First let us define antique floor lamp. Of course a floor lamp normally rests upon the floor instead of resting upon a table, the wall or the ceiling. The overall definition of an antique means something from a bygone era. This places the term beyond your legal arena and into common usage. “era” is general perceived and means a long indefinite time frame which also works out perfectly for this general definition.
This general definition works perfectly since any identification of an “antique floor lamp” is fairly useless without time period designation normally by means of circa 1905 which literally means “about the year 1905”. So I use the word antique floor lamp on this basis and frequently substitute it with the word vintage floor lamp. This discussion will not address modern reproductions of antique lamps that is another subject to itself.
More and more people are learning to appreciate the quality and styling of antique floor lamps especially as most of the ones being produced today are molded plastic and literally designed to be thrown away. Most all floor lamp makers from the turn of the century made their lamps from heavy metals such as for example cast iron, brass, steel and cast zinc sometimes combined with marble, onyx, glass and stone. Bunk beds sturdy enough for adults Our lamp shop regularly restores these antique floor lights for resale as well as for our customers’ own use.
From our 30 years of experience it is clear that many of the antique floor lamps can last for hundreds of years. The electrical components, the fabric shades and the painted finishes often need restoration but most were made out of such fine quality, that they are a much better value than brand new top quality lamps that sell for many hundreds of dollars. You will find some other surprises about these collectible works of art below.
High quality, beauty and function were powerful influences on the makers of antique floor lights. Many people are aware of their outstanding quality and beauty but completely surprised about the highly developed functional and technical characteristics. There are far too many examples to list here but I will mention a few the more important ones.
The brightest lamp you can purchase today in virtually any store was designed and made circa 1920. Additionally it is the most versatile lamp that one could buy anywhere. Further it’ll outlast most any modern lamp that you can find at any price. This antique floor lamp is well known by a numerous names such as: 6 Way Floor Lamp, Reflector Floor Lamp, and “JUNIOR”. The design begins with a heavy metal base sometimes highly decorated with an upright tubing leading up to a central electrical socket surrounded by 3 arm lights (4 lights total).
The central light requires a 3 way bulb (low-medium-high) that is often a MOGUL size which is larger than a standard socket with higher wattage (100-200-300 watts). The three arm lights are controlled by way of a switch that can turn on separately just 1, 2 or all 3 of the arm lights. Further, many of these JUNIORS had a small light beneath the base which provided an extremely subtle nighttime floor light operated by way of a foot switch mounted on the side of the base.
As if this weren’t enough, the central top socket is encased in a large metal cup which holds a white waffle patterned glass bowl that reflects light upward to bounce of the ceiling. A fabric or silk shade (also called JUNIOR shade) rests upon the glass reflector bowl to reflect light downward for reading. An individual arm light can provide a simple night light or at it brightest setting, it can light up an entire room. There is no brighter lamp or more versatile lamp available anywhere today also it was designed and made nearly 100 years ago!
One of the better reading lamps in the world was also designed circa 1920. It has been highly imitated nonetheless it still remains unchallenged. The Bridge Arm Floor Lamp or Bridge Lamp has a typical floor lamp design with metal base and upright standard that may take the form of various forms of decorated tubing, twisted iron rods, etc. Near the top of the standard is a decorative cast metal arm with a graceful arc or curvature which ends with an electrical socket pointing downward and covered by a fabric or glass shade.
This has the effect of offsetting the light by about 14-18″ from the upright standard at the same time lowering it in order that it is closer to the reading material or work project. The effect is a superb reading lamp or work lamp which places the lamp very near the task at hand. Many of these Bridge Arm Floor Lamps have convenient pull chains which hang below underneath of the lampshade for ease of operation.