The Cross House

Yearning for my Lost Lighting

When built in 1894, the Cross House had lighting fixtures which were a combination of gas and electric.

None remain. Much to my vexation. Nor do I have tantalizing interior archival images to offer an idea of what was. More vexation!

I assume the fixtures were removed when the house was turned into the Palace Motel in 1950, as a way of making the old house seem modern. On the bright side, this is all that was removed during this likely update. All the mantles (and overmantels) remain, as do the doors, windows, and 40 stained-glass windows. Whew!

Finding great 1890s gas/electric fixtures is daunting, and finding them at something even vaguely resembling affordability is near-impossible. I imagine that at some point many many many years down the road I will stumble across a dazzling specimen in an old garage for $50. Or rather, I pray for such a discovery.

Thus, you can imagine my intense jealousy when Matt came across a knock-out for his 1889 house:

 

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Zounds! Double zounds! I would KILL for such a fixture. You can see the upper electric arms. The lower arms would have originally been for gas, with shade fitters, and large glass shades. Sorta kinda like…

 

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…this. Even if one finds an 1890s gas/electric chandelier, it is a whole other problem finding a matched set of gas and electric shades. This is why I passed on a great opportunity a few months ago.

 

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Matt thought his knock-out was brass, but discovered it was actually silver-plated. After an agonizing six months of work (the man is a hero to me) he was able to restore the original OMG finish. He did a post about this great endeavor. Oh, and Matt spent YEARS looking for just such a chandelier. The chandelier is now being rewired, and I am breathless to see the restored beauty hanging. I imagine that Matt is several levels beyond breathless. The images of the chandelier are courtesy Matt Mazanec.

 

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A curious aspect of Matt’s chandelier is the location of the upper electric arms. Normally, electric arms on a gas/electric fixture are under the gas arms. Matt wonders if the electric arms were an early addition to the chandelier. (NOTE: Gas arms face UP and electric arms face DOWN.)

 

UPDATE:

Shortly after going live with this post, Matt let me know the following:

“I first thought the lower gas arms would have had gas shades and fitters too, but it turns out they never had shades. The arms are too close together for shades and doing research this chandelier would have originally had glass bobeches and sleeves.”

So, wow. His chandelier never did have glass shades over the gas jets. Cool. Cool!

While I restore vintage lighting for a living, I specialize in post-1920 lighting. Victorian-era lighting is an entirely different species.

But it is fun learning a new language.

Thanks, Matt!

2 Responses to Yearning for my Lost Lighting

  1. Ross being a man in the lighting business I’d think you would come across gas fixtures every now and then. I get most of mine from ebay, but sometimes locally. I’ll keep my eyes out for fixtures for you.

  2. I have stayed here, and the owner goes to auctions, etc. to find light fixtures and shades. He has quite a collection in the house, as well as extras. He may be a resource for you. This house was not in as dire need on the interior when they bought it, but the outside was scary.

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