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August Updates

26 August, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

It's been an exciting August for us here and although we've been quiet on the blog front we've been busy in the shop!


Here's a teaser as to what's going on with more posts to follow soon.


Restoration Destination


Currently we have 2 large scale restorations taking place right now. The first is a commercial project in Ancaster for the lighting at Old Town Hall. A local landmark and architectural gem, the City of Hamilton contacted us to restore the existing chandeliers, add more lighting in to the hall via LEDs and design complimentary lighting for the stage area. Due to the size and historic nature of the chandeliers, we have been dutifully working away at bringing them back to life while updating them for LED lighting as part of our green initiative.









The second project is kind of a love affair as it involves beautiful historic chandeliers in a beautiful historic Toronto home. We were contacted to remove many period and original chandeliers from the clients home for restoration. In most cases clients will bring the lighting fixtures to us but in this case, due to fragility of the crystal chandeliers, we went on site to remove them. This included taking them down from the ceiling, taking apart and labeling and packing them onsite. Stunning to begin with, we can't wait to see the chandeliers restored and the reaction the homeowners have to seeing back in in situ.


Along with these, we are also working on some great client goods ranging from Art Deco floor lamps to a set of original European wall sconces from a Toronto house.





LEDs and Vintage Lighting


Our LED filament lightbulbs are a hit and we've had to up our supply to keep with the demand. And why wouldn't they be a hit? Same light quality as an incandescent, greater brightness, 90% energy savings and 10 times the longevity.


As our ongoing commitment to energy savings, we've been steadily retrofitting our 2300 sq ft showroom with LED bulbs. The difference is striking when you walk in. Greater light, sharper highlights and less of an environmental impact. Loving it all around!


New arrivals


New Stock abounds and we've got some great lighting in from different eras. An amazing 1870s gasolier is one of the highlights and one we have't seen for a long time. Restored with its French Bronze finish and antique shades, its a showstopper in the front of the showroom. Victorian gas lighting and Mid Century modern lighting seem to be the most popular this summer which is great. 2 distinct eras and styles all under one roof. Our new arrivals page is always updated and there's going to be a lot coming up in September!




New Designs


We've been hard at work letting our collective imaginations run wild and have some new designs to show for it!



There's more to come on that front and we're excited to debut them in the fall. All made in house, by hand, they'll add to our expansive line of custom lighting.



A Wall Sconce named Audrey

23 July, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Our handcrafted custom items at Turn of the Century Lighting are exciting, wonderfully designed fixtures that show off our metal working skill and finishing ability. We have created many items over the years from Silver Teapot Chandeliers to overscaled Modern Mica and Brass Fixtures. We enjoy restoring antiques, but we love to design and create.

Our first custom wall sconce was created the mid-1990s. It was called the Audrey, named after a wonderful employee at the shop who worked here in the 1980s and 1990s. This sconce was sold for many years before it was eventually discontinued.

brass wall sconce lighting Torontobrass wall sconce lighting Toronto

About a year ago, we rediscovered the beauty of the original Audrey design. Not as ornate or detailed as many of our elaborate fixtures, traditional yet clean and beautifully finished. We decided once again recreate this fixture. In a short time period, our Audrey family of wall sconces has become one of our most popular.
lighting detail Toronto


The Audrey Wall Sconce was created as an affordable, yet beautiful wall sconce. Traditional in nature yet clean enough to work in any interior, this sconce can be custom made in any of our finishes. Complimentary to any existing light fixtures in a home, and a work horse with each socket giving a minimum of 60watts of light.

handmade brass finish lighting



With the renewed interest in this sconce, we decided to create two additional sconces. First an Audrey that incorporates a glass shade instead of the candle. This sconce is very versatile, gives great light, and looks as good going up, as it does going down.

brass lighting Toronto tradtional lighting TorontoLighting Toronto brass



The other sconce we just recently introduced is a double light version of the Audrey. With two sockets instead of one it gives up to 120watts of light, and only a 4-1/2” projection. This makes it ideal in dark, narrow hallways, or any room requiring good light.

Lighting Traditional TorontoTraditional Lighting Toronto lighting detail Toronto


All three of these Audrey Sconces are available in all of our custom finishes, and in any quantity.

Currently we are once again looking into the past for more inspiration with new designs in the fall. Keep checking our website for new additions!

Wall Sconces Explained..........

30 June, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Wall sconces are a stunning addition to any room.





From mood to task lighting, they are versatile in their function as they are in their design. If you are renovating or building a new home and if there are no pre-existing sconces or designs for them.......PUT THEM IN!! You will not be disappointed by how great they look and how they add a new dimension to the room when lit.



