I create upcycling lamps & light objects using 60 to 100 years old technical devices.
These historical devices are for example old electrical measuring instruments, microscopes, mechanical calculators, telephones, typewriters, artificial sunlamps, hair dryers and photo- and film cameras.
The old historical devices have been handcrafted in the 1920s to 1960s in small series and in a beautiful design. They were completely replaced many years ago by new technologies, materials and industrial production processes.
Now they are obsolete, damaged or no longer safe to use and being stored in cellars, attics or most often even discarded on the garbage dumps.
This is a waste for these beautiful devices, which were made with a lot of manual work. Handcrafted wooden cases in oak wood, walnut or mahogany. Aluminum, brass or bakelite parts in beautiful 50s or 60s streamline design.
I breathe a new life into these beautiful appliances and upcycle them to unique lamps and light objects.
1930s Milliampermeter Nixie clock upcycling light object
The components of my upcycling nixieclock-lamp-meter come from different decades in a period of 80 years:
1930s: an antique Milliamperemeter of an unknown manufacturer
1940s: the "Beehive" glow bulb has been built by Osram in WW2
1960s: a green-white enamel lampshade
1980s: four IN-18 Nixie tubes, manufactured in the Ukraine
2000s: brass rods and fittings
2010s: textile power cord and electronic circuits
I love Nixie tubes. Burroughs Corporation introduced in 1955 the "Numeric Indicator eXperimental No. I" = NIXIE.
The glass tube contains two type of electrodes: A wire mesh anode and 10 cathodes, shaped like the numerals 0 - 9. If you apply a electric power between anode and cathode the cathode will generate an orange glow discharge around its shape - the numeral. The tube is filled with neon and often a little bit argon and mercury. It is the same physical principle as with the beehive glow lamp.
Maybaum Climetta fan upcycling light object
This is a Maybaum Climetta 719 fan.
It has been built in the 1960s by the former company Maybaum Elektrogeräte in Sundern, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. This company had its roots in the year 1797 (!) as a hammer mill.
The fan has two cold and two hot levels and the housing is made of metal with a bakelite handle.
I have refurbished the motor as well as the fan blades and preserved the original surface with clear paint.
In the fan housing I installed 3 red LEDs to simulate the heating. On the outside I constructed a mounting for two bakelite sockets for the Edison bulbs and finally added a small dimmer in the socket of the fan. The switch buttons allow to switch the fan motor, red LEDs and Edison lamp separately.
Instead of cold or warm air this beautiful antique piece now creates great light effects and has received a new life.
In addition to the telephone number (right), the telex/teletype/TTY (left) was extremely important for company communications from 1900 to the 1970s.
Gans & Goldschmidt Ohmmeter upcycling light object
For this fantastic upcycling cocktail i have combined the following ingredients:
1) a beautiful 1920s Präzisions-Ohmmeter by Gans & Goldschmidt, founded 1897 in Berlin
2) a very rare glass insulator
3) two brass lamp sockets
4) two Edison incandescent bulbs
5) brass tubes
6) a red glass marble
7) parts of an old microscope
8) LED spot
9) blue filtered LED
10) an old porcelain insulator
11) a stainless steel desert bowl
12) Dimmer and switch
13) golden textile power cord
14) bakelite AC power plug
Bell Wheatstone Bridge upcycling lamp
This historical device is a Wheatstone Bridge 7008A manufactured between 1930 and 1940 by Bell Telephone. It has been used to measure electrical resistance with extreme accuracy.
On the top I placed a rare and beautiful WW2 electron tube. It is a Telefunken RS 282 VIII shortwave radio tube. The tube has a power of 100 W and is heated with a voltage of 8 V. The tube has a height of 245 mm or 10 inch. This type of tubes has been used in the radio transmitters of german submarines.
The print on the tube is on the front:
D.R.P. (=Deutsches Reichspatent)
RS 282 VIII
And on the back:
a picture of the german Reichsadler
7. Aug 1938
I added bakelite sockets for two Edison filament bulbs, illuminated the electron tube from the top and from below with LEDs, illuminated the inside of the wooden box and integrated a dimmer switch.
KTAS D30 telephone upcycling lamp
This is a beautiful antique KTAS D30 telephone manufactured in the 1930s by Automatic Copenhagen / Denmark and refurbished in the 1960s by Expoga.
