Venetian Blind Lampshades

I spotted the decrepit thing during one of my regular visits to the thrift store.  I like to trawl the shelves just in case something collectable is there.  On the rare occasion, something antique?  But the lamp was especially noteworthy because of its complete state of disrepair and filthy appearance.  But it had one very appealing feature, the lampshade.

I like 1950s sheet-metal slatted lampshades.  The ones that look like Venetian blinds in lampshade form.  I have a deer lamp that sports a red Venetian blind lampshade.  Every visitor to my den falls in love with it and asks if they can purchase it when I get tired of it.  Well, It’s been parked on my desk next to my computers for 10-years and I have yet to get tired of the thing.

They’re extremely difficult to find, even in bad condition.  Afficiandos of vintage stuff are willing to pay more than top dollar just to have an incomplete Venetian blind lampshade in their collection.  I’ve been very fortunate to find them in crappy but fixable shape.

The poor thing in the thrift shop was worse than bad.  It had been tipped over and/or dropped.  The support structures had been compromised and the vanes were out of kilter and not squared.  The top spokes were bent terribly.  On top of everything else, the thing was coated with tobacco film slime, mildew, mold, mysterious adhesives and unspeakable stickiness.  The enamel appeared to be badly scuffed in places, too.

I checked the web to see if the horse base had any value.  On the first row of the first page of the Ecosia search, I saw a lamp like my project lamp.  I was surprised to see that it also sported a white Venetian blind lampshade.  Further into the search I found yet another example, the same way.  Usually, the Venetian blind lampshades were sold as aftermarket accessories to dress up an existing lamp.  I found out otherwise in this instance.

The one I just adopted needed to be disassembled, scrubbed, sanitized and polished.  In addition to a pail of warm water with “Mr. Clean” in solution, I needed some “Goo Gone” citrus oil and “Spic And Span” powder. I did a pre-soak of the lampshade in the kitchen sink filled with a hot water/”Mr. Clean” solution for half an hour.

I used an old dishwashing cloth to scrub each vane of the lampshade individually.  I started with the outer surfaces and finished with the inner portions.  The scuffs, at first, looked like damaged enamel, but they turned out to be worked in scuffs.  I used “Spic And Span” powder dry onto the dishcloth and rubbed with some muscle to remove the scuffs.  Later, I decided to lightly go over the entire outer surface with more applications of “Spic And Span”.  I rinsed the lampshade completely in cool water at the sink.  Then dried all the surfaces with a clean, soft terry-cloth car polishing towel.

I set about the long task of aligning the vanes.  I am reasonably sure I have everything in displayable condition, but the thing is still out of kilter.  I will be working bit by bit on the lampshade for the next, who knows how many months until I get it squared away.

I turned my attention to the horse shaped base.  I had to be careful because the construction is not pottery but is more porous chalkware.  I needed a fresh water/”Mr. Clean” solution because the tobacco slime was especially nasty and had worked into the glaze.  I was extra gentle with the base because I’m not familiar with the limits of the material.  It did clean up very nicely.  There are some slight chips and small areas where the piece suffered abuse, but I did not repair them.  To do so will diminish the resale value of the piece.

Next, I checked over the wiring to make certain of its safety.  I reassembled the unit a installed a CFL spiral bulb to update it for energy efficiency.  It is now situated near the sofa in my music room so I can use the lamp for reading.

I want to show off my other projects that featured Venetian Blind Lampshades.  The red shaded lamp, mentioned earlier, is on my desk.

The round shaped lampshade is situated on my nightstand.  

Luckily, the rounded shape was intact.  All I needed was to remove rust, dirt and film to restore that lampshade.  I’ve never seen another like it.


TheBlue Jay of Happiness asks if you have a good idea on how to square up the lampshade on the horse lamp to please let the blogger know.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Hobbies, Vintage Collectables. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Venetian Blind Lampshades

  1. robe says:

    I’m glad that I’ve found this web site. What a classy blog! I admire how appointed each of the entries are. They are well balanced, both informational and amusing, and the pictures are cool too.

  2. Deb says:

    I guess I got realty lucky to day the least.I go browsing all the time and enjoy doing so.On my journeys today I found one of the rounded venetian blind shades, knowing nothing about how hard this find is, I am ready to sell it to whom ever is interested.

  3. swabby429 says:

    I have it, but it’s not for sale. Thanks for asking.

  4. Trina says:

    Hi, I am looking for more information on these types of lamps. I have a matching pair of lamps whose base resembles the neck and head of a swan and the Venetian shade is curved with three sides. Bases are black and shades are red. I have found Chalkware lamps shaped like black roosters with rectangle shades, but this is the closest I have come to finding a match. I would love to sell mine, but am first researching the maker and possible value of the pair. Please contact me at if you can share any info with me. THANKS! 🙂

  5. Trina says:

    If you email me, please put venetian lamps in the subject line so I can easily notice it. Thanks again! Trina

  6. Trina says:

    Blue Jay of Happiness,
    I have a feeling that my lamps are related to your lamp with a rounded shade. Your shade appears to have four curves, where mine only have three curves. The bases are very similar also. Have you found out any information about who manufactured your lamp? Thanks again, again! lol

    • swabby429 says:

      I have scoured the web and have come up with nothing. Information about these things is more scarce than the lampshades, themselves. Many people, older than me (61) had never even seen one until they visited my home. Sorry. I’d love the info too. Maybe a reader knows?

      • Trina says:

        Thanks for getting back with me. Hopefully someone else will find our comments and help us out. I too have searched and searched. Only thing I know for sure is that Fred S. Zinda received a patent for the ‘Collapsible and Invertible Lamp Shade’ on Jan. 13, 1953 (he applied for it Jan 20, 1951). I even have a pdf copy of this patent. My shades still have the patent number on a sticker that led me to that information. Unfortunately, my lamps have no identifying marks. I have started a pinterest page showing all photo examples that I have found on the internet. Most of them are from people selling them on ebay and etsy. No one seems to have any real info on them though, and the prices range from $20 to $400. If I find out anything else, I will come back here and post it for you. 🙂 Thanks again!

  7. swabby429 says:

    Thanks Trina. These are really arcane items. That’s part of the allure, I think.

  8. Richard says:

    A lamp that I inherited from my grandmother has a venetian blind lampshade. The base has an oriental feel with two Chinese figures sitting under a black arch. The red shade that came on the lamp is no longer usable. The fabric tape holding the sections together has dried out and broken in several places. I’d really like to repair the shade so that I can update the lamp and use it again. Does anyone have any ideas on how these shades can be repaired?

  9. Karen Smith says:

    Are you able to put Judy with the Venetian Lamp shade in touch with me???

  10. Claudiaq says:

    I. Too have three of these lamps and one of them has the broken tape problem. I’m clever and have come up with a few sort of repairs. But if anyone knows how to repair them I’d love to know how.

  11. Rachel says:

    I would like to know if you still have the horse lamp Venetian shade? My mother had one and my brother was talking about it the other day. If so, would you consider selling it? Or, point in a direction to find one. I would really like to surprise my brother with it.

    • swabby429 says:

      I sold that lamp ensemble a couple of years ago during a major downsizing auction. It was difficult parting with it because it’s such a fun and unique style.

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