The Cross House

On The Hunt For The Lost Gas Sconces. PART 5

Finding early 1890s gas/electric chandeliers and sconces for the Cross House will be a monumental, daunting task, requiring many years (decades?), and also requiring a vast fortune. Yes, I play the lottery weekly.

Another monumental task will be finding period-correct glass shades for all the lights. I grow weak at the very thought.

Last year I purchased a number of fixtures which I later learned were more 1904 than 1894. And all were electric rather than gas/electric. As such, I have been restoring these, and listing them for sale. Most need shades, and the simple fixtures seem to require simple shades rather than the more elaborate shades seen in the early 1890s.

While going through old lighting catalogs I noticed that a number of post-1900 fixtures had plain white shades with rippled edges.

I found such a set online, but they looked new to me. I could not explain why, as I know so little about pre-1920 fixtures and shades.

The solution? I emailedĀ Bo Sullivan! He graciously responded, and I thought I would create a post about what I learned, and included Bo’s observations in quotes, below.

 

NEW.
These are the shades I was curious about. Old or new? The verdict from Bo? NEW. Then Bo went on to explain why. Ya’ gotta love the man.

 

Vintage
VINTAGE. This shade IS vintage. Can you see the difference? It is, to my eyes, just more elegant.

 

Vintage
VINTAGE. This just takes my breath away. I have not given a thought to colored shades before but after staring at this beauty I may reconsider. And such a shade would well complement the colorful stained-glass windows. Not the incredible delicacy of the ruffling. This single shade is $84.

 

VINTAGE. looks old - see the fitter lip shape and thinness?
VINTAGE. Again, note the incredible delicacy of the ruffling, and the thin fitter edge on top.

 

VINTAGE
VINTAGE.

 

NEW
VINTAGE. These threw Bo. For a bit. The thick fitter edges made him think: NEW! But the more he looked at the shades, and the delicacy of their ruffling, he realized that they were vintage. There are five of these available for $474. Eek.

 

VINTAGE
VINTAGE.

 

NEW.
NEW. Note the thick lip at the top. You don’t see this with vintage versions. And can you appreciate that the ruffling lacks the delicacy seen on the vintage shades?

 

New
NEW. These are commonly seen, and a far cry from the subtle, artful delicacy of the vintage versions. Note the thick fitter edges on top.

 

NEW. "Shades like this give Victorian a bad name."
NEW. “Shades like this give Victorian a bad name.”

 

NOTE

I do not mean to suggest that vintage shades all have ruffled edges. Shades from the Victorian-era come in all shapes and styles.

6 Responses to On The Hunt For The Lost Gas Sconces. PART 5

  1. I read this post, and then shortly later I see this.

    Now you’ve got me wondering if they’re new, if they’re old, how old is the fixture itself? Makes me wish it was flea market/garage sale season!

  2. Ross, have you considered hunting down a pair or two of gas/electric sconces that use those cool glass candle shades for the gas component, instead of the more traditional 3 or 4 inch fitter type? If you did that, you could actually wire both for electric, but get the look of gas, if you snaked a GY6.35 or a G4 base flicker bulb and socket up inside the candle shade along the gas spindle. I pretty recently tried this as an experiment with a fabulous pair of gas/electric sconces I stole for next to nothing on eBay, and it turned out great! This might save you some money in trying to find 10,000 of the same shade for every sconce, as there are only very few variaties of gas/candle shades out there, so if you were to go with plain white ones,they would go with almost any shade you decided to use for the downward facing electric bulb.

  3. i’ll have to send some pix of the shades i have. i have about 20 of those thin glass with various patterns. some i collected over the years as i’ve always been fascinated by great glass – lighting and stained and about 10 or more all came out of a house the organization i do landscaping bought that was built in 1840 but much of it stopped at around 1900 so many hanging lights with those beautiful glass shades

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