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Restoring Vintage Bridge Lamps

Using uno lamp shades on bridge lamps

Uno Bridge lamp without the shade 

It’s worth the time, effort and expense to restore a vintage bridge lamp! 

The quintessential reading lamp of the 20th century was a bridge lamp, typically, 4-1/2’ – 5’ tall,  with a lampshade which hung down from the lamp-arm. A swivel mechanism, enabled easy adjustment of shade, providing ideal task lighting. Dating back to the early 1900’s, these lamps were originally used alongside tables for card games and occasional chairs for reading and handwork. Designs ranged from simple, plain forms to fancy decorative shapes.  Bridge lamps were made of brass, cast iron, bronze or zinc, however weight of lamps was very manageable, making it easy to pick up lamp and move it from one location to the next. Lamp shades were made of parchment, mica, linen, silk or glass.

 

 Due to their practicality and ease of use, bridge lamps have remained popular for approximately 100 years.

While the lamp itself is normally in good condition, the lamp socket, swivel and lamp shade typically need to be replaced.  First and foremost, it is important to rewire older lamps, for safety reasons, as lamp-wire and sockets deteriorate over time. 

 Uno threaded socket screws into uno lamp shadeBrass Socket Cover used to conceal lamp socket

For-safety it is best to rewire vintage lamps

Most of these lamps use a wing-nut socket swivel to attach socket to lamp, however there are a few which use a coupling type socket swivel which screws onto standard 1/8 IP lamp pipe to attach socket to lamp. Once socket-swivel is in place a uno socket is attached to swivel.

A 12' lamp cord is recommended when rewiring bridge lamp. The extra length often comes in handy when re-positioning lamps.

Uno lamp sockets are a standard Edison base design with special exterior threads. These uno sockets produce a dual function: provide energy to power light bulb and to support a uno lamp shade.

A brass socket cover, also known as a husk can be added to bridge lamps to decoratively conceal socket.

 Parchment Uno Lamp Shade displayed on Floor Lamp

 

Uno Lamp Shades are made with a special 1-1/4” center ring fitter near the top of shade. This ring screws directly onto lamp socket to support shade. Once in place, socket with shade, is easily adjusted to best angle for task lighting.

All Bridge Lamp Shades are approximately the same size as these floor lamps have somewhat uniform dimensions. Shapes include round and hex forms. Shade-materials provide many decorative options to match your home interiors. Homespun linen, stitched candlewick design, scenic parchment paper, natural mica and traditional white and off-white silk. Select the shade that best suits your style!


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