March 16, 2006
Depression-Era Fixtures and Shades Brought Back to Light
They’re both old and new. They are not antiques, but definitely date back to a bygone era. The glass Shades of Schoolhouse Electric Co. are not reproductions of old gems. Rather they are cast from the original molds creating, in effect, instant classics.
“The molds and designs have been around forever,” explains Schoolhouse Electric Co. general manager Michelle Steinback. Schoolhouse Electric Co. was founded by Brian Faherty, who has years of experience restoring his own homes and working as a real estate broker in historic Portland neighborhoods. “Brian was interested in getting into the period lighting business,” relates Steinback. “While researching the industry, he received a tip about (period lighting) moulds which lead him to rediscovering them in an upstate New York warehouse where they had been put away in storage and essentially forgotten about for over 50 years.”
Faherty scavenged through pallets and salvaged some 100 rest and dirt covered cast iron specimens, which have since been restored. At Schoolhouse Electric Co.’s Portland showroom, “We have examples of the original molds our on display and we try to tell our inspirational story of how we found the moulds and are blowing shades in them again – the exact same way they used to be – to people visiting our showroom for the first time. Consequently, we hope our customers know our shades are younger siblings to the older vintage shades,” explains Steinback.