Pairpoint Puffy Lamps

About ten years ago, I was watching the Antiques Roadshow and saw a piece on Pairpoint lamps.  We had a similar lamp sitting in my daughter’s bedroom that had been inherited from my mother-in-law.  It had been bought sometime in the 1930’s probably in a good store in Toronto.   Nobody in our family, including my late father-in-law who was a silver buyer, had any idea of the present value of this item.  We certainly weren’t taking any precautions to be careful with it. I even tried to clean the base with brass cleaner at one point.


The Pairpoint Manufacturing Co.  produced lamps from the 1880’s to the 1930’s.  The shades were hand painted on bases that were silverplate, brass and bronze.  The “puffy”shade which is its most popular style was free-form, frosted glass and painted on the inside with flowers, butterflies and leaves.  The paint was fired and is very durable; it will not scrape off easily.  When the lamp is turned on the effect is quite pretty, a muted colourful glow.  The lamp in the picture above has a tree-shaped base which is also highly-prized.  There is a Pinterest page devoted to Pairpoint lamps which you can see here.  Pairpoints generally have a P enclosed in a diamond shape at the bottom.

Our lamp is identical to the one above.  It is a lilac puffy and was in excellent condition with very little crazing on the outside glass.  We had always thought it was attractive but that it was some type of imitation Tiffany lamp, with no particular value until I saw the TV show.  Then I started researching it and I must have hit the high point of collectors who were buying these lamps.  Around the time we sold it, prices peaked and one went for $45,000  at an auction.  Since then, the market has cooled and prices have come down.

There is a bit of irony in this story.  My mother-in-law had lovely things that she had inherited e.g. antique furniture, sterling silver, Crown Derby china etc.  But although those items have some value, this funny little lamp was the only thing that was a genuine collector’s item.


A Study in Contrasts


These 2 small tables represent completely different styles but equally demonstrate the effects of chalk paint.  The first one is a demilune table with carved legs that are a variation on lyre-shaped legs.   Demilunes or half-moon tables originated in the 18th century; they are very practical because they don’t take up a lot of space.  Most are half-circle tables that sit flush against the wall but  some have a drop leaf that flips up to form a full table.  They usually have decorative legs although you do see ones that are cabinets or consoles.  My table is mahogany and has interesting legs that are lyre-shaped.  This is what a traditional lyre leg looks like:

from ebay

from ebay

I think the legs on this table are an interpretation of that styleDSC_0002(19) I painted it in AS Old White and the amazing thing is that I only had about an inch of paint left in the can but had enough for 2 coats.  It probably could have used 3 because there are a few spots where the mahogany bled through but because I was going for a distressed look, it really doesn’t matter.  You should put a coat of shellac on mahogany if you want to avoid that problem.

The other table is a 50’s-60’s night stand.  I have a weakness for this style because it may not look great in the original but I love the way it is improved with paint. It went from this to this:                      DSC_0002(18)


The clean square lines of mid-century modern lend themselves to colour and two-toned effects.  Even the over-the-top knob doesn’t seem out of place.  I also find that 50’s-60’s furniture is very well-made and usually has excellent drawers.  I don’t always find that to be the case in older, antique furniture.  It is painted in AS Old Ochre; the aqua interior is a Provence/ Old Ochre mix.  I love the soft complimentary colours.


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Gilded Mason Jars


Painted mason jars have been popular for a few years and there are many examples of them on Pinterest as well as Etsy.  Recently, I read a post by Suburble on painting mason jars with Modern Masters paint.  You can read her post here.  I love the effect that she created.  I actually used Modern Masters a long time ago on a large mirror that hangs in the bathroom.  At one time, they made a silver colour that when activated shows bits of copper-it’s quite lovely.  However, her post got me thinking about gilding.  It’s easier and why not use it on the raised parts of the jars.  All my jars were bought at the local thrift store for next to nothing.  It seems silly to buy new for this type of thing and I like the fact that they have different and interesting designs.

I painted the Atlas jars in AS Florence and used copper gilding from Baroque Art.  I liked the effect so much that I just kept going.  I used AS Old Ochre and a gold paste called Inca Gold.


I have also made some pastel mixtures.  The pale blue is an Old White/Greek Blue combo with silver gilding while the pink is an Old White/ Emperor’s Silk mix with gold.



They have 2 or 3 coats of paint on them.  It’s important to wax the jars before you apply the gilding as the wax will remove it because it has solvents in it ( which is handy to know if you make a mistake; varsol also works ).  Once cured, the paint and gilding is pretty well protected but I would be careful about getting the outside wet.

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The Golden Hour Clock

I have been asked a few times about the clock that I use as a prop in some of my pictures. You can see it here:IMG_0567and here:DSC_0003(11)

This unusual Art Deco looking clock is called a Golden Hour clock and was made by the Jefferson Electric company from the 1930’s-80’s. These clocks were marketed as Mystery Clocks because they have no visible workings.  Essentially, they are powered by an electric motor in the base; the minute hand uses friction to move on the crystal face and the hour hand has a weight behind it.  The rim and dial were once painted with radioactive paint so that they would glow in the dark although ours doesn’t.   I love the design as it is both elegant and retro-looking.  My clock dates from the 1950’s and keeps very good time although we have had it repaired once. It was in my mother-in-law’s living room for 40 years and is now in ours.

jeff myst clock g 347

This picture is from the owner’s manual:catalogue for clock

There are also a few funny print ads for the clock that show people looking at each other through the clock.  The clock was sold in the $20 range in the 50’s but is now worth a bit more because of the interest in mid-century modern design.
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