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Six places to find painted glass schoolhouse shades — vintage and new

For a kitchen with a 1940s sweetheart vintage vibe, using a painted schoolhouse-style shade on a ceiling fixture either in the center of the room or above the sink could be a very special way to add even more charm. So many decades after they were popularized, many folks may not even know they exist. So here you go — Sixplaces I know of to find painted globe shades, both vintage an new. Above: Oh my, this 8″ wide/4″ fitter painted ceiling globe shade from AnnaLauraCollectible on etsy (thanks for photo permission!) hits the decorative jackpot on numerous fronts: the shape of the globe, the gorgeous painted detail, the custard glass — and the price, just $39.95. Hey, and here’s a version of same light, which what may be the original fitter, on ebay.

Note: I think that vintage shades with painted flowers also would look great in bedrooms, the foyer, hallways or even bathrooms, although the steam in the bathroom might take a toll on the paint over time – not sure. Above: This shade for sale from morl14evr on ebay is EXACTLY like the one that I found at an antique show and put in my daughter’s bedroom in our first house — the fixture was fantastic in that space. Boo hoo, I loved that house. It took me years to get over having to leave it.

For same reason “just stripes” schoolhouse designs seem to me best to stay in the kitchen.

Need two? From unclechamps on ebay

Where to find painted glass ceiling light globes or shades — vintage

As with many items, the ‘easiest’ places to find these vintage are online:

  • Ebay
  • Etsy
  • Vintage lighting stores with an online presences:
    • Such as vintagelights.com, where I also found them with porcelain fitters, yum — definitely a pre-war — not post-war — look, though.

The thing is, the search terms for this item may be tricky. To find several on etsy, I used terms including the following terms, you can even mix and match them to get narrower:

  • vintage
  • painted
  • glass
  • ceiling
  • light
  • schoolhouse
  • shade
  • globe
  • fitter
  • custard glass
  • milk glass

Here are some more shades from both ebay and etsy — thanks to all the sellers, who gave me permission to feature their photos:

Above: I think this painted custard glass shade is so gorgeous! From tr3ats on ebay.

Above: This painted schoolhouse shade from thimblesandy on ebay has an unusual palette — in the right kitchen, it would be great. 

And of course, you may also be able to find these locally. Watch for them at:

  • Salvage stores
  • Vintage shops
  • ReStore Habitat for Humanity
  • Craigslist, maybe, but seems like a needle in a haystack search on that platform

Where to find painted ceiling globes or shades — made new today:

Here’s what Schoolhouse Electric says about this design: “An exact replica from the classic Schoolhouse era of the 1900s to the 1950s, this drum style shade is an iconic, timeless addition to any room or decor style. Translucent white opal glass acts to diffuse and soften light. Hand-painted multicolor stripe detailing. Here’s what Schoolhouse Electric says about this design: This exclusive shade is crafted on the banks of the Monongahela River in West Virginia. Each one is individually hand-blown in antique cast-iron moulds using traditional methods over 150 years old.”
  • Schoolhouse Electric — has several shapes of ceiling fixture globes with a variety of pinstripe designs and colors. Lookie the one with multicolor stripes, above! I’d even consider this for a 1950s or 1960s kitchen — the colors are so fun! And, I love the back story — read the caption and/or go directly to the fixture on their website here.
On its website, Rejuvenation describes this shade: “An iconic shape popular since the early 20th century, this schoolhouse shade is handblown and handpainted just for us by glassmakers in West Virginia and Ohio.”
And look at this cutie opal cone shade also from Rejuvenation — “a schoolhouse shade with a very modern feel.” It comes in three hand-painted colors — blue, lime green, and orange! $145.
  • Illuminate Vintage on etsy also has two designs available. Their designs come as pendant with cloth cords and the like — I’d say they mix vintage and modern style. $174 and $219, with free shipping.

Tips for both vintage and new:

  • You need to be attentive to “fitter” size — 4″, 6″, etc. As per reader Allison of Coastal Radiance Lighting, who kindly corrected me: “Sorry, but I need to correct you, Pam.The fitter is NOT the part that attaches to the ceiling, which may be called the fixture holder or ceiling pan and is usually 5 5/8″ in diameter

    The fitter is the part of the fixture that holds the opening in the glass shade, often with three thumbscrews; in the case of ceiling fixtures its usually 4 1/4″.

    Modern fixture holders will work fine with antique shades; these standard measurements haven’t changed in 100 years.”

  • The smaller the light, the smaller the space it ‘should’ be used in. A small light centered in a relatively large kitchen will look… dinky. On the other hand, a small light centered above a sink will look… charming.
  • These lights typically hold only one bulb. It may or may not throw enough light onto a ceiling depending on how much light you need…
  • Re vintage, I am not an expert on how many watts are recommended; this is a safety issue, do your own research / consult with your own pros. If you’re buying something new — check with the retailer or manufacturer on recommended wattage.
  • Also re vintage, if you’re using a vintage fitter: Have professionals to assess the wiring to ensure it’s safe — my small local store rewires my lighting super fast and it’s not very expensive.

Do you know of other sources? Add them to the comments — many thanks! 

  1. Pam Kueber says:

    Hi Ed, I am not an expert, but have been told these are no longer to code, which is why they are not made any more.

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