Antique Bulb Shapes
Antique bulbs have become very popular over the last few years. You can find them in popular restaurants and in the walk-of-shame hallway of Cutthroat Kitchen. Due to their low Lumen output and very warm color temperature, these antique replica bulbs are typically used to add a vintage accent to a room or space. They feature hand-blown glass and exposed filaments which also vary in style, like spiral, squirrel cage, or hairpin. While some people mistakenly refer to all antique bulbs as “Edison bulbs,” antique bulbs actually come in a variety of shapes. Seen a style you like but don’t know how to search for it? This guide will help you make your next lamp fixture an instant classic.
The most popular antique bulb shapes are Edison, Victorian, globe, and chandelier. Edison bulbs are reproductions of Thomas Edison’s first light bulb. It’s easily one of the most recognizable antique bulb shapes. True Edison bulbs have on oblong shape rather than the curves of an A-shaped bulb. These bulbs typically have a medium E26 base and are often used in pendant lighting, clear fixtures, or exposed bulb fixtures. They can be a beautiful addition over your kitchen island. Victorian bulbs are shaped like common household bulbs. They have an A-shape and usually feature an medium E26 or candelabra E12 base. Globe bulbs are round ball shaped bulbs. The actual size of each globe bulb is varied, ranging from G8 to G40 light bulbs. They are frequently used in patio stringers, but don’t expect them to light the entire yard. Because they emit a very warm white light, they should not be used for vanity lights. Chandelier bulbs are often small tapered bulbs with either a straight or bent tip with an E12 base. You can also find Edison or Victorian shaped chandelier bulbs. These bulbs make an excellent addition to chandeliers or wall sconces.
Other less common shapes include radio style bulbs, which recreate the vacuum tubes of classic radios. They are typically around 4 inches tall and often feature a medium E26 base. Tubular bulbs are shaped like the radio style bulbs but are taller, ranging from about 4 to 8 inches. These two shapes are mostly used in pendant lights, chandelier, or custom lighting projects like steam punk lamps.
Oversized bulbs are at least 12 inches tall and can be any shape. They’re a really fun addition to antique pendant lights. Specialty bulbs also have really unique shapes, like lanterns or the hexahedral qualities of a gemstone. They are definitely made to be seen, so use these bulbs in exposed pendant lights or custom lamps.
Remember these bulbs are very dim, often less than 400 Lumens, and are therefore designed to be mostly decorative. So, don’t use only antique bulbs to light a whole room or for task lighting. Instead, use them to add warm, inviting light to a space.