Antique and Vintage Wall Sconces.


It goes without saying, these are really, really cool. Outstanding design and craftsmanship are all hallmarks of antique and vintage sconces along with beautiful glass and light quality. From converted gas sconces of the Victorian era to Art Deco slipper shade wall sconces, we strive to carry a diverse range of styles. Pairs of antique sconces with antique glass or re purposed industrial wall lights are the most popular right now as a lot of home owners like the character and history they both provide. Art Deco is always hot as well as any single sconces that are unusual where people only need one.


Although they give great light, the majority of our antique and vintage wall lights are more decorative and feature intricate metal work, designs and patterns that will never be repeated again. We like to stock lighting that make us go “WOW” as we know our clients will feel the same.


Custom Line of Wall Sconces


When it comes to our Custom line of wall sconces, that's where we really shine. With 12 unique finishes, 20+ glass shades and numerous modifications available, we pride ourselves in the options available and the fact that we make them right here. That's huge as there is no shoddy overseas manufacturing, lack of warranty from the retailer or cheap materials used. All of our sconces are made of solid brass and can be done in a range of brass and patina finishes. With brass making a comeback in the design world, we're one of the only companies offering brass wall lighting.


Our styles range from contemporary to traditional with many being available in single, double and triple light configurations.


When it comes to lighting up a room, they are all rated for 60-100 watts per socket and are both decorative and functional.


When selecting wall sconces, there are 3 things you have to keep in mind.


  1. Light. The most important of course. How much do you need and will that require single or multiple arms?

  2. Direction. Ties in with the first point. Pointing up will provide more dramatic illumination as they light washes the wall and provides a warm glow. Pointing down and the sconces are more directional and illuminate surface areas like bathroom sinks etc. For either side of a fireplace or in a hallway, we recommend up lighting if you have the space. For all others, down lighting is more optimal for tasks.

  3. Size and projection. You may get 1 and 2 right but too big or too small and you're in trouble. Unlike dining room lighting, there is no guideline or equation for establishing the right size so you'll have to exercise some planning. Projection is another element to be mindful of as they can't stick out too far unless there is a sink or an object below. Building codes allow for a minimum height on the wall to prevent accidents and if you are unsure, consult your local building code.


Our specialty is antique, vintage and custom lighting done really, really well. When it comes to sconces, we know just what's right for form, function, style and history if you are doing a period reno. From bathroom task lighting to bedroom reading lights, we have you covered.



Future Antiques: Lighting Made Here

19 May, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

We believe in quality.


Both past and present.


That's why we make our own lighting. Or at least one of the many reasons.


When picking or restoring old lighting, you always get a sense of the quality paid to the design and manufacture of them. From the smallest embossing to the tiny floral buttons used on the thumbscrews, the level of detail is unmatched. Unfortunately, many of the old lights existing today have been filtered through time and often stand as singular examples where hundreds were once made. Although it would be nice to have a time machine and raid lighting warehouses of the past but we have to be realistic and get our head out of the DeLorean.


So that's another reason we make our own lighting.

And selection, don't forget that too.


With 12 unique brass finishes available, finishes on our lights can be mixed and matched and each fixture has 12 distinct possibilities as well as available quantities. Our custom selection of ceiling lighting and pendant lighting tops over 150 and our wall sconce selection is at 180. That's a lot of selection and unique designs that can be modified to suit your space.


Lastly, there is nothing like making something in the same way it was made 100 years ago. I know it echoes back to quality, but there is a pride in making an antique of the future in the style of today. We're one of the last Canadian manufacturers of fine quality brass lighting and having personally made a number of our lights as well as commissioned lighting for clients, there is no better feeling than seeing your work being loved in someones home. It's doesn't top new papa pride but is pretty darn satisfying in itself.


Hallway, Bedroom, and Bathroom Lighting for 8'-0” Ceilings

15 May, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

One of the most common things we hear when people see our lighting is that they would need a lot of ceiling height to have most of them in their home.

While this is often the case with many Victorian era fixtures as they were created for 10'-0” ceiling heights, at the start of the 20th Century, many fixtures were created for electricity and lightbulbs.

Ceiling heights were commonly not as high, and fixtures were created to fit in Edwardian, Georgian, Tudor, Arts and Crafts, and Colonial Homes with 8'-0” to 9'-0” heights.

