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.