By Thomas Webster

A famous type of antique glass lamp shade is the Tiffany which is renowned all over the globe for their exquisite craftsmanship. Even so, most people do not understand how much labor goes into the making of each of these shades. Correspondingly the amount of labor and talent required to restore one of these is also very high.

The non-specialist sees that the shade is composed of tiny little pieces of glass that are put together like a jigsaw puzzle. There does not seem to be a frame of any sort holding everything in place. This is indeed the case as each piece of glass is individually wrapped edgewise with a sliver of copper and then glued to its neighbors with solder. It is a delicate construction that can be damaged easily.

The way Tiffany constructed these lamps was to first create a mold base that had the shape of the lamp. Small pieces of glass are then painstakingly placed on the surface of the mold to create a lamp. After the little panes of glass are in position, they are glued, and then soldered with silver or lead to cement them into place. A top and bottom ring provide the only spanning support. Restorers often have to disassemble the entire structure and put it back together again.

Tiffany glass shades are closely connected to the illustrious jewelry store that is famed all over the world. The designer, Louis Comfort Tiffany, lived almost a hundred years ago, creating art and improving the area of interior decorating. There are two main reasons why Tiffany indulged in lamp shades. The first is that he had classical training in the arts and understood the construction of stained glass windows in churches. The second is that he was by trade also an interior designer who thought up novel home decor ideas. The Tiffany lamp shades are made up of panes of stained glass framed in metal, the construction of which mirrors church windows. When lit, they became brilliant scenes drawn from natural scenes such as animals, insects and landscapes.

The term torchiere brings to mind a standing lamp with just one light at the top. In many homes torchiere lamp shades are used in places that require soothing lighting. The shade is most often a broad conical shape opening upward to cast the light across a wide area, meaning that the light softly filters evenly all over the room. Torchiere glass shades may be obtained in a variety of tones and widths. Measure the diameter on top to get the catalog size and in addition the lower side where the fitter connects to the shade.

Glass lamp shades are available in a number of sizes and shapes. The designs carry rich names, such as hurricane glass shades and gas lamp shades. The hurricane design bears a very special shape, its height exceeds the width, not unlike the shape of a vase. It meshes well with very tall ceilings that is completed by the tallness of the hurricane lamp shade. Another interesting shade is the historical gas lamp shade that saw itself popularized in the time of Queen Victoria's reign. The day and age observed the spread of gas power gas lights and the consequent increase in both number and artistic styles.

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