An Old Pendant Light Gets New Life

Over the weekend, we finally found time to fix up the lotus pendant we scored on our last trip back home. On first glance it wasn’t in that bad of shape, but as I disassembled it, a couple issues with its condition were obvious.

Lotus Lamp Before

First, the pendant was in dire need of a good cleaning.  But more importantly, the cord had to be replaced.  There was no way we were going to hang that light using the current wire.  It looked too questionable, so we decided to replace it and add a longer chain while we were at it.

Yucky ring inside lamp Bad cord Lotus Lamp

We decided to fully disassemble the light to see what we were working with.  After figuring out that the bottom ring of the chain was screwed onto an inner threaded tube, the light came apart fairly quickly.

Old Lamp Getting Disassembled

I made sure to take photos of every step of disassembly so that the pendant could be reassembled easily when the time came.  Here’s a look at what the other end of the lamp cord looked like.  It definitely needed to be replaced – I wanted to be able to sleep at night and not stress about faulty wiring! 😉

Close up of Guts Before

For future reference, I snapped a shot of the “Anatomy of a Lotus Pendant.”  I referenced this photo a couple times later down the line.

Anatomy of a Lotus Lamp

During the disassembly, I came across this maker’s stamp on one of the layers of petals. If you’ll remember, I had wondered if this was an original Tommi Parzinger brass lamp when I bought it.  After lots of research into Tommi Parzinger lighting and the WOCO manufacturing company, I concluded that this was most likely not an original Parzinger, since he never had a relationship with WOCO (that I could find).

Makers Mark on Lotus Lamp

This snippet from the website of Todd Merrill Antiques helped me come to that conclusion.

By 1951 Parzinger had or was soon to establish relationships with an assortment of manufacturers, including Hofstatter (furniture); Dorlyn (brass); Willow & Reed (rattan); Lightolier (lighting); Schumacher and Katzenbach & Warren (wallpaper); and Salterini (wrought iron).

Kind of a bummer, but on the other hand, if it had been an original I may have been more hesitant to rewire it and clean it.   What use would the light fixture be to me then?!

After it was fully disassembled, I got to work cleaning the brass.  Thank goodness I learned my lesson about brass and brass plating here, because I knew not to use heavy-duty brass cleaner this time around.  All it took was a little dish soap and water on a clean rag to get the dirty pieces (right) looking like new (left).

Clean vs Dirty Petals

Here’s another shot of the top set of petals after I’d cleaned it.  Much better, right?

Clean Top Petals

Next it was time to address the wiring.  Stephen and I looked very closely at the way the wires were attached to the light socket and concluded that we could remove the old wires and solder the new ones on ourselves.  If you’re not comfortable with this step, it’s probably a good idea to have a professional do it for you.

Old Solder

Lucky for us, we kept the cords from our bathroom and master closet pendant lights.  Since those lights were both hardwired into the ceiling, we had about 14′ of leftover cord with a switch from each one.  This cord worked out perfectly because I didn’t want to have to hardwire the lotus light when it was time to hang it up.

New Wire from CB2 Pendant

Since the cord was going to be longer, the chain had to be longer too.  We found this standard gold decorator’s chain at Lowe’s on sale for like 70 cents a foot.  After removing the old chain, Stephen hooked this one to our light assembly.

Assembly Ready

For me, it was easiest to think of this pendant light in two sections.  There was the structural portion, which included the chain, threaded rod and the cap that covered the rod.  Then there was the electrical portion, which included the light cord and light socket. The brass petals were considered totally unnecessary to the structure or function of the light (though they made it look guuuuud), so we dealt with those last.

Close up of Threaded Rod

Once we took care of the structural part, it was time to do the electrical portion.  First we threaded the cord through the chain of the pendant.

Threading Wire through Chain

Then we threaded it through the rod that supports the weight of the pendant.  It’s key to remember that the pendant is only suspended by the chain and this rod – not by the power cord itself.

Threading Wire through Cap

Stephen took over for the soldering step since he’d used a soldering iron before.  The process is pretty simple and consists of melting the solder (which looks like silver wire) with the iron (which looks like a pen but gets super hot – like 500 degrees).

Prepping for Solder

I didn’t get any photos of the actual soldering because it’s a pretty stinky, smoky process, but here’s how the socket wiring turned out when he was done.  Much cleaner and safer-looking, right?

Soldered New Wire

Instead of wasting time putting the light back together, first we decided to make sure the cord worked.  We grabbed a light bulb and plugged it in.

Testing New Wire Off

With a flip of the switch, we had a success!  The cord was ready to go.

Testing New Wire

Now that we knew the wiring was good, it was time to reassemble the light.  Here you can see how the threaded rod attaches directly to the light socket so all the weight rests on it (and NOT on the power cord).

Guts Rewired

Two of these lock-rings were the other keys to reassembling the lamp.  The first one screwed on the light socket, all the way to the top.  Then the petals were added in order, followed by the second lock-ring to sandwich it all together.

Example Lock-Ring

Here’s the first lock-ring in place.  To be honest, I started assembling the light from the wrong direction originally, but it didn’t take long to figure out I couldn’t slide the petals from the plug end of the cord – they had to slide over the light socket.

Adding Lock-Ring

Next it was time for the first layer of petals and the spacer ring.

Adding Top Petals Adding Spacer Ring

Then the second and third layers of petals.  Look at how shiny and clean they are now!

Adding Center Petals Adding Bottom Petals

Finally the second lock-ring was screwed in place to secure the assembly.

Clean Lock-Ring Inside

The last step was to slide cap and the chain with the connector ring down onto the threaded rod.

Adding Top Cover Chain to be Attached

There were just enough threads peeking out to get a secure hold.

Showing Threaded Tube

Here’s the connector piece securing the chain to the rest of the lamp.

Attaching Chain

And finally, our refurbished lotus light – as good as new!

Finished Lotus Light

It might not look like that huge of a transformation from the before to the after below, but the lamp is much cleaner now and we can breathe easy knowing that it won’t be burning our house down when we plug it in.

Lotus Lamp Before Finished Lotus Light

I’m hoping to hang the pendant this weekend and be able to show it to you in its new home soon.  What do you think of our rewiring project?  Would you ever tackle something like this?

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