Home › Forums › General Discussion › Is it dangerous to wall mount an antique lamp that still has the old wires? › Reply To: Is it dangerous to wall mount an antique lamp that still has the old wires?
Old wiring can be potentially very dangerous.
I had an old (1940s) desk lamp a few years ago. Seemed ok, no cracks or damage to the wiring. When I plugged it in, though, the base of the metal lamp shocked me! Turned out someone had replaced the original cloth covered wire with plastic in the 1960s, but had forgotten to reattach the ground wire. Made the whole lamp “live” with 120v AC current.
If the wiring in your old lamp is cloth covered, you should definitely rewire it. If it’s more modern (plastic covered) you’ll still want to seriously consider replacing the wiring. Old wiring (and old plastic) often has damage that’s hard to see visually, just from age. Sometimes, older lamp wiring can be rated at a much lower amperage than is commonly used today in modern homes. Another reason to update the wiring is to handle the higher amps that modern homes have. Keeping the old, lower amp rated, wiring can sometimes cause the wiring to heat up under higher amperage. You don’t want that.
I’ve found the folks at Logan Hardware very helpful with helping me select the right wiring to replace in some of my vintage lamps. They should be able to help you figure out how to remove the old wiring, too. I’ve had a lot more success talking with staff at the smaller, “mom and pop” hardware stores than the “mega” shops (like Home Depot, etc.) about things like this. My two cents.
I would spend the few bucks to replace the wiring, if only for the peace of mind that goes with it. If you can have an electrician look over your lamp, that might be even better. Better safe than sorry.
Good luck with it!