The handset is made of bakelite and the steel housing is plated with copper and brass.
I‘ve added a bakelite E27 socket, an Edison incandescent bulb, a red LED spot, a brass gooseneck to fix the handset, 2 neon glow bulbs, a dimmer and a textile power cord.
Finally I polished the copper and brass and sealed it with clear lacquer.
I have set the electromechanical tariff counter to ‚1604‘. This is day and month of a birthday cause my phonelamp was a very special birthday present in my family.
Kjøbenhavns Telefon Aktieselskab (KTAS) was founded in 1882 as one of the first telephone companies in Denmark to provide telephony to the public.
Around 1892 a young engineer and manufacturer Morton Balthazar Richter (1868 - 1943) started to produce telephones and developed new telephone parts. 1908 he became the main supplier of KTAS and renamed his company to Telefon Fabrik Automatic Copenhagen.
WW2 Feldmesskästchen VFD upcycling clock
I‘ve upcycled an 1944 WW2 measuring device with an analog VFD clock display.
The „Feldmesskästchen 18“ was a small portable electrical measuring device and has been used in second world war by german signal corps.
The name "Feldmesskästchen 18" is derived from the fact that it was housed in a small wooden box and was introduced in its first version in 1918.
The beautiful analog clock is a VFD48 vacuum fluorescent display tube developed by Zhejiang BOE Display technology in the early 2000s. I added two neon glow bulbs, LED illumination for the antique voltmeter and two old switches.
Inside the wooden box was just enough space to add a 5V power supply for the micro LEDs inside the meter and the VFD clock circuit.
The wooden box measures 15x11 cm, 6x4.3 inch.
The Feldmesskästchen 18 had three basic tasks: Voltmeter, Ohmmeter and Line checks. It covered a wide spectrum in the German Wehrmacht. It was used by almost all troops.
The main field of application was, of course, telecommunications and radio technology.
My device has been manufactured by the company Gebr. Ruhstrat founded 1888 in Göttingen. Other manufacturers have been Josef Neuberger, P. Gossen and Schöller & Co.
Phywe demonstration meter upcycling lamp
This is a beautiful 1960s Phywe demonstration wattmeter used in schools and universities.
This Phywe meter is made of robust bakelite and has glass windows in front and back to show the scale to students and teacher. Inside the bakelite housing I placed two porcelain sockets, two Edison bulbs, in the back a violett filtered tube bulb and a dimmer. The violett light shines through the slot in the scale and illuminates the background of the objects. Unfortunately this is not visible on the picture.
As base I used a heavy (12 lb) high voltage insulator made of ceramic and cast iron of a transformer station.
On the top is a russian 6C33C electron tube, a double power triode. The tube has the nickname warthog due to the humps in the upper part of the tube. Originally it was built for the russian military and was used in the radio / transceiver of a MIG-25 fighter jet. Full story is here. This tube is nowadays one of the most beautiful tubes for HiFi tube amplifiers.
More Details on this russian power tube can be found at Jogis Roehrenbude.
The Phywe 7090 wattmeter is a demonstration measuring device for measuring the active power (real power) in DC and AC circuits. It is used in combination with up to ten interchangeable measuring range inserts.
Phywe has been founded in 1913 by Dr. Gotthelf Leimbach in Göttingen / Germany as a society for the exploration of the earth's interior. In 1918 the company was renamed to Physikalische Werkstätten GmbH and the production of physics teaching instruments was started.
Phywe is still one of the leading providers in this segment. If you like, have a look on the website of Phywe.
Military Beta-Gamma Geigercounter DP-11B upcycling lamp
This Upcycling light object is made up of a military Beta-Gamma-Radiometer / Geiger counter built 1957 and parts of an old radiant heater.
A Geiger counter is used for detecting and measuring ionizing radiation. It is used for radiation dosimetry, radiological protection, experimental physics, and in the nuclear industry. It detects ionizing radiation such as alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays based on the ionization effect of the Geiger–Müller tube, which gives its name to the instrument.
Unfortunately the Geiger-Müller tube was missing on this instrument, when I bought it on ebay. On the right of the device, you can see the secured connection of the Geiger-Müller tube.
