Bo Sullivan identifies my vintage pull-down kitchen light

Kitchen photo: Copyright Kit Latham.

1959-vintage-imperialite-kitchen-light1One of the highlights of my recent visit to Rejuvenation Lighting in Portland was when historian Bo Sullivan was able to — immediately — identify the vintage pulldown light over my kitchen table. I don’t think I’ve told this story before: One Friday afternoon after a hard day’s work — when I was driving home – I got the idea that I needed a vintage light NOW. This was when I was putting the final details of my kitchen together before contractor Kevin started. So as soon as I got home, I jumped on ebay and with 12 minutes to go spotted the light shown here above the tulip table. Of course, I snapped it up – for $12. Bo knows lighting – he knew exactly who made the light and showed it to me in a catalog —>


Ta da!: It’s a 1959 Imperialite, made by Emerson-Imperial.


The date on this catalog is Sept. 15, 1959. Hey, my light is 50 years old this year: Like Barbie, and me!


Aren’t these all swoon-able?

Note: I also have been told that pull-down lights like these are no longer to code — that’s why you don’t see them for sale any more. I am not an expert, so if you have a light like this, consult with a professional to assess the situation so that you can make informed decisions. Also, when working with old lights, a pro can also help you assess the wiring situation. For more info see my Renovate Safe page.


Here’s Bo with another catalog. Over the past 15 years, Bo has been collecting vintage marketing material from 20th century lighting companies. The collection is AMAZING. Rejuvenation is in the process of moving the collection from the factory… over to the store. There, it will be accessible to customers as a research and inspiration resource. And guess what – there’s a latte bar at the store, too. Now, that’s all I need to be happy: Good coffee… and a million vintage lighting catalogs. Bo, are you sure I’m invited back? I’ll never leave! Thank you again for sharing your knowledge. More Rejuvenation posts to come…


  1. southern patriot says:

    I was not aware that are many who liked that style besides me. My problem is I keep hitting my head on the current. One more time and “Pow! Right in the Kisser”! Is there no one company that makes this vintage and popular lighting? I keep a looking. Good day mates.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      I have been told they are not to code (see text in story) — I advise folks to get with a properly licensed professional to assess what they are dealing with so they can make informed decisions how to handle.

  2. Debra says:

    Some of the pull down lights were on a track. My mom had one that she could pull out to center over the kitchen table when company came or push back when the table leaves were collapsed. I remember her light had weights on the cord to pull it down which looked like a scallop. Does anyone know what these cord weights were called or where they might be found for purchase?

  3. Debra says:

    Are there any resources available related to repairing the retractable mechanism for mid-century pull-down lamps? I found one that I love, but the pull down mechanism will not release the cord.

  4. John says:

    I purchased a wonderful retro saucer with a retraction bulb, found fabulous olive green pully cord to replace the frayed crumbling cord, but in removing the wire from the pully bulb, I lost the tension in the dual spring mechanism and haven’t been able to solve the rewind issue. I’ve searched high and low for video on this but found NADA. Any insight or direction would be wonderful. Any suggestions?

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Consult with a properly licensed pro. Note, I’ve been told vintage pull-downs are no longer to code but I am not the expert.

  5. Jim says:

    Pam or Kate, how do I identify my 1959 Imperialite pull-down light fixture? Is their an online archived catalog? There are stickers on it showing E12933 and also “electric fixture B-96683”. Appreciate your help.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Jim, The only way I know of is to find a catalog. Perhaps Bo can help you. Also remember: I am told these old pull-down lights are no longer to code — consult with a properly licensed professional to assess what you are dealing with so that you can make informed decisions how to handle. Be Safe / Renovate Safe!

  6. Chuck McLaughlin says:

    I need to know how the pull-down lamps that were the rage in the ’50’s worked? The pendant-like fixture on my lamp slides up and down but doesn’t do anything else. Obviously something is wrong.l Is the cord supposed to coil up in the aforementioned pendant or what?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Chuck, get with a properly licensed professional to assess this issue; old lighting and other old products like this may not be up to current codes; I have been told that pull-downs are no longer to code — get with your own pro.

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