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New page for vintage lightbulbs and lighting, and there is also a seperate page for ultra vintage amps using 201A, 112A, 171A, 30, and 31 type tubes, and crystal radio plans as well- As time permits.
This is a Blue Mazda Bulb manufactured by Westinhouse dating from the early 1920's. Note the clear tip. This is the bulb I chose for the background.
This one a Red Mazda...
Dating from the early teens.... Note the the spiral filament. The original red lacquer has been chipped over the years.
And this one is another Westinghouse Mazda dating from the early twenties- Note how the filaments of this and blue mazda differ from the Mazda of the teens, and light bulbs of today. This manner of construction is expensive, and is only in use today in reproduction light bulbs a handful of projection bulbs of high power output. All of these Mazdas on this page are rated at 40 Watts only. In the early days of motion pictures, light bulbs were not capable of producing adequate light output (expressed as "lumens"), and Carbon Arc was the only method capable of developing adequate light for projection purposes at the time. In those days, the maximum size of a reel was limited by the length of time an arc could be sustained until there was no carbon electrode left- The realistic life of one set of carbons was approximately 20-22 minutes. This meant one reel of projection film was 20 minutes on average to an absolute maximum of 22 minutes. This is what those marks up in the corners are that are visible in older films are for, so the projectionist knows to start the other projector. Sometimes these marks can still seen today at times when the film is meant for theaters where they are not fully automated. The life span of the carbon arc electrodes is where film lengths came to be known as "reelers", or "reels". Feature length films were usually 4 to 6 reals long (except for a few expansive motion pictures by Cecil B. DeMill and a few others.). Laurel and Hardy movies usaually tended to be anywhere from a single reel on up to feature length 6 "reelers". And episode serials usually were 1 reel per episode. Some of these later got spliced into feature length films, such as a number of "Buck Rogers" and "Flash Gordon" films were.

The base I have used for the shots of the bulbs lit, and a few of the unlit bulb shots is actually a ceiling fixture that at one time had a chain suspended globe, and the chains simply looped onto a steel or brass ring of a smaller diameter than the flared portion of porcelain.

This what the un-lit bulbs above look like in the same order: (Note the Westinghouse markings on the newer red Mazda bulb.)

The Westinghouse markings on the Blue Mazda...

The Westinghouse markings on the clear Mazda match these as far as the etched markings, but this clear still has the paper tag which barely able to be read in this image....

Here is an interesting application even by today's standards...
This is actually a dual plug with a pilot light. Perhaps it was intended to be used with an AC powered radio with seperate amp, or an electric record player. 
The tipped bulb dates the bulb to about 1915, as it has the wound carbonized filament that is not really well seen in the images, but the plug dates from after about 1921 based on patent dates, as well as another excellent reference site for these types of bulbs is below, if not readable, the link will open in a new window- 

Kilocat's vintage light bulb site has a tremendous wealth of information that I could not even think of starting anything of that scale here.

I will be adding a few vintage Christmas lights to this page in the future. I have a few strings that date from the thirties, but the bulbs are not always any different in appearance from the newer bulbs. As well as a few lighted ornaments, one of which dates from 1952, and uses bulbs that are no longer produced. I will also add a few links to more Vintage Christmas lights.

But not only are the vintage light bulbs of interest, but so are some of the fixtures and fittings that are of the same vintages, or even slightly newer. After all, most of todays lighting desings are lacking in taste, and originality. Some of the worst examples came to us/come to us from about 1970 (When "Post-Modernism" was taking hold), through today.

Granted, "lollipop" lighting that was common in postwar institutional use (like schools, offices, etc) that was nothing more than a round globe on the end of a chrome pipe (very modernist at the same time being very "Bau Haus"), served a purpose- The extra touches that were seen prior to the war, now were just a frivolous expense for something that few people would look at. All was not lost, because interior designs did not fully lose character; they just became harder to find as some stylists got wierder.  

One nice tasteful example to come from the post war era is this one, I do not know who the manufacturer was, the designer, or the actual date this was introduced, but I have a fair amount of reference material to suggest this came out with a fair amount of "French Provincial" revival that pretty much began in 1941, put on hold for the war, then came out full force after the war- But then dropped out of fashion as "Danish Modern" and the "Jet Age" hit the scene.  It may not be evident on your monitor, but there is a faint purple shade to the whole globe. Compare it to the white porcelain base that retains it. The camera renders in a bit of a yellow shading to everyhting in this image, but if you were to adjust the image to reduce the yellow, you would make out the shading.  

Something a lot of people fail to realize when they have a modern ceiling fan, depending upon which style you chose, you are not required to live with that uninspired cheap globe that came with the fan- You can use the vintage light globes instead. Below is one example that almost wound up on my ceiling fan in the basement, but there would have been zero headroom under it for someone even 5 foot 10; but a different story if I had 9 or 10 foot ceilings.  

The key is to measure the "fitter"- The dimension on the fixture that the globe has to fit inside to be retained by the retaining screws. Older globes are going to be either a closer fit than you may expect, or they may be slightly smaller than expected. It is for this reason that you see porcelain fitter bases on these globes pictured here instead of the cheap modern steel ones- Which can work, but you need to pay close attention to the amount of threads coming through the metal fitter base. I do have vintage globes on the small lights on two ceiling fans, and they fit snug, but I have to be careful when relamping that I do not knock the globe loose because the retaining screws on one fan thread in only perhaps 4 full threads, or less; there is "just enough" for the screw not to pull out/fall out.

Another aspect to the lighting are the floor lamps, there are far too many types to mention, but there are some that have lit bases. From above, they look like a soapstone, or granite detail, but some have a small bulb underneath that is switched either from it's own switch, or as an extra detent on the main switch. Unless you re-wire the lamps yourself, some of these details get missed. At some point in the future I plan to add just one image of one of these types of lamps, but for now you have to rely upon your imagination. 

Yet another aspect that some have devoted a fair amount of study to, but not I are the finials used on some lamps, and lamp shades. 


This Antique Radio Webring site owned by John McPherson.
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