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Replacement glass shades for midcentury pendant lights — where to find them

Oops — the contractor broke the original glass shade on a midcentury pendant light fixture. Where to find a replacement? Maria writes: 

Hi! I was hoping you can help. We moved into a MCM home & are doing some renovations. We were keeping these two amazing original pendant lights in the entryway & now one of the contractors had hit one & broke the glass shade. Do you know where i can get a replacement, what the name of this particular style is, or have any suggestions on what i can do? I really loved these & am truly heart broken! Thanks! 

Answer:

West Elm’s Geo pendant light — get the milk glass shade, though, for a midcentury look.

Thanks, Maria, and so sorry for the broken shade. In a search of the ‘usual suspects’ selling midcentury modern style lighting today, I turned up the West Elm Geo light fixture shown at the right. It might work for you in the “milk glass” shade, although I tend to believe your vintage originals were a satin, not milk, finish. In addition, I don’t know if the size will be the same.

That said, it’s a pretty good proxy. Beyond, West Elm: Crickets. Hence, I think your best answer is: Vintage.

The good news is that there were a lot of lights made back in the day — and we continue to see lots of vintage originals coming out of houses — or, New Old Stock out of closed lighting stores. So my suggestion: Start stalking vintage. Ebay is your best bet, because sellers use it to reach a wide market. Also check craigslist, local lighting stores, and salvage places. If you are willing to wait long enough — years, maybe even — you may find the exact same light. Or, you may be willing to settle for a proxy.

Vintage lighting companies to look for, by name

There were many companies making lighting in midcentury America. The biggest names to search for are: Moe (aka Thomas Industries), Progress, Virden, Imperalite, and Lightolier. If you can inspect one of your lights and see the name of the maker anywhere, that will help you narrow your search. More stories to consult:

Readers, any more ideas for Maria? 

Categorieslighting
  1. Lynne says:

    I feel for you Maria. The first thing I found out when we starting having contractors in the house is to: cover everything, remove anything structural of value, shut the doors of adjacent rooms, tarp or plastic all of the walk through areas, even remove doors yourself if necessary. These guys have absolutely NO respect for the fact that they are in someone home. I speak from very recent experience.

    I hope you find a replacement shade, but maybe in your search you’ll find two of something you like just as well. Then you can use your single survivor elsewhere.

  2. Wendellyn Plummer says:

    Hi, I know you don’t want this to turn into a “I need this” site but I am in dire need of some bathroom tile. We bought our 1965 house in 2016 and have been slowly chipping away at the reno. the house originally had hot water heat with what looked to be electric heat registers. Well, they left four in the house even though they had changed over to gas forced air heat. Three of these registers were in bathrooms and one in a bedroom(?). Once we had the ones taken out of the bathrooms we had a tile problem. I have ordered and gotten tile from B & W Tile in California, but they did not have the floor tile we needed. I only need about 10 pieces. They are a white with matte finish with a bumpy surface? They are a 1″ by 1″ tile that originally came with a mesh back. I will take used ones if that is what someone has and clean them up myself. I do have a very good picture and I am willing to pay a fair price, plus shipping of course. Thank you for your wonderful site! If I knew how to post the picture I would.

  3. Debbie in Portland says:

    Keep an eye on Schoolhouse Electric and Rejuvenation. With MCM becoming more and more popular, I’d expect one of those companies to add a similar shade to their line.

    Pam is spot-on about local stores. Here in Portland, Oregon we have at least two amazing sources for vintage lighting and hardware, and I’d guess that most other large cities do, too. Maybe call some of those places and see if you could send them a photo, so they could keep an eye out for you. It never hurts to have that personal connection!

  4. Andrea says:

    You can also set up a visual search on google so if anything like it comes up it will alert you. I have had one on to try to find a matching or close to matching of the 1930s nightstand for the bedroom set I inhertited that only had one. Fun thing has been I found there were several more pieces including a sit down vanity that went with the set!

    1. carolyn says:

      except they’ve gotten pretty far away from lighting fixtures. I’m trying to figure out the advantage of Gardner Denver acquiring Thomas except for maybe making the glass for the pumps?
      This was an easy company to trace the roots of. I’m trying to find the company that made my Dayton oscillating fan – don’t know even what year it was made but I’ve had it over 15 years and I wanted to tell them it’s still going, runs all night for white noise and a couple of weekends ago was on over 58 hours straight!

  5. Karin says:

    Thank you, this is a great suggestion about West Elm. A few years ago, I bought a Danish style chandelier for over our dining area. On the trip home, one shade broke. I dried my tears and decided to look for an unbreakable vintage brass Lightolier style chandelier.

    My suggestion for sourcing vintage lighting is not to overlook small local businesses selling completely unrelated items. While in a carpet store, I spotted a large Lightolier style brass space-age chandelier on the ceiling. I crossed my fingers, held my breath and politely asked if I could buy it. The owner’s face lit up (must have been a slow day for carpeting). He said I could have it for $75. Wow!
    My partner thought I overpaid until I showed him similar lighting on eBay selling for four figures. The electrician who installed it remarked, “How old is this thing? Fifty years?”. That was five years ago, and it still works perfectly. I smile every day when I look at it.

  6. Paula Kate Webb says:

    I would try HippoHardware in Portland OR (www.hippohardware.com/collections/lighting). If you don’t see what you are looking for I would call them. Their upstairs is the the WorldofTile for lighting.

    Liz’s in LA might be an option, albeit a more expensive one (theloftatlizs.com)

  7. KStacey says:

    I was on vacation in Burlington, VT last month and ran across a pretty amazing Lamp & lighting fixture store, lots of retro stuff. “The Lamp Shop”. I’m not affiliated, heck, I didn’t actually buy anything, lol! But anybody local to the area should check it out.

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