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Buyer's Guides - Stiffel Lamps

Stiffel Lamps

Posted on July 10, 2014 by Eric Fulks | 5 comments

Stiffel Table Lamps: An American Tradition

  

Why Stiffel Lamps are the most searched for brand on Google 

 I think that everyone can agree with me when I say that sometimes it is hard to imagine paying $300 OR MORE for a Stiffel table or desk lamp? Am I right?                          

 

Stiffel Lamps Brass Vintage

 

Well I will show you exactly why you should invest in Stiffel Lamps today, or why someone else did, and how to take care of the Stiffel Lamps you now own.

 

 

 

So back to paying $300 for a lamp. It's hard for me to imagine paying so much for a lamp, but then again I never thought I would be paying over $1,000 for a memory foam mattress or $200 for a pair of designer jeans. But why did I?

In our disposable society, we forget how paying a premium for quality items allows us to use fewer things because we don't have to throw them out when they inevitably wear out in a few months. Sadly, many people stop analyzing and thinking about the true lifetime value of what they are shopping for, and especially when it comes to lighting. A lamp is a lamp, right? Or is it?

Is the bottom line the only factor in purchasing a lamp, or should the materials and quality of an item play a part. Is there more to why The Stiffel Lamps Company has been made and treasured in America for over 80 years?

 

Below you will find every reason to not only invest in a Stiffel Lamp or Stiffel Lamp Set but how to care for that lamp so that it lasts for generations. 

Stiffel Lamps and Why We Wrote this Article

The Stiffel Lamp Company is embedded in American History and Tradition and many people hand down Stiffel Lamps from generation to generation. So we asked ourselves, "What do the people want to know about the company in the present day, as well as its history and man that founded Stiffel all the way back in 1932?"

When we set out to write this guide we wanted it to be the most comprehensive, centralized piece of information on the internet regarding all things having to do with Stiffel Lamps:

  • the Stiffel Lamp Company - its history, values, products and processses
  • Its current products like the classic Stiffel brass lamps
  • Vintage Stiffel lamps and how to spot them
  • The one stop shop to provide answers to all of your Stiffel Lamp questions.

 

So just below will be a quick links reference list of topics we discuss regarding all things Stiffel Lamps. If you know what you are looking for, click on one and get your answer right away, or if you want to know everything there is to know about Stiffel Table Lamps and why LampsUSA values them so much, then read the whole article. 

What to Expect From This Post:

  1. Why Invest in a Stiffel Lamp over some other Brand?
  2. What is the history behind the founding of Stiffel?
  3. Which Stiffel Lamps are right for my room?
  4. Should I clean my Stiffel Lamp Shade or get a Stiffel Replacement Lampshade?
  5. How do I clean my vintage or antique Stiffel Lamps?
  6. What is my vintage Stiffel Lamp's Value?

 

Don't Settle For a Lamp When You Can Have Luxury

Stiffel Room LampSUSAStiffel Lamps are not just lamps like any other lamp. They are truly pieces of art that function to not only light a room but act as decoration and many lovers of Stiffel Lamps will plan their interior design around their favorite lamp set or Stiffel table lamps or floor lamp. 

While other companies find cheap work arounds that compromise the quality and longevity (not to mention aesthetics) of their products Stiffel adheres to time tested methods of designing and producing each piece of art, they call a Stiffel Lamp, by hand.

 

 

It takes up to a week, from pouring the initial cast to polishing off the last imperfection, to make the perfect product to get the Stiffel Lamps Seal.  

 

Whether it be a Stiffel Antique Brass 3 Way Table Lamp, (pictured below)

Stiffel Brass Lamps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or their new line of Stiffel's take on contemporary and modern floor, desk or table lamps, you can rest assured that you will love your new Stiffel Lamps.

But if for some crazy reason the lamp or lamps set you choose isn't EXACTLY what you wanted, LampsUSA will let you return or exchange them. No. Questions. Asked.

So when you make the decision to treat yourself to Stiffel Table Lamps or desk lamps or a Stiffel Brass Table Lamp, you know that you are getting a lifetime of quality and design that no other brand comes close to.

