Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I'm pleased to announce we added a 9lb. brass baby bouillotte to the family.  I picked up this little guy for $5 in the recesses of the basement in the same house as the boudoir lamp.  I literally had to use a flashlight and just saw a hint of a glimmer in the corner.  I knew it had great classic design and with a little TLC could be restored back to former glory. 

So that's what I knew...but what I didn't know was extensive!  For one, everything from the 20's is smaller.  Anytime you go to an estate sale from that era it's as if you are walking around tiny town.  Petite silverware, furniture, glassware (I think they stayed so little by having to run to the facet every 5 minutes to fill their tiny glasses with water) and I would NEVER attempt to sit in one of those small chairs.  You know the policy if you break it you buy it.  What I'm getting at here is that parts can't be replaced because they are smaller than what we have now.  So my husband spent 2 days trying to get the new wiring to fit into the base of our lamp.  And as you'll see from the next couple of photos there were no nifty tricks in the 20's like ribbed wiring on one side to let you know if it is a negative or a positive.  Notice the wires my husband taped together to use as a diagram later.  He used the taped together wires, a diagram that he drew and a lot of muttering out loud to himself, "The electricity goes in here and then needs to be grounded here and comes out here and then repeat."  Here's the photo trail of how this little French brat caused us much grief and then made us proud just like a real little bundle of joy.

Notice the brass is not in top condition and needed to be completely rubbed down with denatured alcohol to get rid of the deterioration.  Also, the lamp shade was in pretty good condition but had one slight pinhole on the right side.  It lasted 80 years and then 5 minutes with my husband before it was completely a goner, he somehow poked one of the candlesticks completely through the side. So, I took it took a lampshade specialist in Coney Island who replaced the dark red cardboard with crisp white linen.  By the way,  it feels really fancy to get something custom made, I highly recommend it.

Here it is after being brought back to original finish, the wiring diagram held together by tape, the candlesticks which we had to paint white since they were metal and Home Depot only sells plastic ones that were to big, and the cloth cord which needed to be replaced.  Plus the lampshade which we were only able to salvage the cage.

This is what we ended up with.  It was difficult, but to best describe this lamp, I'm going to borrow a line from my mom and dad that I never truly understood until now.  "It's a classic and they don't make 'em like they use to!"

1 comment:

Jasna said...

What a great project, and terrific results!