New cast iron lamp bridges from ChinaBy

New cast iron lamp bridges from China

Bridge lamps are named for an arm or "bridge" that holds the bulb and shade out and away from the lamp base (Fig. 1). They were at the height of their popularity during the 1920s and early 1930s. The majority were cast iron; better quality versions were brass. Figural bridges can double or quadruple the price over lamps with ordinary or plain bridges.

This article shows several low quality bridges that were imported from China. Watch for finning (Fig. 6), rough edges and pitting in the surface (Fig. 7). It's common to see new figural bridges "married" to genuinely old lamps which originally had plain, inexpensive bridges. New bridges arrive painted flat black but are eventually finished to match an original lamp.

Prices for new bridges shown were $12-$15 each.

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Fig. 1 Typical bridge lamps as shown in lighting catalog of the late 1920s. Note different styles of bridges.

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Fig. 2 Viking ship bridge: dolphin molded on sail, figural dragon head on end.
12″ wide, 10″ high.

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Fig. 3 Tropical bird, 12″ wide, 10″ high.

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Fig. 4 Close up view of angel from bridge shown in Fig. 5.

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Fig. 5 Angel bridge, 11″ wide, 8″ high.

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Fig. 6 Look in open areas for thin flashes of metal or "finning" caused by metal leaking through poorly fitting molds.

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Fig. 7 All the new surfaces are heavily pitted. Widespread pitting is rarely found on original castings.