There is a story behind this antique light. It has sat in a garage, moved across thousands of miles, and just sat there waiting for the day I would hang it. By my guesstimate, it is at least 51 years old and it hung on my husband’s family farm for many years illuminating the front of the old run down machine shed. 18 years ago, the machine shed had to be torn down (shortly after we were married) because another neighbor had bought the acreage it sat on many years before.
I had my husband at the time remove the light because I thought it was cool and it was a piece of my husband’s past. A reminder that we could carry with us of his heritage and his parents’ humble beginnings. I have wanted to hang this light for years but living in the suburbs I felt it would not work in our current home. However, over the past months I have longed to hang the light over the deck and thought of how I could do it.
I used to have low voltage lights in the back yard but the transformer died and so I put in solar lights. The problem with solar lights is that they do not last all night. Lighting up the deck and back yard had become an obsession with me and recently an urgency. You are probably wondering ‘urgency’ and I reluctantly write about my ruined rug from my little Gerdy Mae (my Jack/Fox Terrier) who has after 4 years decided to urinate on the living room rug. I was horrified because having a dog or cat urinating or defecating in the house is unacceptable to me. Knowing she has severe separation anxiety when I leave her (and she does have a playmate our 3 year old Australian Shepherd) I knew that there was a reason she was doing this. We threw out the room size rug in the living room and I cleaned the floors. The wood floors were not damaged and so I put down the throw rug for the cord and hoped that this was the end.
After several nights I came to the conclusion she is afraid of the dark. Yes, she is afraid of the dark. The night she peed on the rug, the moon was not out which makes the back yard pitch black. At that point, the light bulb went off! The old shed light would work perfect over the deck (doggy door exits onto deck).
I had some ideas and it involved an old heavy duty extension cord, some sort of bracket to hang high up, and how to make it with a motion sensor. I also wanted it only to go on and off at night and I did not want to have to remember to plug it in every night. I actually had a new outdoor timer from years ago I had bought on clearance that I knew would be perfect for this light. I mentioned to my husband what I wanted t and so he agreed to help me since I am not one to climb up a 20 foot ladder.
What is cool about this whole project is that through 18 years of handling, moving across the country, and not being used in years the light bulb works! It is not a regular light bulb either. It has a very large base and it is probably about 2 or maybe 300 watts! It is cool but I am going to be looking for a LED replacement soon. Since we are not planning on staying in this home for more than a year, I did not want to wire the light directly. I also decided I was going to use one of the many outdoor extension cords we have had hanging in the garage. Having this light on a timer or a motion detector was important so I would not have to leave a 200+ watt light on all night in the back yard. Since we have cats and dogs coming and going all day and night (the cats are housebroke and go outside), I knew the antique light would go perfect above the patio door and grill area.
This light is made to go up at least 20 feet but we could not get it any higher than about 15′ on the back of the house over the deck. It lights up most of the back yard which is what the goal was. My hubby is glad he helped me get it up and I love it because I can turn the motion sensor off and keep the light on to work in the back yard after dark!
I know many people may wonder why not spray paint but my answer is this: this is a sentimental piece with history. I have always tried to keep a piece close to original to preserve the history and beauty of age. I admit I get emotionally attached to pieces. I put the directions for how we wired the antique light with a motion sensor at the end. I believe I am going to convert a couple more lights with notion sensors too.
I hope you enjoyed my little project and if you have a light that is just ‘hanging around’ then this may get your creative juices flowing. I hope I gave enough information to get you started. I think I will do a post just on electrical tips. What do you think?
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2015 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @ The Garden Frog Boutique
I make no express warranty or safety on this #DIY project. (Just my experience that this works)