of the flame bulbs AT ALL, but I really like the chandelier so I'll have to make do.

I'll post another link with better photos, in case that helps anyone else to make a determination. I feel kind of silly posting the sale ad, but it has better close-up photos than I can take.

Here is a link that might be useful: Better photos

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:19AM
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I am _not_ an expert, but it doesn't look like it was ever a gas fixture to me. Also the acanthus styling says classical or greek revival to me more than victorian.

The bases of the light sockets seem to be of a style that encourages a candle shaft and candelabra bulb, like this:


But if you have your heart set on a glass shade, I think it would look OK, but I'm not sure if the bases would accept a standard size. House of antique hardware carries a lot of sizes:
I wonder if a 2 1/4" fitter would be too large for your fixture?

And for another option, here is a somewhat similar chandelier (OK, pineapple instead of acanthus, but at least they're both plants) with a candlestick and silk shade combination.


I think it comes down to a matter of preference and what is practical to implement.

Actually, if you do a google image search on acanthus chandelier, the most common implementation is the candlestick and candelabra bulb option, followed by candlestick and silk shade. There are some glass shades too, but it seems to be a distant third:


I do like frosted glass shades because then I can use cfl candelabras, which I love for energy efficiency but not so much for looks.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:33AM
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What about clear round bulbs like edison bulbs? they have those with a tip on the end... Those are wicked cool and period.

You could take it to a lamp shop and ask...I think without a fitter assembly you might have trouble, although you might be able to rig something fairly invisible with earthquake putty...I have one lamp that has a glass shade that was not intended to have one and it just gravity and the bottom of a CFL bulb holding it on.

Your other alternative would be to put candelabra bulbs in (the ones that are just torpedo shaped but not "flame" shaped, the number, -B, escapes me) and get the little lamp shades that clip over them...I don't know if you like those either, but that's an alternative I don't know if you've thought about.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Acanthus - good to know it has a name! I was actually browsing 2 1/4 shades at HOAH as you posted that link, slateberry. :) I love that store! In my browsing/research, I also found a neat little item that fits over a candelabra bulb socket. It has a rim to set a 2 1/4" shade onto, so I guess I could try that. I may just buy one glass shade to see what it looks like, and if it looks weird then I'll forego it. The last thing I want is a remuddled chandelier!

kterlep, I like those Edison bulbs a lot. If all else fails, I think I may try that!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:59AM
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How funny! Would you mind posting a link to that rim that fits over a candelabra bulb socket? I'd be curious to see it.

Glad you posted this. It's a lovely chandelier, and now you've got me thinking of posting some of my long standing lighting questions on this forum. Like, why is there a colonial revival chandelier that po's told me was original to my victorian? Don't answer, I'll start my own thread!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 4:04PM
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I don't think that your chandelier had glass shades.

Were it me, I would probably use some clear swirled torch-shaped bulbs in it--or if you preferred standard candle-shaped bulbs with clip on shades.

I don't think that it was ever gas either.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 6:54AM
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Your chandelier is a bare bulb fixture meaning that the bulbs were the stars of the fixture. I have several. You'll spoil the fixture with shades.

I like the gold ball lights that rejuvenation sells. They really are gorgeous on exposed fixtures.

When you rewire be sure to check the connections where the bulbs screw in. They often need replacement when rewired.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 4:55PM
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