Having bought 75 vintage industrial lights – all Benjamin pendants, we were pretty sure – what exactly had we got in terms of size and type? To be honest, the lights were so ridiculously filthy, it was hard to tell! We did know we’d got some giant 20-inch RLM reflectors (held by an unseen Nick) as well as a smaller version, and the domed RLM (pictured with Sinead).

So the very first task of the renovation was a good clean with the pressure-washer (Patrick seen here modelling the Karcher). It was quite literally a dirty job and someone had to do it. You have no idea how tiring it gets hefting 75 vintage lights around – those giant Benjamin lights are particularly heavy. Not that we’re complaining as they are a serious find!

They’re now all lined up in the warehouse drying off, in preparation for the renovation proper. The exterior grey enamel, beneath that accumulated black dust, turned out to be near perfect on most every light, and given the glass, the white enamel inside was the same. Some lights have rust issues, which we can treat and polish, but all these lights were still working only two months ago, so the electrical fittings are good to go.

Once the dust had cleared, it turns out that we have:

  • 13 x 20″ grey Benjamin RLMs all with original glass (wow)
  • 18 x 17″ grey Benjamin RLMs, alll bar one or two with original glass
  • 45 x 14″ grey domed… they’re not all Benjamins

Though they all look the same at first glance, we have two types, almost identical but one a little squatter than the other. And from the labels that appeared beneath the dirt, the squatter variety are Crompton Lighting Units, and as it boasts on Crompton’s website, “Crompton Lamps is one of the oldest lamp businesses in the world, founded in 1878”. So that’s nice. And all bar a small number of those have survived with their original glass intact.

Next: our vintage light hoard needs to be dismantled for storage, the galleries treated and polished up, and the aparatus that holds the glass on also rust-treated. Most will require only the customary TLC; there are a couple we’ve spotted that will be harder fish to fry…

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