Tips From Vera

His name was Nikola, and he lit up the lamps of my life.

I may have a lighting problem? The truth is I own way too many lamps. Lamps for reading, lamps for general illumination, Lamps as accents, lamps for drawing and painting I have all sorts of lamps! Table lamps, sconces, chandeliers in bronze and glass, globes and busts, classical, sculpted, heavy and light, I even have a lamp in the Art Nouveau style in the shape of a pouncing cat!

Cat Lamp

From porcelain to bronze, milk glass to crystal my collection is vast. One issue I find with lamps is safety. Having come of age in an era where most people  in the area where I was raised still lacked electricity and indoor plumbing, electricity was a marvel! At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (don’t ask me how I got there) I was one of the twenty million visitors who basked under the glaring new bulbs of the future! Well, it’s certainly been a while since I’ve seen those type of screw in illumination. These day’s I’m all about energy efficiency, and although less charming (downright dull looking) I have been using the new fangled compact fluorescent variety and I always make sure to use the correct bulb and wattage listed on the socket. I regularly check the cords and make sure I unplug them at the plug, not by the cord. A beautiful lamp can be passed down through the generations and make quite an heirloom, or passed down upon someone’s skull in “self defense”. That was the verdict and no matter what anyone says or tries that will never change, it’s called double jeopardy people. Just one such heirloom lamp has been in my possession for ages and I love it dearly. When I inherited said illumination device I examined it carefully. The shattered silk shade was beyond repair, the fine green celadon porcelain was covered in muck but the brass trim was perfectly aged. However the first thing I noticed was the age of the cord (covered in rayon) and this was just no good (cluck tongue). Now was a good time to re-wire the lamp. You can do this easily yourself or if you are even the slightest bit uncomfortable you can take your piece to a licensed electrician. Lamp kits are available at the hardware store for a very low cost and are quite easy to assemble.


Lamp Kit

Now is a great time to clean up your fixture as well. Carefully disassemble the lamp, record where each part goes and take pictures with your phone for reference. Once this step is done you can wash that dirty porcelain or glass carefully, polish the brass or metal-work if you wish (I prefer an aged patina to a shiny “New Money” look) and find replacements for any broken or rusty hardware. I suggest saving as much as you can, most of the time the brass socket is of standard size and just needs new cardboard insulation and up dated hardware. When reassembling the lamp make sure to tighten everything up securely. Pop on that shade and turn it on to enjoy your now electrically up to date lamp! Just a suggestion, I like to use lower watt bulbs in a pale pink color. They’re so much more flattering when dimmed…especially if you have company…. Mood lighting, if you know what I mean (in a pinch you can always just toss a pink or red silk scarf over the shade for that bordello look you’re so fond of, Slut). Happy homemaking!

As always,

– Vera

Man Lamp

PS. I do not use plastic lampshade covers like the example in this photograph. But I would use that man… to replace the bulbs in my chandeliers! Get your mind out of the gutter.

PPS. I was going to tell you about my brief, but inspiring, affair with Nikola Tesla. However, we’ve run out of time. My apologies.


About otter

Just a furry little guy from the backwoods who has a penchant for other furry men and their activities.