Great retro pull down lights for your kitchen, from Progress vintage 1961

I am very excited about my latest vintage marketing material – a large catalog from Progress lighting dated December 1961.

The catalog is about equally split between retro groovy… southwestern style “Rancher”…colonial Americana… and viva Las Vegas, which is something that we have not dived into too much on this blog so far — but I feel an itch coming on!

Reading through I’ve learned that these lights were not called “retractable” — which is the term that I have been using. Rather, they were simply called “pull downs”.

And the copywriting from the Progress catalog is very fun:

Pull-downs in refreshing variety, with matching ceiling pieces and other coordinates… In this section, smartly sophisticated metal; nonchalance and warmth of wood in both walnut “slats” and “matchsticks”; “Ranchers”, large-scale and handsome as the Southwestrn originals; authentic charming and heart-warming are the “Early Americans”… Light moves from its age-old stationary position and becomes a faithful service of satisfying mobility, ease and luxury….

Today, I’ve featured two of the more modern lines: (1) The Sophisticates, and (2) Mardis Gras. I also have the price list, and it looks like the largest pull downs sold for $35-$40 at the end of 1961. Today, these can still be found on ebay, in many varieties. If you’re lucky, you can get a great price for a very mint fixture, but sometimes the bidding gets going on a desirable piece. In general – I predict these will continue to get hotter and hotter in the marketplace.

I have been told that pull-down lighting is no longer to code; please get with your own properly licensed professional to assess the situation and what you are working with so that you can make informed decisions. And, in any old fixture, also get with a pro to check the wiring and any other safety/environmental issues.

COMMENTS CLOSED – getting redundant

  1. Cindy Hall says:

    I just bought a home with one of these pull down lights.I can’t get the cover off to change the bulb…is there a secret to taking them off?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Cindy, there were so many designs of these lights it’s hard to “diagnose” the solution to your question online. Also know we have been told that pull-down lights are no longer to code — be sure to get with a properly licensed professional to assess any hazards with old products including lighting. Be Safe / Renovate Safe – https://retrorenovation.com/renovate-safe/

    1. pam kueber says:

      Gail, we don’t sell these. You will need to find them vintage, for example, on ebay. Please note, I have been told that pulldowns are no longer to code; get with your own properly licensed professional to assess the situation so that you can make informed decisions how to handle.

  2. Edna calderon says:

    I have one of those vintage copper ceiling lamps, but I need to repair the electric cord. I live in Puerto Rico. Can you tell me where I find that kind of cord?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Edna, consult with your own properly licensed professional on this question. Note: I have been told that these pull-down lights are no longer to code — again, talk to your own pro.

  3. Debbie says:

    Help (if anyone happens to read this in the near future)!
    I have company coming tomorrow and I’m stumped. I have a pull-down light in a house I recently bought, and the bulbs just burned out. It’s the main light in the room, and I can’t figure out how to get inside to change the bulbs. I’ve tried unscrewing from the bottom and from the top. I’ve Googled and haven’t been able to find the answer. I was wondering whether anyone would be able to give me some guidance as I’m very afraid that I’ll do something wrong and end up breaking the glass. Thank you.

    1. pam kueber says:

      On mine, the pull down thingie that holds the diffuser in, unscrews to allow you to get at the bulbs….

      1. Debbie says:

        Thank you, Pam!! It took 2 of us, but we persisted in trying to find a way to unscrew the bottom and were able to get it apart without a catastrophe. It was quite stuck.

        I appreciate your help during this busy time of year, and thank you for the great blog. I’m a regular reader (really, probably more of an addict). Happy New Year!

  4. Pam says:

    How difficult is it to fix the retractable part of these lights? I have my eye on one but the retractable cord no longer retracts all the way.

    1. pam kueber says:

      I do not know. Please know that I have been told that these lights are no longer to code — you should find your own properly licensed professional to assess the situation and to make informed decisions. Good luck!

  5. Spike says:

    I just got a lamp that looks a lot like the 4121 except that it has atomic stars painted on the top glass. Is there any way to find out what year it was produced? Here’s a link to it on my Instagram site: http://instagram.com/p/iBosWIp3VV/

    Any info on it would be super helpful. Thanks!


Comments are closed.