I removed the heater in the center of the reflector and added bakelite sockets for a red LED bulb in the rear and an Edison bulb in front. With a flexible gooseneck shaft I connected radiometer and reflector. Because the gooseneck wasn't strong enough, I also inserted a 2mm copper wire. But it is still very wobbly.
On the panel of the radiometer I installed a AC dimmer/switch with the original turning knob and a red neon glow lamp.
The radiometer type DP-11B has been built 1957 und was used to measure beta and gamma radiation. And it really meets military specifications- every gap is dust and waterproof sealed and erverything is shockproof secured.
The device has a carrying strap and the signal tones are heard with headphones. On the picture you see the Geiger-Müller tube on the end of a long stick.
Antique folding camera upcycling lamp
This is an antique 9x12 field/folding camera manufactured in the late 1920s by an unknown manufacturer. The Compur shutter has been made by the German company F. Deckel based in Munich. The shutter represents the most complicated part of this camera types.
I fixed the shutter in a half open position, so that you can see the aperture of the diaphragm. A diaphragm or leaf shutter has a number of thin blades which briefly uncover the camera aperture to make the exposure. The blades slide over each other in a way which creates a circular aperture which enlarges as quickly as possible to uncover the whole lens, stays open for the required time, then closes in the same way. More details on Compur shutters can be found on the Camera-Wiki.
Inside the beautiful leather bellows of the folding camera I placed a red LED spot. I used a LED in this place because it generates almost no heat.
Inside the small viewfinder I added a small neon glow bulb which is not visible on the photo but looks great through the magnifying glass of the viewfinder.
On the side of the camera I constructed a lamp holder like for a flash. The round mirror is an old stainless steel desert bowl and fits to the giant Edison bulb perfectly.
Friedrich Deckel AG, founded in 1903, was one of the largest German manufacturers of camera shutters and machine tools. The company was based in Munich.
Friedrich Deckel's own demand for high-precision machine tools for precision mechanics was largely met by Deckel himself. Such special machines were hardly for sale at that time and were therefore designed and manufactured by Deckel himself.
In 1953 the company employed 3000 people and from the end of the 1950s concentrated increasingly on machine tool manufacturing.
In 1961 the company changed its name to "Compur-Werk GmbH & Co.
Siemens & Halske insulation meter upcycling light object
I‘ve upgraded this antique measuring device quite a bit.
It has been built in the 1930s by Siemens & Halske in Berlin and been used to measure the electrical resistance or insulation with high voltages.
Inside the oak wood housing has been a magneto, an electrical generator, to produce 200 to 300 Volts AC when you turn the crank.
With this voltage you are able to check the isolation of an electrical installation.
I moved the gauge from the top to the front to have space for a 3“ plasma globe which perfectly fitted into the top hole.
A plasma globe is filled with a mixture of various noble gases (neon, argon, xenon, krypton) with a high-voltage electrode in the center of the sphere.
When high voltage is applied, a plasma is formed - Plasma filaments extend from the inner electrode to the outer glass insulator, giving the appearance of multiple constant beams of colored light. The plasma lamp was invented by Nikola Tesla, during his experimentation with high-frequency currents in an evacuated glass tube. The modern plasma lamp design was subsequently developed by Bill Parker, a student at MIT. More details in the Wikipedia article.
I used porcelain insulators as feets. The oak wood housing is open at the bottom and a LED spot throws blue light on the ground.
This is a photo of the instruction manual attached to the inside of the wooden cover. It's written here:
1. Insulation measurement with 220V.
Connect test device to terminal C. Set changeover switch A to 1. Press button B and crank so quickly that the instrument pointer points to the red line. Release the button, continue cranking at the same speed and read off the insulation value.
2. Insulation measurement with 110V.
Set change-over switch A to 0.5, divide read megohm value by 2, otherwise like 1.
3. Voltage measurement. Measuring range 250V.
Set switch A to 1. Connect unknown voltage to terminals C and read voltage value.
4. Voltage measurement. Measuring range 125V.
Set switch A to 0.5. Divide the read value by 2, otherwise like 3.
Hanau Sollux upcycling lamp
This Original Hanau „Sollux“ was a red light lamp for infrared treatments built in the 1950s.
It has a beautifully designed housing in aluminum and phenolic resin / bakelite in a typical 50s streamline design.
