Growing Pains

The lamp repair business has grown since it was established in March of 2018, serving an ever-widening portion of the Delmarva Peninsula. Future plans involve faster turnaround times on all repairs, same-day service for certain repairs, and issuing printed tickets complete with a photo of the lamp as presented. Customers will also have the ability to track repair progress by accessing a special page on the website, and even view the finished ticket which will list all parts used along with a photo of the finished lamp.

But putting life into those plans involves time. Given the current backlog of work waiting to be completed, additional time would not be available in the foreseeable future unless something were to be done. I need more time to focus on one or the other: picture framing or lamp repair.

The decision was lamp repair. The frame shop ceased taking new orders on August 4th, and all current open work orders for picture frames are anticipated to be completed by mid-December. Carey’s Frame Shop will officially cease doing business at the end of 2021. A list of other shops in the area may be found here.

The store property is part of the family estate, which following my mother’s death in early June, will need to be settled in due course. Regardless of that outcome, Old Lamps New Again will continue to operate. Any decision to relocate the business will more than likely include staying in the Millsboro area.


Cleaning Antique Glass Globes

We all like to see our antique lamps sparkle and shine. Sometimes we may be tempted to do something that eventually produces unwanted results. Begin with a thorough cleaning to avoid applying anything over surface grime. Many times it is the presence of grime that creates a dull appearance. But before beginning, inspect the globe carefully and check for any hairline cracks.

Wash the lamp with warm, soapy water. When cracks are present in glass globes, apply pressure sparingly, moving gently across the surface, going in the same direction of any crack, and avoid pressing inward (as in squeezing the globe) which could compress the glass and cause the crack to spread.

Remove dust, dirt, and grease film, and then rinse with warm water. A dab of the soap you are using applied directly to stubborn spots can help to release the build-up. Full-strength white vinegar can also be used. Employ nothing more rigid than your fingernail to rub really difficult spots.

Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely. Use rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and wipe to remove any soap film, first testing a small and inconspicuous area of any painted artwork to ensure its integrity. Set aside and allow to air-dry.

At this point, a coat of clear lacquer or spray may serve to protect the painted globe and provide the bright, shiny surface you wish to achieve. While this is a relatively simple procedure when disassembled in the shop, lamps on display in the home are a different situation. The gentle application of wax may be a better solution, and any name-brand carnauba wax will suffice. Just observe the same precautions as mentioned previously for cleaning.

One simple thing I try to remember when working with vintage and antique items: Less Is Best.

Walnut Floor Lamp

It is easy to understand why people who engage in any form of woodworking are generally very pleasant people to be around. When you see an object that has been transformed from a raw piece of wood into an object of beauty or functionality, take the time to appreciate the artist who could envision it. Such objects simply cannot be the products of people with bad attitudes.

Most of the lamps that come into my shop are metal or ceramic. Occasionally, a lamp made from wood will be brought in and so far most of them have been made by a home woodworker. I always take time to admire these creations.

One such item came to me in the form of a carved walnut floor lamp. On first seeing the lamp, my reaction was not unlike that of seeing a wounded or neglected animal. The sad appearance of this once elegant lighting fixture, now needing new electrical sockets and thoroughly matted with grime, was almost as disheartening. But, like the woodworker who created it, I could see the beauty within and it was time to do my part.

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Atlantic Hotel Chandelier

Temporarily graced by the beauty of Julia Roberts during the filming of Runaway Bride, the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, Maryland, is now permanently graced by another beauty, albeit antique, that of its historic crystal chandelier.


Early last year I received a phone call from the hotel manager, followed by a text along with the photo below, and was asked if I could rewire the lighting fixture for them. Quietly resting in a corner in the basement of the hotel, all but forgotten, was this charming antique chandelier.


I accepted the job and subsequently the fixture was brought into the shop where it was disassembled and inspected, material ordered, and repairs made to mechanical connections. A trial reassembly followed, and as I looked at the chandelier now hanging before me, I realized that I could never let it out of the shop in its badly tarnished state.

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