Deals and Steals: Antique Desk Lamp

A couple months ago, I noticed a new (to them) industrial antique desk lamp on my parents' piano. I recognized it immediately -- it looked exactly the same as one I'd seen at our family's favorite estate store awhile back, except it was much shinier and nicer. The one I had seen was cool, but I thought it was too far gone to be worthwhile. Theirs, however, looked amazing. After mentioning all this to my dad, he told me it was the lamp I'd seen--though he hadn't known I'd looked at it too. It had caught his eye on a subsequent thrifting trip, so he bought it for a couple bucks, stripped decades of grode off it and shined up the metal. What a difference!

While we were in PA for Easter, my parents (who are very good gift givers, if you haven't noticed) gave us this little guy:

They had found it at the same estate store a few weeks ago and remembered my envy. Dad was reluctant to say how much they paid for it, because it was, "um, not much..." I think he eventually said it was $3. He shined it up and rewired it, and now I think it has more style and personality than any other $3 or even $30 lamp I've seen -- aside from the one on their piano of course.

Considering a faux-antique desk lamp at Pottery Barn et al. would cost you $150+, the parents really packed a lot of stylishness into one $3 gift here! So now you know, as I recently learned, that the shabby old desk lamp you passed over at an antique store can be cleaned, shined and rewired to operate and look as good (or better) than new -- and for a much better price. So give it a chance!

FYI the bottom is stamped "Rex Electric Co NYC." I did a couple minutes of research on the company and couldn't find much about its history, but I did find a couple similar lamps for sale around the web -- one claiming to be manufactured in 1929. (There is a Rex Electric Company that started in Chicago in the 1920s, but it doesn't seem to be a match.) Anyone know anything about Rex Electric?

Anyone else have any fun, thrifty finds lately?


  1. BH:

    Nice lamp, watt bright idea will you come up with for it's use? When you do, please re-cord it on your blog. I like light hearted ideas that spark the imagination.

  2. Just discovered your blog! I love your ideas, can't wait to check it out more. Your house looks beautiful! I'm from around the area too :)

  3. I did find a reference to a "Rex Oral McGinnis" who established the a "Rex Electric Company" "Armatures a Specialty"... here is a link to the site, http://www.biographiks.com/pleasant/ruthrex.htm

    In 1909 - Business & Economics, 2 references to Rex Electric in NYC:

    Rex Electric Co, NY, John Boyd Près, Charles J Kleber Sec, Capital $600,000. Directors; John Boyd, Horace M Kilborn, EH Betz, Charles J Kleber. 56 Wall R 303 & 442 W 42d

    Rex Electric Co, RTN, Walter L Garrigues, 2968 Webster av

    Boring... but I like the lamp!
    Uncle Chris

  4. Anonymous -- that was brilliant. And thanks for the ongoing Brazen Hussy reference. Love it.

    Uncle Chris -- I so appreciate the nerdiness! I'm following up on all this stuff now. :-)

  5. I also have a lamp that is stamped REX ELE CO. NYC,does anyone know the real value of these lamps?

  6. I just found a Rex lamp at Goodwill today. It still works even though the plug/wiring is a bit primitive. Needs to be rewired for safety. Here is a photo: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/100838479131997256/


Thanks for reading! I love your thoughts, feedback and suggestions. Keep 'em coming!