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Electrifying Antique Lighting
There are simple converters available which screw on to oil lamps in place of the original burner, and immediately turn them into electric lamps. These are made in several popular sizes and are inexpensive.
Gone-With-the-Wind lamps require a more elaborate wiring and should be electrified by an expert.
Besides old lamps there are many other items and objets d'art which can be successfully made into attractive lamps. Any nicely shaped vase, urn, or bowl which will look good with the other furniture of the room for which it is intended will be appropriate. These, too, should be given to a professional to electrify, for the amateur can easily crack or break them by not having the proper tools nor the experience necessary. It is cheaper to pay for having a lovely vase converted into a lamp than to risk breaking it, thereby losing your complete investment.
Amusing shapes in copper and brass are often made into lamps, including such unlikely shapes as teapots, completed with pierced colanders for shades.
Turned wood of a pleasing shape, and carved wood from a broken pedestal table or a broken four-poster bed, will sometimes make a pretty lamp base; needing only to have a hole drilled down through the middle plus the addition of electric parts. Nearly anything can be, and is being, converted into lamps. The only limitation is your own imagination.
Be sure to avoid using anything which will prove top-heavy or easily tipped over when converted. If you must have that particular item made into a lamp be sure to have the base weighted.
After choosing your lamp base and having it electrified, comes the problem of choosing the shade. Frequently the shade will cost more than the lamp itself. One couple found this out recently when the wife bought a vase with a hole already drilled in the bottom for the bargain price of only fifty cents. "Just the thing for the guest room," she told her husband, "and it will hardly cost anything." The electric parts came to less than two dollars but despite much searching the least expensive shade found which would look good with the base cost over eight dollars. "But the base was such a bargain." (And what woman can pass up a bargain?)
Although it may seem awkward at the time, it is best to take the lamp base with you when you go shopping for a shade. Measurements may be accurate, but cannot give you the completed appearance; only by actually trying the shades on your lamp will you be able to see just how it will look in your house.