The Cross House

Finding Correct Period-Correct Lighting

When I purchased the Cross House I knew that it originally had gas ceiling fixtures.

Later, I discovered that it actually had gas/electric fixtures, and the house may have been the first in Emporia wired for electricity.

Later, I discovered that the house also had gas/electric sconces throughout.

So, this meant that the gas fixtures I had been collecting were not right for the house. These were resold. And the early electric fixtures I had purchased were also resold. Then I began collecting only gas/electric chandeliers. It proved difficult finding early 1890s gas/electric chandeliers and, to date, I have only purchased one:

 

Which hangs in the parlor. I also have a matching fixture in storage. It is too grand for the other rooms.

 

All the rest of the gas/electric chandeliers I purchased are NQPC (not-quite-period-correct) like this chandelier in the entry hall which is circa-1904. Moreover, this is NOT an entry hall style chandelier, but was rather intended more for a parlor.

 

My task, thus, is to keep seeking out period-correct chandeliers. I also need to find a proper entry hall fixture, and these looked like…

 

…these. The right one is gas/electric and would be ideal for the entry hall of the Cross House. Note how all the fixtures have beveled glass panels.

 

Another entry hall style gas/electric pendant.

 

Occasionally, I have found gas entry hall pendants or electric entry hall pendants but it has proved maddeningly elusive to acquire gas/electric period-correct entry hall style pendants.

Until yesterday…

 

Gadzooks! An early 1890s gas/electric entry hall pendant!

 

The electric sockets are missing but these can be replaced. Each socket would have held a gas shade.

 

The glass panels are missing but beveled glass can be ordered. The gas key on the bottom is also missing but that, too, can be replaced.

 

Even with all the issues, I was soooooooooo not going to let this escape from my clutches on eBay, and I was the high bidder! Just $199! Actually, I was the only bidder.

The pendant will cost a few more pennies to make right, and I will order beveled/glass panels from Hoefer Stained Glass. Bo graciously offered to find a replacement gas valve.

I will not replace the gas fitting and will only use the electric aspect of the pendant.

Now I just need to get an actual ceiling in the entry hall.

 

 

31 Responses to Finding Correct Period-Correct Lighting

  1. Hurrah! A step at a time, Ross. With Bo’s help, and the Ross community (yes, there is a Ross community), it will be so.

  2. It’s too bad we can’t go back to gas lighting.

    That’s why I put dimmers on my gas-electric reproductions so I can mimic the soft amber light that a gas flame could deliver.

    • I like the dimmer idea! Are the valves on the fixtures converted to a dimmer switch? Though for me the issue would be bulbs…Most flame mimicking bulbs suck and depending on the fixture, any bulb may look odd.

  3. One step …wonderful to know Bo …equally wonderful Hoefer Stained Glass has wonderfully restored Cross House stained glass windows … & can help w beveled glass.

    Can’t wait to see this piece restored! This winter provide a ceiling for the entry — please please pretty please!

  4. That Welsbach-type gas mantle burner would have been added to the fixture as a technology upgrade in the late 1890s or early 1900s to increase efficiancy and light output – the original would have been a lava-tipped simple flame burner like can be seen on the old images, with no interior shade. A little brass or glass smoke bell will be wanted to complete the magic of the fixture as well.

  5. That is a great find! Wouldn’t it be great if you could still order from those old catalogs? The sad part is how many people just throw this kind of thing away, not realizing the value. A house in our neighborhood was recently flipped, and the “before” photos showed original 1920s wedding cake ceiling fixtures in the bedrooms, and the “after” showed $20 big-box home store fixtures.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the restored and completed result!

    • We call that Lowe’s throwing up in side it. YUCK! My friend Lisa and I see it all the time in the historic neighborhood we work in, people get these beautiful historic homes gut them then it looks like they go to Lowes’s and buy one of everything on the showroom. Its awful and heartbreaking.

  6. I actually laughed out loud when you said now I need a ceiling! That sure would help! But remember not to get side tracked. You have to finish the NE corner first. Indoor is for winter.
    You are amazing though!

  7. Ross, I just saw that someone posted a lot of sconces that were gas and electric on the architectural salvage marketplace page on Facebook. The person didn’t really know what she had and was asking for information. I tried to tag you because I thought you were a member of that group but your name didn’t show up on the list. I can’t find the seller’s name now.

  8. Ross, the parlor gas/electric fixture is beautiful. Right at home in the parlor. And what a great find the entry light fixture was. Will the beveled glass panels be clear or colored? Can’t wait to see the light hanging from the entry ceiling.

  9. I know this is an unrelated comment, but how are we planning on dealing with that ceiling beam in picture #2 again?

  10. I am much intrigued by the charming little smoke bell in those fixtures! 😍 Not to get overly weird with it but, since it won’t actually be deflecting smoke, couldn’t the bell interior be given a mirror like finish to reflect light? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking full on disco-ball here, just a bit of shine to throw down a soft light effect. (Ok, full disclosure: disco-balls are amazing.💋)
    Like everyone else, I’ll be excited to see the entry hall ceiling go in and a fixture like this will certainly invite the eye to explore!
    Step by step, the process continues. Thanks for letting us all tag along, Ross.
    🌻

    • I was curious, and did a bit of reading on gas lighting. It’s pretty clear why it fell out of favor once electric lighting became affordable and reliable. The maintenance for gas lighting was incredibly more intensive compared to electricity!

  11. I have really enjoyed your blog and following your great restoration, what an amazing transformation! We have several period correct lighting fixtures in our home.

    Here is a link to a few of them.

  12. Hi Ross, I greatly enjoy your blog and I think it’s one of the best ones out there about restoration.

    I hope you don’t mind me using this to bring attention to a possible tragedy concerning preservation in Waukesha, Wis. Catholic Memorial High owns a magnificent 1886 National Register property known as the Casper Sanger mansion and they made the incredibly foolish choice (to put it nicely) to demolish it.

    There is an online petition called Save Sanger House and I am hoping all concerned people with a heart for historic preservation will sign it.

    The Waukesha Preservation Alliance also has a facebook page with several interior photos. Although the front tower has been altered it survives in mostly intact condition as the pictures show. The main staircase blew me away. Apparently, even the Waukesha mayor wants to see this Cream City brick masterpiece destroyed. Completely unbelievable.

    Thank you Ross for doing this blog, I always look forward to the latest post.

    • Ray, I have signed the petition to save the Sanger House. It just makes me sick to think of demolishing this beautiful house. I am familiar with Waukesha, Wisconsin is my home state. There are many Victorian houses worth noting in Waukesha and the downtown area is a treasure trove of historic buildings. I hope they change their mind when they see the support for Sanger House. Thanks for posting the petition.

      • Thanks, Cindy!

        I also signed (you can have your name withheld).

        I spent some time trying to find interior images of the house but…

        • Ross, I went to the Waukesha Preservation Alliance facebook page. There are quite a lot of pictures. The woodwork (resembles the Cross House) and staircase are gorgeous. I hope the house can be saved.

  13. Hi Ross,
    -Congratulations on your find! I have some gas sconces in my c.1810 townhouse. I have been thinking of hooking them up to small refillable tanks that I can have filled with natural gas. The idea is that they would run out of gas before long if I forgot to turn them off, but I could get the gas light effect. I really don’t know if it would work, but I think it would be interesting to occasionally use them. I wouldn’t need to run a gas line that way either.

  14. That’s an amazing light fixture! This might be a silly question, but why was that style light feature used in the entry hall as opposed to the one used in the parlor? Was it just style or was there a practical reason? Thanks!!! 🙂

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