Antique glass lamp shades are an excellent addition to any collection, as they have evolved from merely being found on the streets on streetlights to beautiful decorative household items. This article tells everything you need to know about antique glass lamp shades.
Or, if you have vintage glass lamp shades in your attic or basement, you may be holding on to something potentially valuable.
This article will discuss what a lamp shade is, the history of glass lampshades, the numerous designs of glass lamp shades, and their prices. Continue reading to learn more.
What are Glass Lamp Shades?
A glass lamp shade is a framework typically made of glass that is used to soften the light from light bulbs. Lampshades can be conical, cylindrical, square, or shaped in a unique style.
Lamp shades can be found on table tops, workstations, and floors or as suspended chandelier-like lamps hanging from the ceiling.
The Evolution of Antique Glass Lamp Shades
The first lampshades originated in Paris in the 18th century, when the city’s gas-lit street lamps were covered with fixtures that redirected light downward, creating pools of light along otherwise dark pathways.
The light bulb was invented in 1879 by Thomas Edison, and in that era, lamp shades had become an essential component of interior design. So, many households replaced candles with incandescent bulbs and considered them important household accessories to acquire.
As a result, the lamp shad transitioned from something reserved for street lights to something suitable for the home.
Lamp shades were made from various materials and featured different embellishments, like tassels, fringes, and lace, during the Victorian era. They were made in attractive shapes, transforming the lampshade into a decorative piece.
In the same way that candlesticks were fashioned of silver and gold and carved with unique designs, the light bulb required an accessory to prop it up, control it, and eventually transform it into an attractive object. Soon, the lampshade became a modern symbol of luxury and wealth.
By the end of the 19th century, artists and designers were experimenting with the shape of the lampshade, most notably the American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, who began producing lampshades made of stained glass that resembled stained glass windows when placed over a hot bulb.
Tiffany and Victorian period fixtures continue to influence contemporary interior designers as some of the most iconic examples of lampshades.
Popular Antique Glass Lamp Shade Manufacturers and Their Styles
Tiffany Studios, a pioneer in the manufacture of glass lamp shades, is an example of a renowned glass lamp shade manufacturer. In addition to this, other companies have created and produced amazing designs using similar or sometimes different methods.
We’ll look at these popular makers of antique glass lamp shades and the various styles their lamp shades came in.
1. Tiffany Studios
The first Tiffany lamp shade was displayed in 1893 and was likely manufactured around the same time. Rather than being manufactured by machines, each lamp was handcrafted by expert artisans.
Tiffany glass lamp shades rose to prominence in the same year after appearing at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and exhibiting their lamp shades in a chapel modeled after a Byzantine church.
This drew the interest of many individuals, including the renowned Berlin state museum directors Wilhelm Bode and Julius Lessing.
Tiffany glass lamp shades are recognized as art glass consisting of cut pieces of glass linked with came strips or foil to create gorgeous designs. The glass lamp shades are made of stained glass, similar to the stained glass windows found in churches.
These lamp shades are associated with the Art Nouveau style. Tiffany glass lamp shades are classified into seven groups: irregular upper and lower border, favrile, geometric, transition to flowers, flower cone, and flour globe.
The Irregular Upper and Lower Border Tiffany Glass Lamp Shade
The irregular upper and lower border design Tiffany glass lamp shade has an open work crown border that resembles a branch, tree, or shrub.
The Favrile Tiffany Glass Lamp Shade
Iridescent glass is used to make the Favrile Tiffany Glass lamp shade. The glass shade on top of the lamp is modeled after a Japanese hiragata tea bowl. The bronze base is supported by two legs at the bottom.
A 20th-century Favrile Tiffany glass lamp shade sold for $12,600 at auction in 2007.
The Geometric Tiffany Glass Lamp Shade
The geometric Tiffany glass lamp shade was created by male craftsmen who used geometric shapes such as squares, triangles, rectangles, and ovals to create patterns for lamp shades. This glass lamp shade is available for $89.99 on eBay.
2. Pairpoint Glass
Pairpoint, an American glass company founded in 1837 by Thomas Pairpoint, is one of the country’s oldest operating glass companies.
Pairpoint Glass Company is popular for producing lamps with engraved fruits and flowers on a metal base. From the mid-1890s to the mid-1920s, Pair Point was known for producing three types of glass lamp shades.
These designs include the reverse-painted landscape shade, the blown-out reverse-painted shade, and the ribbed reverse-painted shade, which prominently featured floral patterns and landscape scenes.
The Reverse Painted Landscape Pairpoint Lamp Shade
The reverse-painted landscape Pairpoint glass lamp shade is a design in which the inside of the glass is hand painted so that the colors from the painting appear softly through the glass.
Antique reverse-painted landscapes Pairpoint glass lamp shades can be purchased online and in stores for $4,750 on 1stDibs.
The Blown Out Reverse Painted Lamp Shade
The blown-out reverse painted shades, also known as puffy, are similar to the reverse painted landscape shade in that the design is created on the inside of the glass, and then the shade is blown out and feels like braille when touched.
An original production Pairpoint Puffy Rose Bouquet lamp sold for $3,500 on the auction site Live Auctioneers.
The Ribbed Reverse Painted Lamp Shade
Like the previously discussed lamp shades, the ribbed reverse-painted lamp shade is painted on the interior.
This style is unique because it is blown out to create straight lines that can also be touched, similar to braille. The antique, ribbed, reverse-painted Pairpoint lamp shade is available for $395 on eBay.
