New member - Question about vintage or vintage-looking fixtures

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JonasClark, May 29, 2010.

  1. JonasClark

    JonasClark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    I'm looking for some interesting fixtures for display that either are, or appear, 1950s or 1960s vintage in style. The sort I'm referring to, I often see in mid-century installations, sometimes at homes but usually at apartment complexes or office courts with landscaping. The only modern fixture I've found that is the sort I mean, and actually looks vintage, are the Dabmar D8000, D8050 and LV106, which look straight out of that era.

    The standard pagodas aka 'tier lights' and the Nightscaping fixtures such as the Navigator aren't...well, "funky"... They don't have the vintage charm, which often edges into nautical or, more often, Oriental territory.

    Does anyone know any other fixtures I should be looking at? And is there anywhere I can look for some vintage ones? An early-80s Little Giant (pumps and fountains) catalog I have shows some plastic fixtures that, despite being Malibu quality, interest me highly; they have a conical lamp shroud which is essentially a modified version of their bullet fixture, three support posts on top, and a very wide mushroom cap shaped a bit like a Gothic pointed arch, and I've seen these (usually in a painted green finish) in some vintage apartment complexes and yards. The catalog also shows, even more interesting - garish and silly, but desirable to me - translucent, almost transparent mushroom caps of the same shape, which can be paired with a colored lens for what you'd call 'glare bombs' but still have vintage charm and collectability to me.

    The Nightscaping Quadliter has some vintage charm to me, too, though I'll hold out until I can find an old, used one. I always prefer used to new, as they feel like they have more history in a way.

    Also interested in old Malibu "Satel-Lites", the knockoff version of the Loran Sparklers and Starliters; there was a short and a tall spike-mounted model and a short suspended model. These date to the mid-80s, I believe, I have a catalog somewhere that shows them.

    Anyone have some funky fixtures kickin' around that they yanked out in a replacement job, or keep me posted if they find any? I'm not looking to do my yard with these, but I'm planning a small deck in an out-of-the-way spot where glare won't be an issue that will be home to as many oddball old yard lighting fixtures as I can find and fix up. Only new light I'd consider here is one of the Dabmar fixtures noted above, and/or possibly a Nightscaping Starliter, though I'd prefer to find an old, used, weathered Starliter.
     
  2. JonasClark

    JonasClark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Added: I also collect lighting catalogs. The oldest I have is a 1985 Nightscaping. I'd be interested in buying, or getting color copies or scans of, pre-1980 Nightscaping catalogs, as old/early as possible, as well as catalogs of line-voltage garden, yard and landscape fixtures from the 1930s through the 1970s.

    Anyone have any 1950s-or-before Kim Lighting catalogs?
     
  3. JonasClark

    JonasClark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Pardon me, I mean I'd like to find an old, weathered Nightscaping Sparkler. Temporarily forgot that Starliters are the suspended model; I have more of a spot for a mounted model.
     
  4. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    Although I've never used one, I always thought the Kim Ravenna Highliter was pretty cool looking.
     
  5. JonasClark

    JonasClark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Agreed that it has sort of a modernistic 50s vibe. I'd love to know what kinds of odd ball 'ugly' 70s-or-older fixtures get yanked by some of you when installing much better ones. Chances are, I'm interested in such things, as long as they're not generic Malibu pagodas or floods.
     
  6. sprinklerchris

    sprinklerchris LawnSite Senior Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 281

  7. JonasClark

    JonasClark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    That's very nice. Like that one.

    Just picked up two line-voltage fixtures that are sort of in the right line. They're fairly large, about 1 1/2' tall, with a conical bulb surround and a dome that looks similar to an old army helmet, complete with lip. A U-shaped bracket riveted to the dome attaches to either side of the socket surround with two large plastic thumb-screw/wing-nut devices. I'm hoping I can modify them to run on low voltage, but I'd need a low voltage socket with about 2 1/2' lead wires. I'll figure something out.

    Also picked up a brass-and-copper china hat. Brass fitting holds a frosted glass cylinder to which the copper hat is epoxied, and the brass fitting pushes over a brass cylinder with two rubber O-rings, with a hex set screw to fix it in place. Stem is thick copper. Had two lead wires with insulated alligator clips (store display fixture?) Thing is, I think it's toast. Picked it up, hat fell off, glass shattered, pins for bulb bent. Was at a salvage store - probably the only time I'll be able to afford a fixture this nice. It's quite heavy. I'll just toss it unless someone wants the bits or thinks I can fix it up. No brand I can see marked on it.
     
  8. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    How about posting some pics Jonas?

    Also, besides Kim, Beachside has some current fixtures that to me look a bit retro...

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    Most of the old steel Nightscaping fixtures I've run across in doing renovations have been well used, to the point of crumbling apart.
     
  9. JonasClark

    JonasClark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Will get photos of both line-voltage fixtures and copper china hat ASAP.

    I at first considered using a medium-base, A19 RV bulb in the line-voltage fixtures, but that idea lasted about thirty seconds. It hit me that I'd need 3-4 volt bulbs, not 12-volt, so putting in a new wedge or other socket is probably my best bet.
     
  10. JonasClark

    JonasClark LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    Here are some quick snapshots. Pardon the slight blur. The two line-voltage fixtures scream "80s business complex" to me. Textured black, 'army hat' bowl, with large plastic-capped bolts screwing the bowl's yoke to the socket shroud. The socket is white plastic, and the top part, including the metal screw thread for the bulb, unscrews from the socket base (for cleaning? Removing stuck bulb?) The top of this has a flexible white (rubber?) collar to somewhat keep out moisture. The way the shade yoke attached also allows it to be tilted, to aim light or get better access to the bulb. I hope to somehow convert these for use on a low-voltage system.

    The copper/brass china hat fixture is, I imagine, toast. It reminds me vaguely of a number of fixtures of various brands, but is unmarked. The frosted glass sleeve glued into the cap and the brass ring, and is shattered, so both of those would seem to be a loss, and the bulb mount at the top of the stem (a plastic insert with two male pins) has the pins bent severely, so that's likely a loss, too. It has two lead wires with insulated alligator clips, and a few light nicks and scratches to the cap's edge, leading me to believe it was part of a store display. It's nice and heavy, too. Anyone see any reason for me to keep it? Otherwise, it's going in the trash. These were $8 each (line-voltage units) and $5 at a building salvage store which is a good part of the remainder of my project budget, since the new deck itself is sapping most of it; hopefully in a few years I'll have the sort of income handy to have a pro job done.

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