Lately I’ve been thinking about the people we have met in our 40 plus years of business. Yes the lighting has been the connecting point but the added joy has been the people we have become aquainted with. Always stories rich in appreciation of life and history. The business relationships we develop are built on trust. Thanks for your continued business, we are looking forward to many more years of partnership with you in preserving these rare examples of Bradley and Hubbard cast iron kerosene fixtures.
Talk to many antique dealers and they will tell you the ecomomic downturn has been hard on the investments made on fairly common antiques. For instance, we are surprised at the prices nice quality antique furniture is being sold for at auctions these days. It seems like while the bottom has dropped out of that market for now… it would be a great time to buy. The quality of craftsmanship and the dense old growth wood is amazing.
While we are groaning over some of the items we apparently have too much in to sell at this time, our high end lighting nitch continues to do well. Not that you could take them down to Joe’s Auction Barn today and make a killing or even get your investment back… being patient and waiting for the need to arise, like someone restoring a historically significant building from the late 1800’s early 1900’s… frankly nothing else than the real deal will do. High end Bradley and Hubbard antique chandeliers have been a good investment for us and our customers have overwhelmingly been satisfied at the value. Take a new $35,000 pickup, drive it 5 years and put a hundred thousand miles on it and what do you have left? Compare that to placing the same amount in lighting in a historically significant property. In this life there are no guarantees, and I can’t tell you that you can resell these fixtures 5 years from now for what you paid for them. But I can tell you that our customers tell us over and over again how much they enjoy their fixtures. And after 45 years never once have we had a customer who regretted their purchase nor have we had any one who really wants to part with them once they aquire them.
Originally kerosene from 1870’s this scarce fixture is now ready for glass (finding old glass is usually a time-consuming and expensive hunt). It has been refinished and electrified, wire is colored to match fixture, we usually use 25 watt bulbs. Perfect for great rooms, motel lobbies, banks etc. We have hung several of these across the years in rooms with 12 foot ceilings over a table or 14 foot ceilings with no table. Walking under them is an awe-inspiring experience. Just to know that you have 250 lbs of light above your head is kinda like riding a roller coaster – you know it will be ok but your mind and your body send adrenaline filled messages of caution back and forth. I have several smaller ones in my home and every time I look up I kinda want to stand under it to gaze at the beauty but at the same time I want to run out from underneath… just in case. Ha!
Somehow a number doesn’t do it justice. This outstanding Bradley and Hubbard 2 arm fixture restored just this week and will leave our shop soon to be hung in a restaurant.
Sometimes we get complete lights but most often we get lights with a little something missing or broken. And search begins for the right part.
Above are arms waiting to be held by the elusive “correct” center stem. Restoring cast iron chandeliers can be frustrating. So many parts… sometimes they are a bit like trying to reassemble a 100 piece puzzle dropped piece by piece from an airplane enroute from Maine to California. We use the Bradley and Hubbard catalog and other resources for correct reference on many of these rare lights. A few parts interchange but most do not. And cast iron just doesn’t yield… even a little.
Yeah and none of those fit…
neither do these…
so we wait… some have been waiting for 35 years in our shop for the correct arms or the correct center stem.
The Bradley and Hubbard 568. Manufactured 1883-1884.
Home and Commerical Restorers tired of waiting for full economic recovery forge ahead. For us sales slowed considerably after Sept 2008 but they are now gaining steam again picking up the last half of last year. So far this year sales have been good too, giving us the opportunity to reinvest in a few projects.
The amber flicker of a flame is healing for the soul. The atmosphere a real kerosene lamp brings to a room in the evening hours cannot be duplicated. In our world of dead lines and noise the flicker of amber flame quiets the soul. The bracket lamps of the 1870’s and 1880’s represent the finest in artistic expression as well as the twilight of an era. Slowly we have traded our quieting yellow for a disturbing blue flicker. Time to think without distraction can be frightening at first (especially if we aren’t used to doing it) but those that dare to do it are rewarded with quiet contentment. Find an old book of matches from some little business in your home town. Find an old book you have been wanting to read for a long time. I dare you to light the wick. Let me know how it goes.