Rewiring awesome lamps

First, let me apologise. There's a good possibility that some of what I write in this post will come across as bad innuendo and euphemisms (there's a bit of poking and screwing). This is or is not intentional, depending on whether you find it funny or are incredibly offended (or both).

Anyway, my wife has a couple of black and green lamps that are, well, words fail me so here's a picture.

Samson and Delilah - the lamps
Samson and Delilah - the lamps

I don't know enough racial stereotypes to know if anyone should be offended by these lamps (Do you? Are you?) due to anything other than their general appearance. They appear to be painted plaster and given that standard lamp fixtures can easily be attached to them, I doubt they're particularly old (even though my wife keeps calling them antiques). However, the wiring in them was getting dangerously frayed so we decided it was time to give them an electrical overhaul (yes, we're keeping them). Especially since we're going to put them on our new desk in the office (seriously, we're keeping them – perhaps after a new coat of paint).

For Samson (my nickname of the dashing gent on the left with the impressive torch protruding from his midsection), we got a replacement cord (with plug attached) and a new lamp fixture to hold the bulb. It was pretty straightforward to remove the old electrical fittings and replace them with these new pieces. However, Delilah (my name for the delightful damsel on the right) was not so straightforward.

To begin, the cord (with plug attached) that we had purchased for Delilah and that was identical in every way to the one successfully used to rewire Samson just didn't fit. No matter how had I tried, there was no way I could persuade the cable to slide up to the top of Delilah's head. So, we headed off to the hardware store and bought some 18-gauge lamp wire and a little, easy to install plug.

Delilah and her bits
Delilah and her bits

The first job was fitting the plug. This little thing really was simple to use. The centre pulled out and the prongs moved apart, making a gap for the wire. Making sure to thread it through the plug case first, I inserted the wire into the prongs. At this point, I learned something new; lamp wire has one side that is ribbed for differentiating live from neutral. Did you know that? I certainly didn't.

Plug ready to be assembled
Plug ready to be assembled

Anyway, following the instructions, I made sure the ribbed side was in the appropriate place and closed the prongs. This pierced the insulation on the wire and ensured the wire and prongs were connected appropriately. I then reassembled the plug pieces.

The plug all assembled and ready
The plug all assembled and ready

Next, I threaded the wire up through Delilah until I had a couple of inches poking out of the top of her head (keep it clean). I then threaded the wire through the lamp crown and screwed that into place.

Crown screwed on and wire threaded through
Crown screwed on and wire threaded through

Before I could attach the wire to the switch, the two strands needed to be separated, stripped, twisted and tied into an underwriter's knot.

Underwriter's knot
Underwriter's knot

I attached the wires to the switch and slid the fixture back together, then I pulled the slack back through Delilah before pressing the fixture firmly into the crown until it clicked into place. The last step was to borrow Samson's light, stick it in Delilah and fire up the power.

Delilah has the power
Delilah has the power

Job done. Just need some tasteful lamp shades now.

11 thoughts on “Rewiring awesome lamps”

  1. My mother gave those to Chrissy as a graduation present! I'm going to tell her that you were snarky and send her to this blog. Then, you'll be in trouble. Antique may be a bit of a stretch when you are from England (also known as one of the countries where white people keep their old things . . . . and where they keep the things they stole from other countries and stuff), but they are probably from the late '60s, early '70s (which is eons ago in American time).

    1. Send her. Give me my Google ad dollars.

      These "antiques" are going on our new desk in the office, once I've put it together.

      And that is not "eons ago"…

      1. Actually, my mom confirmed by phone that they are more likely early 60s, maybe even 50s. So there.

        Your ads think I need an engagement ring. Whatever, Google, are you calling me a spinster?

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