The start of the journey is to know your ceiling height. 8'-0” is commonly accepted as the shortest “normal” ceiling height but measuring is always good idea. We recommend 7'-0” of clearance when walking under a fixture. Areas such as dining rooms, kitchen islands, and vaulted ceilings often have fixtures that can hang lower than this. With 12” or 1'-0” of total height being the goal for an 8'-0” ceiling, below are some options for different spaces.
 Edwardian Brass Pan Lighting FixtureArt Deco Porcelain LightAntique Brass Milk Glass Lighting

Many antique lighting fixtures were created as plain, or embossed plates out of brass that replicated the decorative elaborate ceiling medallions of the previous era. These type of fixtures are fantastic as they give a lot of light with multiple sockets, but also create a visual focal point. Below are examples.
Antique Arts Crafts Flush Mount Lighting Fixture Antique Brass Edwardian Flush Mount LightRestored Antique Close Mount Fixture Nickel

The beauty of our Handcrafted Custom Close Mount Fixtures is the versatility. Below, a three light Lambton fixture in our Brown Patina and Wax could work well in a hallway, while the same Lambton fixture in Bright Nickel could look work in a bathroom in the same home.

Handmade Brown Patina Flush Mount Lighting Handmade Lighting Bright Nickel

Sometimes a Fixture that gives great light, but is a bit smaller is neccessary. A single light close mount fixture can work well in these situations. A small fixture with a beautiful shade can give great light, and work with other lighting in the space.

Antique Hallway Light Etched ShadeHandmade Brass Hallway LightWhite Porcelain Art Deco LightHandmade Brass Light

If you are looking for a light that is unique, fun, and stands out even though your ceiling height is lower, there are many fantastic fixtures that can fit the bill. We are always sourcing these type of fixtures, and below is a small taste of the different fixtures that work well with an 8'-0” ceiling.

Antique Crystal Nickel Hallway LightIndustrial Antique LightCrystal Hallway Light

Many options are available for spaces with lower ceiling heights whether the space is small, or large, simple or decorative.

Below are two sections of our website dedicated to both our custom close mount lighting fixtures that we create, and antique close mounts that have been restored by us. As always keep checking our new additions for our newest items in the new arrivals section of our website.

Custom Lampshades from Turn of the Century Lighting

08 May, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

We have all had a lamp that we know would look great if only it had the right shade. It seems simple, but it can be difficult to find the right size in the right material. The perfect lampshade can make a lamp. A poorly sized lampshade can make it look like an after thought though.

Custom Lampshades from Turn of the Century LightingAt Turn of the Century Lighting we have over 100 different materials, and can create traditional slanted, drum, and more exotic shade shades such as oval, pyramid, and mid century double shades. 


The most important part of the process that helps us to design the perfect shade, is bringing in your table or floor lamp. Whether your lamp is modern or antique, it’s very difficult to size a lampshade without the lamp present. Lampshade sizing is similar to sizing up clothing without a person being there.

It’s easy for a shade to look too big or too small if the sizing is off by even an inch or two.  Having the lamp present will allow us to see how a shade will attach to the lamp, so the correct type of fitting can be chosen.

We will experiment with different shapes of the same size as well, as some lamps can look good with several different shapes. It’s incredible how trying a few different options can lead you to a size and shape that isn't what you thought would look the best.


Table Lamp Floor Lamp and Chandelier Lighting MaterialsOnce we have a shape, we get to choose from our extensive collection of materials, including parchment papers, linens on styrene, kraft papers, and a full range of paint colours from Benjamin Moore.  The options in creating a shade with unique contrasting, or complimentary borders and colour options is endless. 


Custom Handmade Lampshades













We create shades as small as clip on shade size which is great for chandeliers and wall sconces to compliment and update a classic style, or provide a more diffused light than a bare bulb can provide.  For these types of shades, sizing is standard and we do not need the sconce or chandelier brought in, but a photo always helps for style and material considerations. 

We create many larger shades for floor lamps too, and all sizes inbetween.  

custom wall sconce lighting traditional clip on shade

We look forward to seeing you, and your lamp in the shop.




  P.S.  If your lamp needs to be rewired, we happily provide that service as well.  This can be done as the shades are being created, so your lamps are ready to use right away!









Celebrating 40 years of being green......

05 May, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment



Restored antique and vintage lighting is recycling in its purest form. In the age of disposable DIY furniture, lighting and home decor, most things are not made to last. Heirloom quality lighting does not originate from China in 2015 but instead from Europe or North America in 1915.


We've always prided ourselves on our commitment to the environment by reusing, re adapting and restoring lighting from a bygone era. Saved from the trash heap, we've preserved some outstanding fixtures and given them a new home for another 100 years.


