Thursday, April 02, 2015

Refurbished Mid-Century Brass Chandelier

Sometime last fall, I spotted this amazing beauty on Craigsligst for a mere $100:

That picture of it on the table doesn't do it justice; it was AMAZING! And those herringbone glass light guards? AMAZEBALLS!

The lady I bought it from said that she never actually wired it up, as her bedroom ceiling was too low, but she said that she saw it hanging, lit up at the antique store where she bought it. The hardware was all brass, which made the chandy heavy as it was, but it also came with this weird thing-a-majig, which was used to wire it up:

Turns out, it was a transformer to covert electricity into low-voltage for the low-voltage lights, and the chandy couldn't be directly wired into 120 volts. That transformer looks small, but let me tell you, that thing weighed just as much, if not MORE than the chandy itself. I think my husband got on the scale while holding it and it was 6 lbs.!

It was a round brick. It was a 50 year-old round brick with Italian instructions written on it. Great!

So, we were faced with a strange conundrum, how do we wire this thing up, and would a typical ceiling electrical box support all that weight? Would we even WANT to use a 50 year-old transformer without worrying about our house burning down?  Umm, no. We were back to "if I do this, then I must do that" problem solving.

We went back and forth on whether to either re-wire the chandy for 120v and regular incandescent bulbs, or find another transformer that would work and keep it low-voltage. We even consulted with 2 professional lamp restorers in the D.C. area and they were stumped. So, this baby sat in our basement  for 5 months while we pondered and researched.

One day, I got lucky and stumbled upon a image that looked like my transformer. I discovered I had what was called a magnetic toroidal transformer. Once I knew what I was dealing with, I was off.

We eventually found this very likely candidate at Pegasus Lighting:

After speaking with their customer service about what we were trying to do, they felt confident that it would do the job, not to mention it was a fraction of the old transformer's weight. They were right!

We had to also do a little Macgyver-ing with the mounting hardware to custom fit the new transformer to the ceiling electrical box, but it worked and I could not be more happy! Isn't she gorgeous?

As you can see, I have decided to glamourize my laundry room. I'm going with a wallpaper accent wall, this chandy, and some rustic wooden shelves with brass brackets. It will be some time before I get to finish this due to the kitchen, but so far I am thrilled!

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