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Two very different rooms with the same Kaiser Idell 6556 desk lamp…
…and it looks fabulous in both the boho and more gritty industrial.
I have been under the weather lately, but hoping to get back to my lamp restoration madness soon. I really want sort out those lamps I have sitting in the studio pronto, so I can get my own 6556 up and running…I just love the shape!
As mentioned in a previous post, I am being a little ADHD about my lamp restoration, but am too excited about all these projects to be systematic!
Today’s post is on the third type of lamp that I am currently restoring, the magnificent…the wondrous…. Kaiser, by the prolific Christian Dell.
I managed to get 2 Kaiser Idell 6556s in one fell swoop from a German auction a few weeks back, which was very, very exciting!
Here are a couple of examples of the ones I got from images of mint condition ones online so you can see the shapes side by side:
Though they are the same model number, the cream 6556 has a wider, shallower shade and base, whilst the grey’s shade is narrow/deeper which makes the angle across the bottom more pronounced. This one is my favourite of the two in its proportions.
At one point in its long life, the grey one was black like the example shown above, as you can see the black showing through under the silver. Well, when you can’t see the steel, that is!
It is in need of quite a bit of lovin’. Still deciding what to do with that poor puppy. Thinking I will strip it down to the steel and just polish the metal a bit before sealing and rewiring.
I began my Idell restorations with the cream one, which is only a bit scratched and dinged and still has most of its original paint in good nick.
The facelift started with giving the lamps a once over with sugar soap and scrubbing the bloody h*ll out of them with baking soda to remove scratches.
The ‘before’ shots were tricky to photograph, but it looked like someone had tossed the lamp in with some other metal things (the other lamp, probably!) and the shade and base were both covered with black/grey scratches and one side of the shade had a green paint mark as well.
Here are the before (well, in progress scrubbing, as I remembered to take the shot after a few minutes of work!) and after:
I managed to get ALL of these out with the baking soda and a lot of scrubbing. It was pretty amazing watching it come clean. Highly satisfying. Never underestimate the power of baking soda!
The downside of using the abrasive, which you can see in the shot above, is that it took a couple of layers of paint off – which was great for scratch removal- but dulled the finish to matt. This was easily brought back up to a great shine with some beeswax polish, a soft cloth and more elbow grease.
Check out the shine!
Lastly – checking the electrics. Amazingly this lamp worked perfectly with no loose connections or frayed bits. This is pretty unusual so am guessing it might be newer than I first assumed, or had been rewired.
It was my first introduction to the German wiring colours – black live, red ground, grey neutral. Interesting how every country has its own colour conventions for these, and some, like the UK, have switched them around through the years. Weird. Nice of them to keep it easy for people not to zap themselves!
It was pretty obvious that the black was live, as it was the only wire connected to the switch.
In the end, though all was in working condition, I couldn’t help myself and had to add some fluorescent orange flex to give it a little…oomph.
And here she is (cue angels singing):
Easiest one down, only 4 left to go. Gulp.