Watch this short video made by LampsUSA if you want to know about the Stiffel Difference.

 

 

You treat yourself to a Stiffel Lamp because you know that true quality and craftsmanship coupled with unparalleled design is not something that everyone truly appreciates. Owners of Stiffel Lamps pride themselves on not only recognizing beauty but truly appreciating it. The founder of the Stiffel Lamps Company made designer lamps in 1932 when interior design wasn't a job, and lights were meant to keep a room lit.

As if that is not enough today, sadly, still many lamps are meant to simply keep a room lit. They are cheap, plastic light holders. Stiffel Lamps can light a room without their patented Stiffel switch even turned on because they are crafted with design and purpose. Stiffel lamps are meant to be seen and prized, because they contain an attention to detail not found in big box store cheapo lamps.

Just like my mattress and jeans, they can appear to be overpriced, but when you consider that I get over 10 years of use out of them, well, then the jeans are only $20 a year and that becomes a bargain because quality and craftsmanship always outlast a good deal at Big Lots!  

You wouldn't believe me if I told you a Stiffel Table Lamp for only $300 ends up costing less than $6 a year when you factor in a lifetime of use!  Their value only skyrockets when you remember that many families pass down Stiffel Lamps as heirlooms for generations.

 

 The Stiffel Lamps Company History

Stiffel Lamps Company History

 The Stiffel Lamp Company has a unique history and a place in Americans hearts since its humble beginnings in 1932. Before Stiffel Lamps, if you wanted a luxury, designer lamp that was not just functional you had only one company to go to, Tiffany. Today there are many "designer" lighting companies but none with the history that the Stiffel Lamps Company has.

There are many reasons to be interested in the history of Stiffel Lamps beyond just being a history buff:

  • Maybe you own Stiffel Lamps
  • are researching into investing in a Stiffel Table Lamp or Desk Lamp
  • Maybe someone in your family really valued their Stiffel Lamps and left them for you but
  • You are searching for the actual dollar value of your Stiffel Lamps that you own or were passed on to you (we have just the person for you!)
  • Perhaps you need to make a decision on whether to clean your Stiffel Lampshade or opt to upgrade to a new Stiffel Lamp Shade Replacement. 

Regardless of why you are researching the history of the Stiffel Lamps Company, you will find your answers here. 

Ted Stiffel started the Stiffel Lamps Company back in 1932 when  it was quite a risk to start making designer lamps and lighting products when almost no one else was doing it.

 

Even though Ted Stiffel no longer runs the show today, all Stiffel Lamps are still hand crafted and designed to be a unique piece of art. From the tiniest details, like a stamp on the top of the lampshade metal, to the hand polishing to finish the lamp base, Stiffel Lamps are made like no other lamp and look like no other lamp. 

Stiffel Lamps did well early on, but during WWII they started making bolts for the war effort until the government contracts dried up. After the war, Ted Stiffel went back to doing what he does best, designing and manufacturing high quality, one-of-a-kind lamps. 

Today the tradition carries on, although not in Chicago, but in New Jersey. In a 40,000 square foot facility, each Stiffel Lamp is still made in the tradition of its founder. You can find a full article by a lighting magazine about Cutting Edge Bringing Back the Stiffel Lamps Brand Here.

A quote taken directly from Stiffel Lamps websites on how the new will merge with the old:

"The new Stiffel line will be targeted toward lighting showrooms and high-end shops as opposed to the mass merchants that had ended up distributing the brand through its last days at retail. “The lamps will have solid brass sockets and feature high-quality plating,” Filler explains. The initial product launch will be inspired by Stiffel designs of the past. “Wherever we can re-introduce original designs, we will,” Filler notes, adding, “We’re also going to roll with the times and offer some more contemporary styles.”

Check out this video below of the Stiffel Lamps factory to get an inside look at how the process works today:

 Stiffel even had to sue Sears and Roebuck  a long time ago and by1964 it went all the way to the Supreme Court!

How to Choose the Perfect Stiffel Lamps for your Room

 When re-designing a room or choosing a table lamp for your room and you are planning on investing a lot into the room you want to make sure you get the right lamp with the right look.

