Lighting

A DUPLEXALITE Before After!

Today, I listed an extraordinary brass Duplexalite!

But what, you may ask, is a Duplexalite?

The Duplexalite Company had a standard model (from top to bottom):

  • Ceiling canopy.
  • Chain.
  • Socket housing.
  • Three thin arms which hold a metal shade and a glass shade.
  • Large metal shade.
  • Bottom glass shade. This shade hangs below the metal shade about an inch. This allows light from the large bulb to be refracted up to the outside of the big metal shade – making it glow magically. The effect at night is truly stunning.

So, these 6 components comprise a Duplexalite and while the components don’t change their design does for respective models. Duplexalite’s were popular from the 1920s through the 1940s and were (and still are) even in the White House.

 

I came across a Duplexalite, but had I not been familiar with the fixture I would have had NO idea of how these parts fitted together. I also knew that one part was missing, and one of the thin arms was broken. Luckily however, I had the missing piece, and another arm in storage! Wanna see the AFTER?

 

ZOUNDS! I had an original Duplexalite finial in storage. The Duplexalite is brass, and with a gorgeous bronze-like patina.

 

The large shade (16-inches wide) has wonderful embossed classical patterns.

 

The custard glass on the bottom is quite thick, and features a starburst pattern in relief. Gorgeous.

 

The fixture takes a single 300W bulb. Because most of the light is thrown towards the ceiling, a most flattering, diffused light results. With a dimmer, the light intensity can be easily controlled.

 

 

 

My online vintage lighting store.

 

 

 

6 Responses to A DUPLEXALITE Before After!

  1. I find the construction intriguing because my mind always goes to how I would make something myself. I have a lot of questions concerning this fixture and it’s construction. (1.) Does one change the bulb over the top of the shade? (2.) Does one lift the metal shade above where the arms taper towards the socket housing so one can flex the arms outward to remove the bottom glass shade?

    I always like to learn new things and, since I frequently go to auctions, I would like to be able to identify custard glass when I see it. This brings me to my third question. (3.) What is the reason the glass shade is called custard glass?

    I see that you call the piece that hangs down a finial. (4.) Is this the correct term? I would be inclined to call it a drop, because in the terminology of furniture deign, finials go up and drops go down. I really have little knowledge about the names of the parts of lighting fixtures. A lot of what I have learned has come from your posts.

    One of the leaded glass porch ceiling fixtures on my house has a very similar piece if not identical hanging from the bottom while the other is missing this piece. (5.) Do you know of a source where I might find another original or a reproduction? (6.) Would that piece be considered a seventh component to the fixture for your list at the top of this post?

    (7.) Was this fixture designed to be hung in a certain part of the house? (8).Would it only be appropriate to use it indoors or could it be used on a porch?

    Thank you for introducing me to a new type of light and the name of the company that makes them. Hope I can put these names in my hard drive so it doesn’t go in one ear and out the other.

    • Thanks!

      The writer states that his Duplexalite had been painted white. He stripped it and “brought it back to what it originally looked like.”

      Well. no. He also removed the original finish, which was a full polychrome of gold with blue accents.

      It appears that he also used a different glass shade than the stained-glass shade this style originally had.

      • In the writer’s defense, someone may have painted it white on top of the original finish that you describe. Most people don’t know how to remove a layer of finish at a time to restore to the original finish without removing it. Chemical strippers aren’t the answer.

        When I bought my house, I decided to strip the front door first. It had layers of heavy paint. After stripping through multiple layers it was still white and I wanted to see the wood, which I expected to be oak. As I worked I noticed that it had been originally grain painted, but it was too late. The chemicals had ruined it. Had I known, I would have worked carefully with scrapers and may have been able to restore it.

  2. I have never seen this style before and I love it! While I only have one vintage sconce ( that doesn’t even work but I hang it anyway because it’s so pretty), my 1400 sq. ft. home houses 23 lamps, 6 pairs, the others singles that could not be left despite the dust collected on them from sitting in old antique stores or thrift shops. (And one cream porcelain Buddha from the ‘40s.). Some I’ve had rewired, others I have as accent pieces (I like to see them😍) until I get the money to rewire them or learn to do it myself. But the largest collection I’ve had in the past were chairs chairs and more chairs!!! I love chairs too…of course vintage! I had to sell most of them when I moved to KCMO in 1996. (Now I live in South Carolina) I’ve always wanted to restore old fixtures…..here’s one some may find nutty…..I sometimes feel like I was reincarnated from the latter 1800s and the 1940s, as I have such an attraction to those styles of fixtures. I love your store and your restoration of the Cross House!

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