I think it’s safe to say that I love old lamps. And the lamp a customer recently brought in is a doozy.
This lamp is old. We’re not entirely sure how old, but we think it was converted from oil to electricity sometime early last century. It’s got a lovely painted ceramic vase and brass hardware. Unfortunately it was knocked over (or fortunately for me, since I wouldn’t be writing this if it hadn’t happened) and the base was bent.
Most importantly we had to get this fixed. We see this kind of damage fairly regularly, so not a big thing. Our customer decided it would be a good time to refinish the brass, too, since we were in there anyway.
This lamp was hiding something, though. Like an antique Kinder Egg there was a surprise inside – four sleeves of Daisy Targeteer BBs acting as ballast.
I did a bit of research, and found that these are not your typical BBs. They were specially manufactured for the ‘Targeteer’ model BB gun, which debuted in the late 1930s. They are actually worth $5-10 per sleeve! They also give us a bit of a clue as to when the oil-to-electric conversion was done. There is more info on the Targeteer and BBs here (opens in a new window).
Aside from the lamp being full of ammunition, this was a pretty straight-forward job. We hammered out the damage, cleaned up the ceramic, and refinished the brass.
We had to replace the BBs with new ballast, so we loaded the lamp with some more common, modern BBs. Maybe in another hundred years or so someone will open the lamp up again, and be shocked to find what we left them. At least I hope that happens.
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