Curved glass lamp panels – Circa 1880’s Brass balloon basket
By Len Daley
Curved glass lamp panels come in every shape. Some curved glass was done by pressing hot glass into a mold to create a bowl or in some cases globe shape. This type of curved glass panel would also use a mold that the glass would have been pressed into to create the curved glass. The type of curved glass repairs I perform are not in any way associated with the pressed glass technique. Instead my glass technique involved using existing flat glass, a mold, heat and gravity. Using the same methods used back in the 1880’s. I create a mold and lay flat glass onto a mold. Then with heat (1300) and gravity the curved glass is bent down over the mold.
Below is a fine example of an 1880’s brass balloon basket chandelier. A quality museum piece I had the pleasure to restore. From my understanding back in the early 1800’s in Europe ballooning was a popular passion for people wishing to experience the idea of flight. The idea of making a balloon lighting fixture that would hang high in a ceiling was a novel idea at the time. Size 36″x48″. This solid brass lamp was a production cast brass fixture.
Originally a gas fixture the hollow brass rope design would have carried the gas to the lamp. Later the fixture was electrified with wires running down the hollow rope tubing. Missing from the chandelier was all the curved glass lamp panels.
Curved glass lamp panel repair
As you can see this brass chandelier is tall and will hang in a really high hallway. The objective for restoration was to add new curved glass lamp panels that would offer as much lighting to the ceiling area as well as the flooring area below. My first thought was to find a clear texture that would offer historical character. While at the same time knowing that the electrical light bulbs would cause a sparkling effect throughout the fixture. Finding a clear texture that would not over power the intricate cast brass parts on the chandelier. Using 8″ samples behind the brass narrowed my choice to a small diffused ripple glass.
With no curved glass lamp panels to work from, I used sheet metal to acquire the mold bend for the side curved glass lamp panels.
For the lower drop out curved glass lamp section. I used a chemical mold to acquire the double glass bend. Here I’m sanding and finishing off the release agent on the mold before firing in the special chemical kiln.
After bending all the curved glass panels I started on the side skirt. Dividing each curved glass lamp panel on the side skirt. I used a 1/4″ round brass came. On the top and bottom of the skirt section a rolled 1/8″ U brass came was used.
The lower section consisting of 4 curved glass lamp panels. Then between each of the 4 panels I used a 1/4″ round brass came and a 1/2″ brass U outer came. This lower 4 panel section was then soldered to the skirt section completed earlier.
As a unit this entire lower section and skirt could be removed by the brass screws used on the sides. Because this entire section is removable. It’s a really neat way to perform any curved glass lamp panel repairs in the future. All lead joints were coated with a brass paint to blend in.
When sending me your pictures its very important to send many pictures. Not just one. By email I need to asses the color, density, texture and shape. If your serious about restoration as I am.
Avoid 10 emails include your address, shade size and the number of broken or cracked panels I may not see in your pictures. Describe metal issues or electrical problems that I may not see. I can then express how I can best help you and complete a quote for repairs.
Call me if you have questions. I’m here to help Len Daley 401-314-6005 (12-6ESTime) This is a none text #. You must email pictures to Len.Daley@yahoo.com