I removed the original 150W lamp and the bajonet lamp socket and added an Edison filament bulb, an old E27 bakelite socket, a dimmer, two glow bulbs and two rubber wheels of an really old Märklin construction kit.
I tried to exchange the original on/off switch inside the curved bakelite holder of the the lamp with a dimmer. This was rather tricky due to limited space. For this reason I removed the potentiometer of the dimmer-board and placed it with long connecting wires into the curved holder of the lamp, the dimmer board remains in the bakelite base of the lamp.
Diameter: 120 mm. Height: 310 mm. Length: 320 mm. Width: 180 mm.
Antique wattmeter upcycling lamp
This beautiful wattmeter has been built in the 1930s. It carries the serial number 0001 and an unknown logo of the letter S with wings on both sides. It could have been a company in the Siemens environment when they startet to build airplanes.
Due to the large glass pane i wanted to place the Edison lamp inside the wooden housing - so I had to reduce the size of the measuring device and place it 3 cm backwards. A real challenge, and it just worked for a small E14 bulb.
Originally two power sockets were mounted on the left side. By chance two old green glass insulators perfectly fitted into these holes.
On top of it I placed a JAN 576A Cetron electron tube. JAN tubes are Joint Army Navy tubes that were manufactured for the military.
The 576A is a high voltage (up to 25.000 Volts) rectifier tube produced by Cetron Electronic Corporation.
I removed the ceramic plate of the tube socket and illuminated it with a blue filtered LED bulb.
On both sides I placed copper coils from a relay and stainless steel balls from a curtain rod.
Mercedes Prima typewriter upcycling lamp
This Mercedes Prima Mod. 34 typewriter has been manufactured by Mercedes Büromaschinen Werke in Zella-Mehlis Thüringen in 1934.
In 1906 the company has been founded by Dr. Gustav Mez in Berlin and moved in 1908 to Zella-Mehlis in Thüringen / Germany to start the production of Mercedes typewriters.
In 1931 the majority of the company was sold to the US Underwood Typewriter Company, NY City and these Mercedes Prima typewriters were Underwood machines that were assembled in Germany and fitted with a Mercedes sign.
There is very little free space in the machine to add lamps but I managed to place two blue filtered LEDs inside and two metal angle pipes and old E27 bakelite lamp sockets on both sides.
Nice Edison filament bulbs, a silver textile power cord and a dimmer complete this upcycling work.
1947 Copper telephone upcycling lamp
When I saw this copper telephone i knew it would be my next great upcycling project.
The Belgian state telephone company, RTT asked her two suppliers, ATEA and BTMC to come up with a standard telephone together. This telephone has built 1947 by ATEA in Antwerp, Belgium. There are almost no original versions availabe - this one has the carrying handle of the RTT 56 A and the handset of the ATEAPHONE 50. Inside of the body a stamp shows the production year 1947.
The body is a 2.5 kg heavy Zamak metal die cast with copper surface. The dial is made of brass and the handset is massive bakelite. Built for eternity.
When I found this beautiful telephone on ebay copper and brass were corroded. With ox gall i could get the metals to shine again and preserved it with clear lacquer.
I have added bakelite lamp sockets, edison filament globe bulbs, a gooseneck to stabilize the handset, dimmer and a blue underfloor LED illumination, which unfortunately can only be seen in the very dark.
The body of the telephone is made of Zamak.
ZAMAK is a family of alloys with a base metal of zinc (Z) and alloying elements of aluminium (A), magnesium (MA), and copper (K) invented in the 1930s. On the surface the die-cast has been covered with copper.
AEG hair dryer upcycling lamp
My new raygun upcycling lamp.
I have used a 1950s AEG hair dryer - a beauty made of chrome and bakelite in a beautiful 50s design. Peter Behrens, a German architect and designer was for many years consultant for AEG and did the whole design of the corporate identity and among others the basic design for the AEG hair dryers.
AEG (Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft) was a German producer of electrical equipment founded 1883 in Berlin. In the year 1900 AEG brought the first hair dryers onto the market.
Into the opening of the hairdryer a very special electron tube fitted. This historic hot-filament MR04 ionization gauge tube has been built in Berlin in the 50s too. It has been used to measure very low pressures in high-vacuum for the region from 0,0000000001 to 0,001 Torr.