3. The Handel Company
The Handel Company was founded as a partnership in Connecticut in 1885 by Philip J. Handel and Adolph Eydam. They produced glass lamps as a less expensive alternative to Tiffany Studios’ glass lamp shades.
The lamps are famous for their fine craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal; their distinctive circular, conical-shaped shades are reverse-painted with intricate scenes. These lights charmed users of the time and continue to captivate antique buyers today.
Handel glass lamp shades can be painted, have a teroca or metal overlay, or have a mosaic design. These are the three different styles of glass lamp shades by Handel:
Painted Handel Glass Lamp Shade
Painted Handel glass lamp shades are the most unique type of Handel lamp shades. They feature detailed scenes inspired by nature and are reverse painted.
The majority of authentic Handel-painted shades are signed at the bottom of the interior with a dark-colored ballpoint pen. For $149, you can purchase an antique Handel reverse-painted glass lamp shade on Etsy.
Teroca Handel Glass Lamp Shade
The teroca style of a Handel glass lamp shade is achieved by covering the glass lamp with a decorative metal overlay in a customized pattern.
Mosaic Handel Glass Lamp Shade
Mosaic-style Handel glass lamp shades are incredibly colorful and feature geometric shapes such as triangles, squares, and rectangles. It is identical to the geometric design of Tiffany glass lamp shades.
On 1stDibs, an auction was held for a mosaic Handel glass lamp shade, and it was sold for $18,500.
4. Duffner and Kimberly Company
Duffner and Kimberly produced bronze and leaded glass lamps in New York City. The company was founded in 1905, and the first lamps were produced in 1906.
The manufacturers’ primary focus was the production of exceptionally high-end art glass blinds, and as a result, their lamp shades were in high demand.
1stDibs is hosting an online auction for an antique Duffner and Kimberly leaded glass table lamp, with a starting bid of $4,700.
5. Bigelow Kennard & Co.
In 1830, Bigelow Kennard & Co. was founded in Boston as a jewelry business. The original founder, John Bigelow, was later joined by his brother Alanson, and the jewelry business grew to include the private production of high-quality clocks, watches, and silverware.
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the company had established itself as a leading supplier of glass lamp shades but in 1971, the company ceased operations. Bigelow Kennard & Co.’s leaded glass lamp shade sold for $3,900 on John Moran
Other Antique Glass Lamp Shades Styles
In addition to the already discussed styles of glass lamp shades, there are otherstyles of glass lamp shades. In this section, we will discuss them and their distinguishing characteristics.
❖ Antique Bronze Floor Glass Lamp Shade
This style of lamp shade is utilized on the floor rather than a table; to accommodate this, the floor glass lamp shade features a long metal or bronze support.
They also had legs for balance and stability. A floor glass lamp shade is available for $1,200 on 1stDibs to a lucky buyer.
❖ Antique Floral Edge Glass Lamp Shade
The floral edge glass lamp shade is another one-of-a-kind lamp shade, with a ribbed body and a mouth resembling a flower’s opening.
It can be hung from the ceiling or converted into a table lamp by using a lamp holder-equipped stand. An antique clear floral edge glass lamp shade costs $13 on Etsy.
❖ Tiffany Hanging Glass Lamp Shade
The Tiffany floral glass lamp shade, also known as the Dragonfly hanging lamp, is a ceiling-mounted decorative arts and crafts lamp.
It is made of leaded glass and dates back to the Victorian era. The vibrant and colorful Tiffany Floral or Dragonfly hanging lamp side is available on Etsy for $249.
Victorian Art Glass Lamp Shade
The circa-1945 Victorian art glass lamp shade is a true collector’s item due to its superb craftsmanship and age. This vintage piece imitates the style of the American craftsmen. It can be purchased for $487 on 1stDibs.
How to Value Antique Glass Lamp Shades
Some factors can affect the value of glass lamp shades, and there are options you can consider to help you value your antique glass lamp shade more accurately. Checking for the maker’s mark, inspecting for damage, and comparing data are all examples of these factors.
Look for the Maker’s Mark
To check the lamp’s base, tip it on its side. Look for the manufacturer’s logo or a label, a nameplate, or a stamp, and if you find a stamp but can’t read it, use a magnifying glass.
If the bottom of the lamp’s base is covered with material, gently raise the felt (a type of material) to look for manufacturer traces.
Inspect for Damage
Inspect the lamp carefully for signs of damage, such as cracks and dents, or crazing if it is made of ceramic. Examine the lamp for signs of repair or repainting, as these could lower its value.
Compare the information you’ve learned about your lamp, such as its manufacturer, type, and condition, with the information on internet collector or antique sites. Collector prices may be high, but they will give you an idea of the maximum value of your lamp.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Clean My Glass Antique Lamp Shades?
You can clean your glass lamp shades using a damp microfiber towel or ammonia-free detergents and polishes.
What Is Stained Glass?
In the arts, stained glass is colored glass used to make ornamental windows and other light-passing objects or, in this case, glass lamp shades.
How Do I Date a Glass Lamp Shade?
Popular brands of glass lamp shades usually bear a date stamp, a product number, or the manufacturer’s name, commonly found on the base.
Antique glass lamp shades remind us of the magnificent antique swung vases. We believe that because they are so unique, every person should own one. The good news is that it comes in various styles to suit our diverse tastes.
They’ll look great in your antique collection, bedroom, living room, library, front yard, or organization. Please leave any questions you may have or comments in the comment section below, and we will do our best to answer them.