I have been restoring vintage lights since I was a teenager in the mid-1970s. An Interstate highway was being rammed through the city where I lived, and I ran (steps ahead of the bulldozers, and with my shag haircut flying) from one incredible building to another, and from one incredible house to another, and salvaged everything I could.
My poor, bewildered parents. Their garage was soon chock-a-block with what I thought were treasures beyond compare. But which they thought was just useless flotsam. I did though once overhear my mom say: “Well, at least he’s not out doing drugs.”
However, when all their boring lights were systematically replaced with the most stunning lights they had ever seen – and all for free, rewired, and restored – they soon had second thoughts about the flotsam. (I paid for new parts by mowing lawns!)
Fast forward many decades.
One day I realized I had a pile of old lights rusting away in my basement. I hauled a few out, restored them (bringing back many old memories), and listed them on eBay.
At the time I had no idea, not a clue, that I had just radically changed my life.
Within months my life was unrecognizable, and I was working full time restoring vintage lighting and selling the fixtures across America.
My new e-commerce website is now online. Whoee! Please feel free to shop and purchase here:
My blog post are below.
In the first half of the twentieth-century there were three great lighting companies: E. F. Caldwell Lion Electric Lightolier CALDWELL Caldwell was by far the best. The company made truly exquisite lighting and they were the #1 choice for architects across the country. Indeed, when McKim, Mead & White redesigned the White House in…Continue Reading
Because I sell vintage lighting for a living, obviously I buy a lot of vintage lighting. One criteria is that the lighting have something distinctive about it. Such as with this lovely pair of Spanish-Revival sconces from the late 1920s. The fixtures are brass, but this has a highly distinctive silvery original…Continue Reading
I enjoy learning about my vintage light fixtures. What company made them? During what period? Is the company extant? If not, when did it close? Where was the company located? A very popular lighting company for decades was the John C. Virden Company. Virden was Canadian-based, at 19 Curity Avenue, Toronto. They also had a…Continue Reading
Matching sets are so cool. I collect matching sets, and finding enough fixtures to do a whole house can take years. The largest set I ever collected ended up with 27 companion fixtures! Today I listed a set with just three fixtures, a chandelier and two matching sconces. Such a set would have often been…Continue Reading
It thrills me when one of my buyers sends images of my babies in their new home. David and Angel purchased four matching Colonial-Revival sconces from me, and recently sent images. They wrote: “Purchased these from you in the spring. They are perfect. Everyone thinks they are original to the house. Mission accomplished. Thank you!” …Continue Reading
With all my experience restoring vintage lighting, I am occasionally surprised, even stunned, by the AFTER. This chandelier looked SO bad that I hesitated purchasing it. What decided things for me? The cast brass rosettes curling up from each arm. Sweet. And these looked to be of high-quality, indicating that the whole fixture…Continue Reading
Because I restore vintage lighting for a living, I naturally come across a lot of vintage lighting. And I pass on a lot of vintage lighting. I buy when something captures my special attention, such as fixtures which I have not seen previously (whoee!), or fixtures which look sad and abandoned, but which could be…Continue Reading
Sometimes I buy a vintage light just because I feel sorry for it. Like this fixture. It is from the 1920s. It had been rewired not long ago. Badly. Very badly. If anybody had tried to use the fixture it would have instantly shorted out. Scary. There were also new white plastic candle covers. A…Continue Reading
While I am always buying vintage lighting to restore, some fixtures capture my special attention, like anything with a Moderne styling. Moderne is an aesthetic which developed after the Art Deco period. This aesthetic was relatively short-lived, and reached the height of its popularity in the late 1930s. Emerald City, in the movie Wizard of Oz,…Continue Reading
It makes me sad when something beautiful is lost. It makes me even sadder when something beautiful is lost…because of a casual effort. It makes me even sadder, still, when something beautiful is lost which managed to survive, until being treated casually, for almost eighty years. Hence, this terrible story of loss. You see, I found…Continue Reading