I illuminated the tube from below with a LED spot and concentric red and blue filter foil. Within the hair dryer I integrated two neon glow lamps and a blue LED bulb.
The original switch and textile power cord was still ok, so it remained in place.
Astralux Baby artificial sun upcycling lamp
This artificial sunlamp Astralux Baby has been built in the 1950s by Astralux Tiefenstrahler-Quarzlampen m.b.H. in Vienna / Austria. A really nice 50s design styling in tan and silver.
The sunlamp had a power of 400W and consisted of a UV quarz lamp and a circular infrared radiant heater. Heat and UV light could be switched seperately. In the base there was a mechanical timer with a bell.
I have removed the UV quartz lamp and the infrared heater and installed a porcelain socket, a nice Edison filament bulb and a coiled blue EL-wire (electroluminescence).
Additionally I have installed two LED illuminated electron bulbs and a dimmer for the Edison bulb.
Alpinette artificial sun upcycling lamp
The basis of this upcycling project is a 1958 Original Hanau Alpinette PL25, an artificial sunlamp.
Original Hanau is still a leading manufacturer of artificial sunlamps, based in Hanau close to Frankfurt. In the year 1904 they invented the Ultraviolett high pressure lamps.
The nicely designed housing is made of aluminum and Phenoplast (phenolic resins - early plastics) and shows the fashionable aircraft design of the 50s.
I have removed the original UV quarzlamp and infrared radiators and added a porcelain socket, Edison filament bulb, blue LED illumination, two small glow bulbs, a dimmer and two beautiful old rubber wheels of a Märklin construction set.
A real upgrade for this beauty.
Advertisement from Original Hanau dated July 1957:
The artificial sunlamp
is used to increase performance and natural tonicity, normalize metabolism and prevent disease. Especially for children (rickets, anaemia, etc.) but also for curing colds, pain, rheumatism, sciatica, etc.
Ultrakust Voltmeter upcycling lamp
This Ultrakust Voltmeter has been built in the 1950s in Ruhmannsfelden/Bavaria.
The wooden case was painted with dirty gray lacquer. I sanded off the paint and painted the wood with a beautiful glaze to bring out the grain of the oak wood.
I have added parts of a vintage radiant heater, a beautiful russian electron tube, a dimmer, LED spot and 5 neon glow bulbs. The electron tube at the rear end of the reflector is illuminated by a red filtered LED spot and produces great red ambient light circles.
My light object uses lamps with 3 different physical methods of light generation:
1) Edison filament bulb with a wire heated to a temperature to glow with visible light.
2) Neon glow bulbs with a gas discharge at the electrodes.
3) LED with a semiconductor light emission.
1930s AEG Voltmeter upcycling lamp with Bienenkorblampe
The wooden case of this beautiful 1930s AEG Voltmeter was broken, so I first had to reconstruct the case, glue it and glaze it again.
Around 1917 the neon glow lamps have been invented some years after neon tubes got popular. These bulbs use a coronal discharge around two electrodes within a bulb filled with neon or argon noble
The special bulb I used is a so-called Bienenkorblampe or beehive bulb which is 80 years old and still working.
On top of the wooden case I installed a bakelite socket for the beehive bulb. On both sides I drilled big holes into the case to fit two vintage green glass insulators. I have illuminated the glass insulators from the inside by two green LED spots.
Siemens & Halske Bakelite Amperemeter upcycling lamp
This Amperemeter by Siemens & Halske, Berlin has been built in the late 1930s.
Really hard stuff: this instrument is made for electrical currents up to 200 Amperes - Inside I‘ve found thumb-thick copper conductors.
The housing is made of bakelite - an early plastic developed 1907 and often used due to its nonconductivity and heat resistance. The leather handle is sewn by hand.
On the left side of the bakelite housing I drilled three holes to mount the E14 sockets for three flicker glow bulbs.
On the right side I installed a dimmer - which does not work for the glow bulbs, but maybe I sometimes use Edison filament bulbs.
Four old wheels, LED backlight illumination complete this black bakelite device to a fiery beauty.
This brochure by Siemens Messtechnik is dated October 1938 and contains both table-top and portable measuring instruments.
My device has the list number 155863 and the original price was 140 RM (Reichsmark) which is about 560€ = 630$ today.
