Faries Lamp, Refabbed

My lamp stash is serious. I don't have anything really valuable as far as collectors would be concerned, but I have some interesting pieces, and I'm always on the lookout for more.

I recently picked up an old Faries Mfg. Co. lamp on eBay that was in original condition, right down to the tattered cloth wrapped cord and plug. (First three source photos from original eBay listing.)

While the paint was pretty dinged up, the lamp itself was fine and all the original pieces were there. So often these old lamps are missing the original shades, or the metal shades are dented, but mine was in pretty good condition considering it was made sometime around the 1920s. There was a little surface rust, but nothing that couldn't easily be sanded smooth.

I started by cleaning the entire lamp with a damp cloth dipped in water with a couple drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent, dried it, then began sanding all over with a sanding sponge and small wire brush. Once it was completely free of dirt and sanding particles, I cut off the cord because it was going to be replaced anyway, and I didn't want it getting in the way of priming and painting. The shade had already been removed for shipping when I received it, so I dealt with the lamp in two 'parts.'

I went over the entire lamp with Krylon Rust Protector, which is advertised as a "rust converting primer."  I've never used that product before, always using Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer on past projects with good results. While Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer goes on thicker, an iron oxide color, and tends to fill in small details and boo boos, the Krylon Rust Protector went on as a thin clear coat. I noticed as it dried it darkened significantly in some areas, particularly the cast iron lamp base. I hope that means it was converting rust and not a useless gimmick to make me think it was actually performing the rust killing sorcery I was looking for.

After 2 coats of the rust converting primer I pondered what color to paint the lamp, since it was slated for my upcoming home office makeover project whose palette is camel, cream and black. To be authentic, the whole lamp would have been a rather dull brown, and that just doesn't inspire me. My office space = my color rules.

I already had an (older) unopened can of Rustoleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze, and I knew I had gold metallic, so I decided to do the outside shade and base in oil rubbed bronze, and the inside shade and gooseneck portion in gold. Worse case scenario is that combo would look like pooh and I would end up repainting it. It wouldn't be like that never happened before around here... 

While I had the spray paint out for the Faries lamp, I also painted a couple of tape dispensers, one with Krylon 18 KT and the other with Krylon Metallic Copper. Odd, since I can never find a single roll of tape, but my dispensers will be ready when I do. I also painted a couple more toy dinosaurs in copper.

Restrained from escape by the motorcycle tire on the back deck, here's a pic of the golden gooseneck drying, followed by a pic of the oil rubbed bronze base.

I used Krylon Premium Metallic in 18 KT Gold. Verdict: it dries more of a greenish gold than the rich golder-gold of Rustoleum Metallic Gold. I suppose I can live with it, but I would have preferred Rustoleum gold. Whatever, it's a lamp, for crying out loud, and the wheels of progress are rolling around this gin joint, so why split hairs?

Note: If anyone wants a comprehensive review of different spray paint golds, please check out Answering: Which Gold Spray Paint is Best at ChrisLovesJulia.Com. I may have made different choices if I read that sooner.

The metal lamp shade came out spectacular, and I was happy with choosing the lighter Krylon gold for the inside. Outside in the sun, the little reflective sparkles in the oil rubbed bronze are lovely. Overall, the effect is subtle but still vintage, so mission accomplished.

The next step is rewiring and adding the shade back on, but the hard and dirty part is over. I can check at least one source of task lighting off my office makeover item list.

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About Robin D

Robin D. is a regular MacGyver-on-a-budget around the house, on a mission to make everything in life more awesome by Being Awesome, even when the proverbial wheels fall off. A fan of art history, power tools, anti-aging skin care and profanity.


  1. Very interesting,but would have loved to see them whole lamp together upon completion. :(

  2. Since I did the lamp in two parts, with the shade separate, I need to give it some drying time until it's really hard and dry before I reassemble it. Otherwise... where you screw the shade back on would stick to the threads. That would not be good ;-) I'll post pics as soon as it's reassembled.