This is a quick and easy build I did with parts lying around my apartment.
I'm fortunate enough to live in a big city, in a highly populated neighborhood, where people throw away often very re-useable things on regular basis.
I have a soft spot in my heart for old lamps, and often have trouble letting them make that final trip to the landfill. Inspired by some of the wonderful Steampunk creations I've seen on Instructables.com, I decided to create my own Steampunk-style lamp, which I have affectionately named Lanterna Antiga, Portuguese for "Old Lamp."
I named this project in honor of my Brazilian father-in-law, who's a brilliant engineer and architect and loves to create things. In trying to describe the whole Steampunk aesthetic to him, he came up with what I thought was a brilliant, if simplified, description of Steampunk. Loosely translated from the Portuguese, this was: "Something new in antique clothes."
Step 1: Find an Old Lamp
I found this beautiful old brass lantern-style lamp in the trash outside my building. I have no way of knowing if it started out it's life as a oil lantern, and was retrofitted for electrical by an inspired tinkerer of a by-gone era, or if it was actually created as an electrical lamp in the first place. Either way, it was certainly a beautiful antique that didn't belong in a landfill!
I particularly like the old Victorian-style key, which would have been used to raise the wick, but now serves as a switch!
If you have an old oil lamp you'd like to convert to electric, there's a fine 'ible here: "Convert old oil lamp to electrical."
And if you have brazing or welding skills and tools, you could probably make something like this with an oil lamp and old brass candle stick
Step 2: Clean Lamp
My lamp had years a grunge and grime on it, so I took a light cloth was some mild soapy water to it, and then buffed it a bit with a jewler's cloth.
Step 3: Paint Fluorescent Bulb
I'm not a big fan of these new fluorescent bulbs, especially as a primary source of illumination, but I thought this bulb gave a great "mad scientist" look to this lamp.
The only real "work" I did on this build was to add a few strokes of gold paint to the white plastic base of the bulb, to make it blend in with the lamp a bit better.
Step 4: Make a Pasta Dinner
One reason I never used this lamp before was it doesn't take a standard lamp shade, and it had a very large space on top, which I'm sure at one time had a very delicate tear-drop shaped, fluted chimney. I don't have one of those, and if I did, would be afraid of breaking it.
But I realized this space was exactly the same size as the mouth of mason jar I had leftover from a pasta dinner!;-)
So make yourself some pasta, with your sauce of choice, as long a s it comes in a fancy mason jar.
Then of course clean thoroughly!
Step 5: Assemble Parts
This wasn't rocket science. And not nearly as involved, creative or laborious as some of the fantastic Steampunk projects I've seen on Instructables.
But I thought there were a few interesting elements here worth sharing, as my gift to the Steampunk mad scientists out there.
Behold Lanterna Antiga!