Zenit Quarz DS8M film camera upcycling lamp
The mechanical 8mm camera Zenit Quarz DS8-M has been manufactured 1968 near to Moscow. When I auctioned this camera on ebay it came in a purple velvet lined imitation leather bag with many lenses and filters.
I modified this film camera with an old Iron-Hydrogenium Resistor Tube, which I illuminated through a hole in the socket.
Why did I choose violet light for this object? It‘s just cool in a dark mode and great spot color to black and blue.
The glass bulb isn’t an incandescent bulb in fact, it’s an old Iron-Hydrogen Resistor Tube formerly used in old tube radios. I removed the original socket and added an E14 LED spot array with a
violet filter foil.
Unfortunately it makes almost no light - just heat.
Amperemeter upcycling lamp
The HIGHLIGHT of this light object is the awesome electron tube on top of the antique amperemeter.
It is a Fairchild 6303 high voltage radar clipper / rectifier electron tube made for up to 40.000 Volts and 2.5 A peak performance as a rectifier. It has a high vacuum inside and a graphite anode (the stack of discs) and a thoria-coated tungsten filament. Sounds impressive.
The tube is 245 mm / 9.65 inch long and is an artwork on its own. I opened the socket from below what really was a challenge and illuminated it with a violett filtered LED spot.
The antique Amperemeter by Voigt & Haeffner has been built in 1910 in Frankfurt and has a really nice Mahagoni wooden case.
The two Edison filament bulbs on angled bakelite sockets perfectly fit to this assemblage.
Lipsia Addi 9 mechanical calculator upcycling lamp
I love antique mechanical calculating machines.
This is a 1930s Addi 9, built by Lipsia in Leipzig. Otto Holzapfel, born 1874 in Kassel, did initially an apprenticeship as a mechanic and founded 1914 the company Lipsia, which is the Latin name for Leipzig, to construct mechanical calculating machines.
1930 this Lipsia Addi 9 (= 9 digits) has been built and used for many years to perform additions and subtractions.
The price at that time was 120 Reichsmark, equivalent to today’s 500 Euro or 620 US-Dollar.
I‘ve integrated a red LED inside and a giant Edison bulb on the side of the calculator. The mechancal calculator still works - a miracle, because after disassembling I had dozens of gears, springs and axles in my hand.
I‘ve upcycled it 2018 to a nice table lamp.
Simpson Electric multimeter upcycling lamp
The measuring device in a military green wooden case has been built by Simpson Electric Co., Chicago in the 1950s. A stamp on the housing indicates that it has been produced for the 22nd US Signal Brigade which was on mission in Korea war from 1951 till 1955.
Now my light object finally serves peaceful purposes.
A little unremarkable are the two very rare neon glow bulbs which I have installed on top of the old military measuring device. These bulbs are General Electric NE-34 built in the 1930s! With AC current the divided electrodes light up alternately 50 times per second. But the bulbs still work after 90 years of time.
An old bakelite socket for this beautiful edison bulb, a dimmer and a reflector from a vintage tanning lamp complete this assemblage.
Microscope upcycling lamp
This antique microscope is almost 100 years old.
I really like the contrast of golden brass and black cast iron. I’ve added a black bakelite socket, a golden Edison bulb, a small neon glow lamp and a golden textile power cord.
And finally the last ingredient, the golden glory of the sunrise - how dramatic.
I built this microscope desk lamp for my sister - she has been working in medical laboratories for many years.
Insulation meter upcycling lamp
In the 20s the electrification has increased more and more until in the 50s almost everything ran on electric power. This antique measuring device has been built in the 1930s and has been used the measure the insulation of electrical installations.
The manufacturer was GBD, Gebr. Bässler, Dresden / Germany an old company founded 1925 by Ernst Bässler.
The wooden box contained a hidden inductor engine, a generator to produce up to 400 volts when you turn the crank handle on the right side.
I installed the magneto top of the box together with brass sockets and beautiful edison filament bulbs.
Siemens & Halske Voltmeter upcycling lamp
This antique Voltmeter has been built in the 1920s by Siemens & Halske in Berlin.
It has a beautiful wooden case.
I illuminated the case with a red LED bulb from the inside. On top I placed a bakelite E27 socket for an Edison filament bulb and added two nice electron tubes.
On the right side I added a dimmer to dim the edison bulb.