First let us define antique floor lamp. Of course a floor lamp normally rests upon the ground as opposed to resting upon a table, the wall or the ceiling. The general definition of an antique means something from the bygone era. This places the word outside the legal arena and into common usage. “era” is general perceived and means a long indefinite time frame which also works out perfectly because of this general definition.
This general definition works perfectly since any identification of an “antique floor lamp” is rather useless without a while period designation normally in the form of circa 1905 which literally means “about the year 1905”. So I will use the word antique floor lamp on this basis and often substitute it with the term vintage floor lamp. This discussion will not address modern reproductions of antique lamps that is another subject to itself.
More and more people are learning to appreciate the product quality and styling of antique floor lamps especially as most of the ones being produced today are molded plastic and literally made to be thrown away. lamp harp sizes Most all floor lamp makers from the turn of the century made their lamps from heavy metals such as cast iron, brass, steel and cast zinc sometimes combined with marble, onyx, glass and stone. Our lamp shop regularly restores these antique floor lamps for resale in addition to for the customers’ own use.
From our 30 years of experience it is clear that many of the antique floor lamps can last since way back when. The electrical components, the fabric shades and the painted finishes often need restoration but most were made with such fine quality, they are a much better value than brand new top quality lamps that sell for most hundreds of dollars. You will find some other surprises about these collectible works of art below.
High quality, beauty and function were powerful influences on the makers of antique floor lamps. Many people are aware of their outstanding quality and beauty but completely surprised concerning the highly developed functional and technical characteristics. There are too many examples to list here but I am going to mention several the more important ones.
The brightest lamp that one could purchase today in virtually any store was designed and made circa 1920. Additionally it is the most versatile lamp that one could buy anywhere. Further it will outlast most any modern lamp that one could find at any price. This antique floor lamp is well known by a numerous names such as: 6 Way Floor Lamp, Reflector Floor Lamp, and “JUNIOR”. The design begins with much metal base sometimes highly decorated having an upright tubing leading up to a central electrical socket surrounded by 3 arm lights (4 lights total).
The central light requires a 3 way bulb (low-medium-high) that’s often a MOGUL size which is larger than a typical socket with higher wattage (100-200-300 watts). The three arm lights are controlled by way of a switch that can turn on separately just 1, 2 or all 3 of the arm lights. Further, several JUNIORS had a small light under the base which provided a very subtle night time floor light operated by a foot switch mounted on the side of the base.
As if this weren’t enough, the central top socket is encased in a big metal cup which holds a white waffle patterned glass bowl that reflects light upward to bounce of the ceiling. A fabric or silk shade (also called JUNIOR shade) rests upon the glass reflector bowl to reflect light downward for reading. A single arm light can provide a straightforward night light or at it brightest setting, it can light up a whole room. There is no brighter lamp or more versatile lamp available anywhere today also it was designed and made nearly 100 years ago!
One of the greatest reading lamps in the world was also designed circa 1920. It’s been highly imitated but it still remains unchallenged. The Bridge Arm Floor Lamp or Bridge Lamp includes a typical floor lamp design with metal base and upright standard that may take the form of varied forms of decorated tubing, twisted iron rods, etc. Near the top of the standard is a decorative cast metal arm with a graceful arc or curvature which ends with an electrical socket pointing downward and included in a fabric or glass shade.
This has the effect of offsetting the light by about 14-18″ from the upright standard as well lowering it so that it is closer to the reading material or work project. The result is an excellent reading lamp or work lamp which places the lamp very near the task at hand. A number of these Bridge Arm FLOOR LIGHTS have convenient pull chains which hang below the bottom of the lamp shade for ease of operation.