is this light original?

stephstrongJuly 3, 2013

We are working on restoring (what we can at least) our 1920 bungalow and I am wondering if this light above the dining nook is original, or if any parts of it are, or if I am just plain crazy!

Thanks for any input!

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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Don't know about the light but do know about painting. All that expensive tape on the glass? You would be much, much better off buying a quality sash brush and taking your time painting, than using up all that tape. You probably spent a couple hours putting that on. You could carefully paint both doors in an hour(easily) AND scrape any mistakes off with a razor blade. Plus, you will be another half hour or better getting it ( the tape) all off

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 3:51AM
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Doubt the light is c 1920. The ball looks newer and shade looks repro to me.

The wiring inside a real 1920 lamp will probably be fabric covered, not plastic. Any plastic parts are def. post WW II.

Taping all those window panes would make me insane. Truly, it's easy to learn to paint windows (and baseboards, and crown moulding, etc). w/o tape. You'll get a better looking line.

The only place where I'd consider "tape" would be masking off stripes on a wall. But I'd probably use wall paper if I wanted stripes.

If you can put on eyeliner, you can paint sash.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:25AM
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It will be interesting to hear from a lighting expert. My inexpert guess is that at a minimum, the glass shade is not original.

As for the side topic, I tape window sashes. And I can't apply eyeliner.

Here is a link that might be useful: Google search 1920's light fixtures.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:45AM
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Not original ... the pull-down part is circa 1950 (or later) and the shade is even more recent.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 12:55PM
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Dangit, I thought it might be older (or at least parts of it) because the wiring is fabric-covered. Thanks for the replies!

Haha, I actually did paint the windows first with a sash brush but couldn't get as close as i wanted without making a mess. The sash brush worked for many other straight lines in the house but not for these ones (for me anyway).

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 12:00AM
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The technical problem (aside from the annoyance factor) with taping the sash is that you don't get the really valuable seal of the paint against the glass where the paint film naturally thins out to nothing on the edge where it meets the glass.

With tape you have a sharp-edged, abrupt change from paint to no-paint, and if looked at with a good magnifier often the peeling-off of the tape disturbs the paint's tight connection to the glass. This will lead to earlier paint film failure as moisture (condensation) will work its way under there.

I even hate to scrape the paint back with a razor blade which can have the same result.

You can learn to paint sash. It's mostly just taking the time, having a really good brush - which you condition over many years of use and take very good care of - and good light. My oldest and best sash brushes were used with oil paint, but since that has become uncommon/unavailable, I've been breaking in latex-paint brushes. My oil brushes, which have 30 years of use on them, are better and feel easier to use (as was oil based paint, but that's another story.) Sash is also most easily painted on an easel so it's neither upright nor flat. But I've painted hundreds of installed windows in situ.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 9:55AM
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I also believe it's newer and not original. You will still find fabric-covered wire on more modern things if appropriate, like chords on irons. The pull-down fixtures are indeed 50sih and I have chord on the one in one of my houses.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 4:36PM
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I actually taped leaving a very thin line between the wood and I got more of a lesson on painting windows then on my light fixture. Haha, it's not like I put granite countertops in or something ;)

Thanks I will take all this advice into consideration for the next round of windows :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Take the advice where you can get it on a forum like this even if it's not related. I don't tape glass anymore either. I can do a much neater job freehand with the proper brush and a razor blade for any oopsies. Paint can seep under tape in the teensiest crevices much like lipstick does on older women's lips where it creeps up the face through the tiny wrinkles.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:11PM
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