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. Christine W says:

    Oh I Love them all! I want them all ! There are so many fabulous old light fixtures out there – the coloured ones, the painted ones, some with etched pattern. I find it difficult though to figure out what the actual fixture part would have been when people just sell the glass shade part.

  2. Jay says:

    The 1st pictured item is already sold – someone bought it today. Kudos to these companies sourcing some shades in USA. West VA like Ohio, PA, NY and NJ has a long history of glass and pottery production.
    Other sources – flea markets, you never know what might turn up and demo sales there is a company in my area that holds pre-demo sales at houses that will be completely or partially torn down.

  3. ALLISON says:

    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.

  4. judy says:

    Pam, many thanks for this fabulous post! I happen to be in the market for these types of shades, I should hope to find some as fabulous as these!

  5. Mary S says:

    These shades work well in breakfast nooks/rooms and I have 1 in the upstairs hallway. I have found tho that the new fitters of the ceiling fixtures are just a wee bit smaller that the old, vintage ones. I made the old shade fit on the new fixture but I could hear the glass grinding in a not so good way. It didn’t break or crack but I think it was definitely stressed. I think the vintage fixtures work the best with the vintage shades because they were made to go together. I adore vintage lighting and know that it is the jewelry of my home.

  6. Lisa Compo says:

    These are so charming. We have all original lighting in the house we bought this summer. Bathrooms have globes on drop chains, hallways have can style with nubbly glass plates, office with metal box frame and glass….essentially all enclosed type fixtures.

    The house is too dim for me. We have run into the problem that all the old fixtures say 60 watt bulbs max. Being energy conscious we put new LED bulbs in many of the needy places. They lasted about 2 weeks. In tiny print on the box it states you can’t use them in enclosed fixtures. There went nearly $100 of “savings”. LOL

    What is everyone using for bulbs in these glass fixtures? Do you just sacrifice brightness and stay at 60 watts or below with incandescent bulbs? I believe they plan to phase out incandescent, then what will we put in our great old vintage globes? Please educate me. Thanks for any ideas.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Lisa, I don’t know the answer to this. Given that lighting can be a safety issue I recommend: Consult with professionals at your local lighting store.

      Also: Table lamps with sheer shades really help brighten up some of our spaces!

    2. Michael says:

      All you need is the right LED! My favorite bulbs are made by Cree, stocked at Home Depot or available on Amazon etc. I know their “regular” A19 size bulbs can be used in enclosed fixtures, one of the few that are technically approved. They do say it on the packaging, so if you look for them you can double check.

      Regarding the 60 watt max; wattage is a measurement of power. When an LED bulb says “60 watt equivalent” it’s so we know what we can expect it to LOOK like compared to the well known incandescent standards. Power wise, that 60 watt equivalent (brightness) LED is probably using 10 or so watts. For example, the Cree 75w equivalent LED makes 1100 lumens and LOOKS like an old 75 watt bulb to you, but since it’s a 13.5 watt bulb in electrical terms, it’s way under the 60 watt max. In my opinion, this is the bulb you need.

      If you’re still reading, the problem with LEDS in enclosed fixtures is heat. Even though LEDs make significantly less heat than incandescents do, they can’t withstand very high temps because of their sensitive electronics. That’s why we might never have LEDs in our ovens. An incandescent bulb basically IS a tiny oven, so it has no problem operating in 500 degree temps.

      I’m kind of obsessed with lights. Lots of old fixtures, new wires/sockets, and LED bulbs in my house!

  7. Karing says:

    These shades are very cute, all of them! I’ve had vintage ceiling fixtures professionally rewired and was glad I did. In my own kitchen, I’m trying out Edison-style LED lightbulbs which give a warmer incandescent-like glow. There may be some compromises with regard to brightness. If you consult with electrical pros they can advise you on the difference between lumens and watts. Good luck.

    1. Toni says:

      I accidentally tried those, too, and was very happy to find they were MUCH brighter than the LED or CFl I had. I don’t remember what kind of bulbs were replaced. But, now I am slowly changing all to the Edison style LED. I have all porcelier fixtures in my kitchen and bath. When I did a spell check just now, I found this site http://www.theoldabove.com/category/manufacturer/porcelier/ and several lights similar to mine. Lucky me, I bought mine a LONG time ago and I think I paid under $20 for each of them. Some maybe less than $10. I still have a small stockpile that I haven’t used yet.

  8. Robbie says:

    the shades at Rejuvenation have sadly. been phased out. They will not tell you this until you have ordered, and then call them to ask why you have not received your product. Only then will they fess up. I have asked them to remove this page several times without success.

  9. Ed Marler says:

    Hello, In a different era, in our dinette, we had a light over the dinner table that you could pull down to get the light closer and push back to retract upwards. Do they still make them? We are redoing our kitchen and dinette and need at least one. Can anyone provide any information? Thanks ED

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