When they come into us they are in various states of disrepair and require TLC specific to each one. Nothing goes to waste in the process as all old wire is scrapped and recycled, vintage sockets saved for historic purposes and broken parts are repaired by our restoration team. In many cases, original finishes are maintained by cleaning them with soap and water and preserved with an eco friendly water based lacquer. When a light is in need of a major overhaul and covered in too many layers of pink house paint, we bring it back to the base metal using non toxic methods. From there a hand applied patina or brass based finish is matched to the fixture and preserved with either wax or water based lacquer.


The cool thing with all old lighting and new lighting that we make here is that they are made of 100% recyclable materials. Brass, copper, steel, cast iron and aluminum are valuable commodities on the scrap market with many of the parts having even more value for future restorations. In our workshop in an extensive collection of old parts reserved for stock and client restorations. That's one of the many reasons that makes us the go-to vintage and antique lighting company.


One of the most common questions we hear is if we buy back custom lighting we sold years ago.


The short answer is no.


Not because we don't want to give it a good home or because it's not valuable any more. It's just that we are still making the same lighting models and are not equipped to buy more of it back.


But we will recycle it for you.


If you have a custom wall sconce, chandelier or lamp that was made by us, and have no further use for it we would be more than happy to break it down, take it to the scrap yard and save it from the land fill.


That's just one of commitments we have to the environment and our clientele.



Guide to Period Home Lighting

30 April, 2015 0 comments Leave a comment

Flexible Guide to Historic & Period Lighting

art deco lightingThere are so many styles, influences and histories involved in old houses that the process of choosing a light can be overwhelming. To top it off, when you mix your personal tastes the process of choosing a light can come grinding to a halt because people are afraid of mixing what they like with what they live in.

My best piece of advice to every client is to choose something that they like. It’s their house and they have to enjoy every thing in it as much as possible. I used to be a real historical purist when it came to homes and would mainly guide clients to period fixtures for their period homes. Some would be really interested and jump at the chance to own something of the era while others leaned towards more modern fixtures 60 years newer than their 1870’s Victorian house. Although it may seem odd to put an Art Deco light into a Victorian home, its actually not.

 In fact, it’s very historically accurate.

As I mentioned before, old homes have had a variety of histories. From the people who lived there to both the major and minor changes that have been made to the structure over the years. Tastes and interiors changed and so to did technology. Electric lighting brought about new styles and designs and homes that were converted from gas to electricity often had the newest lights to reflect those styles. We’ve often seen original houses from the turn of the century fitted with all Art Deco lighting because those were the first electric lights ever installed in the house. The same goes with cast arm fixtures or just about any other electric fixture available.

When doing homes that were originally electric, the style is not quite as diverse as there were certain fixtures made for certain styles of homes. In Toronto, we have a plethora of Tudor revival homes, which was the style of choice for many of the 1920s “suburbs” now within the heart of the city. The Tudor and gothic style can seem very heavy and castle like which is appealing to some and oppressive to others. For clients that want more of an updated look with a period feel, we recommend using lighter finishes on the lighting. In some cases we’ll restore their period lighting that came with the home while in others we’ll select antiques and reproductions from our showroom. Finishes like satin nickel, burnished and highlighted brass and antique brass have a rich but lighter appearance that compliment more contemporary designs while also having a period feel.

 Also with older historic homes, what you see is not necessarily what you get. Many have been gutted or drastically transformed over the years with only remnants of their formers selves. Purists will bemoan this fact and often try and bring the home back to what it once was. For this you have my full respect and support as you are doing a huge service to the house. But for those that like the way it is, there are a lot of possibilities inherent on the walls and ceilings. Because you have a blank canvas, treat each light like a piece of art curated in a gallery. You can chose from different, styles and finishes and the only limitations are your budget and imagination.

To learn more about various historic styles, make sure to visit our lighting style guide.

Also, if you have any specific questions regarding your house or a certain style, do not hesitate to email me.


Guide to Buying Antique Lighting

buying antique lightingAntiques carry presence, history and craftsman ship that is rarely seen today. They are treasures to be loved, cherished and hunted for and one can’t help be amazed at the uniqueness of their design. There is a reason that people are drawn to antiques and that reason goes beyond the fact that they are old or potentially valuable. Instead the reason can be traced to what they are, how they have survived after all of these years and the personal meaning they may carry towards owners or prospective buyers.

Then there’s the hunt.

Any well seasoned antique hunter or new person to the market knows how much fun it is to hunt and find the right thing they were after. It’s not just buying something….its finding something. Something unique and wonderful that no body gets to own but them.

But for every treasure out there, there are at least ten wrecks out there that should be avoided.

