Ceiling Light Shades Glass — Collecting

Glass ceiling fixtures used to be so much more decorative than they are today.  I find myself drawn to these lovely pieces most of the time for uses other than ceiling fixtures.  I use them as bowls, table lampshades, garden art and shelf art.  The intricate graphic quality of some are just too beautiful to pass and usually rather affordable.

My first glass ceiling fixture came from Grandma’s apartment building in Chicago over 42 years ago.  They were in a mood to modernize and this lovely pink glass with etched tulips was destined for the dumpster.  I had to rescue this beauty.  I just HAD to!  I needed to find a way to show off the lovely tulip design and give this beautiful piece of glass another life.  That’s when my brother came to my rescue.  He had a lamp base. Nothing special.  Just a lamp base intended for another use.  I think it was sold for use by stain glass crafters but he found it, offered to help wire it, and I accepted.  We used the guts from the hanging ceiling fixture to make the shade work since the guts held the light bulbs parallel to the ground. In the design, the flowers cascade downward from the top but in all the years, no one ever comment on the fact that the flowers grow upside down. That was over 40 years ago and I still enjoy the look of this lamp.  It proudly stands on a desk in my living room behind the sofa casting a soft glow into the room and making it so homey.

Another pink shade sits atop a vintage floor model radio in my dining room.  The rosy glow from this small pink shade fills that corner with just enough light to navigate at night without being jarring.  We attached it to a small lamp base that must have been made to fit easily on a book shelf; its only 10 inches high.  I added the small white fringe with double stick tape, to hide the bottom guts portion of the light fixture.  When looking for a glass ceiling lamp shade to use for a table lamp, look for those with a center hole.  Attaching one with a center hole works much easier than those with three holes for hanging.

These huge mushroom type light globes were purchased at the end of an auction.  No one bid on the box with the three very large globes and I got the box for $1.  At the time, I had no idea what I would use them for but they ended up in my garage waiting for inspiration.  A few years later, inspiration came in the form of a small boy…..my grandson saw them and said they looked like mushroom tops.  Its always interesting to see the world through a child’s eyes.  He saw the shallowness of these globes, gave no consideration for the fact that they were glass and breakable, but noticed their shape mimicked the shape of a mushroom.  Interesting.  What could be a base?  We had several birdbath bases; the neighborhood raccoons insist on taking baths in our birdbaths and breaking the basins on a regular basis.  So, we placed the globes atop the bases and voila!  Giant Garden Mushrooms! In our unpredictable Midwestern winters, I put the globes away for the  season but come spring, the giant mushrooms will once again take over that corner of the yard.  Pictured in a previous blog about Money Plants.  They seem to grow out of the vinca bed under my 75 year old pine tree.


A stack of ceiling fixture lamp shades in my basement yielded this grouping.  All beautiful in their own right, just waiting for me to come up with a use.  The ones with three holes for hanging may end up as birdbaths, bird feeders, or planters.  The largest one in the lower right side of the photo is deep enough to become a planter.  I may use that one on the porch this summer.  The two textured light shades (bottom) painted a pale pink on the exterior could easily hold plants without damaging the paint.  The smaller swirled shade painted on the interior most likely would lose that luscious pearlized look if used for anything using water.  Maybe a fake fern on the screen porch for that shade.


Also in the stack, I completely forgot about the larger clear and frosted globe in the upper left corner of the above photo. Originally purchased for $1 at a garage sale to replace the 1970’s ugly light shade in my sewing room.  Maybe I’ll get the washers and stem to install that soon.

Heavily embossed and frosted, pressed-glass ceiling light shade from the early 1900’s.

Not sure what to do with this diamond design ceiling fixture but it really gives off a tremendous amount of sparkle when lit.  I thought about finding a base to make this a shelf lamp but so far not successful in that endeavor.  This could also be the base of a lamp with a small night-light in the bottom.  I enjoy re-purposing pieces and finding a new use for old pieces.  I keep a box of lamp parts in my basement for redesigning lamps.  This one needs appreciating, it needs someone to see it, and it needs to sparkle.20180122_060809

Over the table in my kitchen, I have a huge milk glass globe with a Greek key design.  The glass measures about 18 inches diameter and over 14 inches top to bottom (not including the brass fixture).  Originally this lamp hung in a post office during the early 1900’s.  My father-in-law rescued it many years ago and allowed me to install it permanently in my kitchen but, if I ever move, that globe is coming with me.

I have another box of glass globes in my garage, a few small chandelier glass shades in the sewing room closet and a couple I use as bowls around the house but cannot bring myself to part with them.  You never know when you may find a fantastic lamp without a shade that could be brought back to life with one of these beauties.

All different sizes and shapes, painted or colored glass, smooth or patterned; these glass globes give a room personality seldom seen the builder-grade lighting in new homes.  Does the room have more light because of the vintage glass globes?  Probably not but, the room definitely glows and sparkles in a way new glass cannot with unique vintage style not seen in modern fixtures.

What kind of ceiling lights do you enjoy?



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