I am continuing work on lighting for our guest bedroom. This week I worked on lamps for the side tables on either side of the bed. These are in a Teslapunk style and feature etched glass versions of Maxwell’s equations of electromagnetism. For more on Maxwell’s Equations see here.
I purchased these antique lamps at a flea market several years ago. Kathleen saw them and thought they looked really unique
They were pretty old and dirty.
It’s hard to see in this picture of the inside top of one of the lamps, but there is a layer of soot inside. I realized that these were gas lamps that had been converted to electric at one time. The are cast pieces made entirely of tin. That puts there age back around 100 years I think.
I removed the glass plates and old electrical hardware.
Then I found some oak pieces to make a base for the lamps.
Two pieces were cut to size.
The bases were then drilled so the cord could be inserted into the base and up through the lamp.
I routered a round edge all the way around the bases.
The bases just fit the lamps. I am came up with an idea to make some brass clips to hold the lamps to the bases.
To make this work I cut some slots into the base on the top of the right and left side.
These are the completed bases with slots stained and varnished.
Next I machined some brass rod that will serve as the clip/fastener.
There are four, two for each lamp.
Then I machined a notch in each clip the same height as the bottom of the tin bottom of each lamp.
These are the completed clips with one set in place showing how it will clip the base to the lamp.
A base mounted temporarily.
This is the new hardware and switches for the lamp.
I had purchased a number of these brass plates that were stamped with a number. They were fairly old and I thought they would look very nice as an accent to the lamps.
I added three to each lamp. One on the front and one on each side.
A new switch mounted and ready for wiring.
New lamp hardware was also attached.
The top was then wired.
The lamps ready to be attached to the new bases.
Stick on red felt was applied to the bottom of each base.
Reproduction cloth covered cord was inserted into each base.
The cord was wired into the switch and the clips put in place to attach the bases to the lamps.
I will use these reproduction Edison bulbs for both lamps. Next, I need to make replacement glass.
I am terrible at cutting glass so I had the glass cut at a glass shop.
I used these vinyl letters and a glass etching paste to frost the glass pieces and add clear lettering.
I decided to put Maxwell’s equations on the glass plates, one on each side. The electromagnetic equations actually predict the existence of light. They were derived in the mid 1800’s by James Clerk Maxwell based on the work of many people who were attempting to work out the physics of electricity and magnetism. I thought it would be cool to have these equations on a lamp that was converted from gas to electricity back when these equations were revolutionizing the way people lived.
The first equation in vinyl letters.
The etchant was applied and five minutes later.
The first plates are done.
The next two are completed.
The next two, getting more complex.
The final plates.
A completed lamp with the glass inserted and to top set back on.
Maxwell’s equations work Light is created.
The lamps in there final locations.
Right side table.
Left side table.
And one more.
Etched equation close up.
Another view of an etched equation.