From antique furniture to lighting, there’s a 50/50 chance that is has been altered, repaired or fiddled with in some way. Professional jobs are hard to spot and for good reason. Good repairs or alterations do not necessarily alter the value of the piece so much as just protect what is there for a hundred more years of enjoyment. Of course this depends on what it is and certain items carry higher values in their original state whether they are damaged or not.

Bad repairs though……they can be more hassle then they are worth. In my lifetime’s worth of experience in dealing with antiques, I have seen just about everything. From painted chewing gum to patch up holes to “rewired” lights done with speaker wire. I am amazed and confounded at the cheapo lengths DIY’rs will go to. What’s made even worse is when dealers know that there have been massive alterations or poor repairs and try to sell them as originals or fully “restored” pieces.

Like any resourceful company, we do look around to see what our competitors carry. There’s a lot of good out there but there’s also a lot of bad. One such company (that shall remain nameless) has a very extensive selection online, but a selection that is always on sale. When I look at what they have and what they profess them to be, I can’t believe they can charge what they do for essentially lying to people. At one point I saw a very nice set of early art deco slipper shade wall sconces on their site Unfortunately they were missing all of their glass (the most valuable part) and the glass was replaced by metal parts for the ceiling cap of an earlier lamp. A lamp made 20 years earlier I might add. And they were charging a higher retail price that we would ask in our showroom fully restored!

When I emailed the company about the sconces, they assured me they were all original and would never alter an antique the way I was suggesting.

It was outrageous to see and even more so to be lied to.

And I’m sure they do it every day.

Antique dealers and companies that restore antiques sometimes have a bad reputation as sharks or shysters and its because of companies like the ones above. Which is why I’m trying to right the wrongs.

When you are looking at antique lighting, there are things to be mindful of other than style, size or budget. Here are a few:

Electrical Safety

Antique lighting was either, gas, electric or both. Unless it’s a signed L.C.T Tiffany or Handel lamp, the original wiring and sockets ad no value to the lamp and actually act as a liability. All vintage and restored lighting should be rewired with new sockets and either CSA or UL approved for installation. By law through the Electrical Standards Act, all lighting has to be certified for installation. All to often, antique dealers and “restoration” companies will replace the lead wires but not the sockets as seen the photo on the left. This is not safe and not reflective of a quality restoration. Only porcelain sockets should be used for down bulb lights as seen on one of our restored fixtures on the right.

Repairs and Adaptations

As I mentioned before, there are some terrible repairs have been conducted on antique lighting with the goal of getting the job done as opposed to getting it done right. The fixture on the right is a fantastic C 1880 aesthetic movement gas light. It came into us with a couple of the arms drilled out when it was originally electrified in the 1900s. Not only did the person drill right through the arms to get the wire through but they also ripped off the gas key so no one would turn it and pinch the wire. This was an incredibly poor job that resulted in us doing a full restoration of the arm and a recast of the gas key. It looks as original as the day it was made but took us a long time to correct other peoples problems. When looking at antique lighting, its important to notice poor repairs and use those as red flags that the light isn’t what it seems. Fixing those bad repairs can often cost more than what you paid for the light which is why its important that its done right. Saves you time, money and provides piece of mind which will allow you to truly enjoy the light.

Finish and Overall Condition

Original finishes are the most sought after for certain collectors and there is a reason why. Its partially reflected in the overall value but more importantly, its something that has lasted all of these years which is a rarity with antique lighting. But original finishes are fragile things and often don’t last the test of time. All too often people with re-polish antique lighting to get the bright shiny brass effect but fail to lacquer or treat it in any way. As a result, the fixture tarnishes and needs constant maintenance as seen with the fixture on the left which has tarnished to a dull brass. To make matters worse on the fixture, the person who “restored” it failed to remove any of the dents in the center body and actually left wire sticking out of the arms. The fixture was actually “live” on the ceiling which was a major fire hazard.

With finish, its important to choose something you like and a finish that will last. All of our finishes are period style finishes fashioned after original ones form the 1880s onwards. They are all treated with lacquer or wax and are suitable for interior and exterior use where specified.

industrial pendant from a factory in detroitAlthough a lot of this may seem overwhelming, its actually not. I explain it to clients everyday and that’s what make us and our lighting different from our competitors. Although we may not divulge how we restore everything we always make sure to both show and tell people that it’s done right. That’s why we’ve been in business for over 30 years restoring lighting, have CSA approval on our lighting and why we offer a warranty on all of our antique lighting.

 We stand behind everything that we do because like the antiques we love to find and restore, we want them to carry on for another 100 years of enjoyment.