Luckily for you, if you decide to get your Stiffel Lamps or Lamp Shades from LampsUSA then you can always rest assured because we offer:

So if you don't get it right the first time LampsUSA will stick with you until you find exactly the right Stiffel Lamps for whatever room you are searching for. Give us a call and our expert staff will help you find the perfect Stiffel Table or Floor Lamp for your room.

 

Stiffel Table Lamps: The Classic Touch

Stiffel Lamps are known best for the traditional stylings and classic touches, like the always popular Stiffel Brass Table Lamp or the Stiffel 3-Way Table Lamp Antique Brass. The 3 way lamp is pictured below and the Brass Lamps well I will show a few pictures:

 Stiffel Brass Table LampBrass Stiffel LampAntique Brass 3 way Stiffel Lamps

 

If your room, whether a living room, family room, dining room or office,  has classic stylings and maybe other vintage paintings, furniture, sculptures or antiques, then classic or traditional Stiffel Lamps will suit your room best. We have seen many rooms that have art collections and furniture from around the world and they are accented perfectly by Stiffel Lamps. 

Stiffel Lamps Get Casual for All Types

While Stiffel is best known for its traditional Stiffel brass lamps or its classic stylings, they have recently branched out and started to produce more casual styles.

 It gets better if you are a minimalist or lover of  modern art and design. If you are designing a room that has a new look or a ore modern feel to it, like something with clean lines and minimalist stylings then Stiffel has started making some table lamps like the Stiffel 3-Way Table Lamp Polished Nickel casual design lamps. The Stiffel Lamps company are working on designing more and more contemporary and modern looking/feeling table lamps, floor lamps and lamp shades to match. 

 

Contemporary Table Lamps That Bring Bold Designs to Old Names

The Stiffel Lamps Company has a huge selection of contemporary style table lamstiffel-lamps-contempo-3-way-1-light-table-lamp-gun-metal lampsusaps.

A perfect example of a Stiffel contemporary table lamp that can be mixed and matched to fit any style of home or even individual room that has a more contemporary feel. is the 29" h Contempo 3-Way 1-Light Table Lamp Gun Metal color. To the right is a picture of this unique design and amazing lamp:

 

 

 

 

 

 

From this amazing gun metal color to the various types of nickel colors from polished nickel to antique nickel. Below are two types of nickel that are described above. Click on the pictures to go to that specific contemporary table lamp or any of the above links to go to the general Stiffel Lamps contemporary table lamp page.

polished nickel stiffel lamps lampsusa

 

Beyond Styles: Colors, Shades and Sizes

LampsUSA is always looking for ways to make it easier for you to find the perfect Stiffel Lamps for your home to create the perfect look. Whether you are searching for the right style, size or color then LampsUSA has you covered. Check out this simple menu:

So you can narrow down your selection by whatever means you would like:

  • Style
  • Color
  • Shade Color
  • Brand
  • Height
  • and more...

 Use the menu pictured above to narrow down your search on any page but specifically from the main Stiffel Lamps page. 

 

Stiffel Lamp Shades Clean or Replace?

 You know we have all faced this problem with some item that we cherish and maybe others don't get it but to us this item, in this case your Stiffel Lamps, need to be cleaned and made to look like new or it is out with the old and in with something you are not sure you will like!

So how do we save your favorite Stiffel Lamps? Fortunately, because of the high quality materials used and careful construction of Stiffel Lamp Bases, the shade themselves will war out long before the lamps themselves. 

The answer is actually a lot easier than you think. So I have one product that I believe will solve 85%+ of the Stiffel lamp shade problems that Stiffel Lamps owners are running into. I will deal with the other 15% in just a minute. 

Clean Your Stiffel Lamp Shade Damage Free

I am about to introduce you to the single most simple interior design secret out their for cleaning and restoring any dirty or used, but especially vintage and antique, lampshades. It is called the Sparkle Plenty LampShade Cleaner!

sparkle plenty lampshade cleaner lampsusa

Here are a few quick tips from the Sparkle Plenty Page:

 

  • Always use Lampshade Cleaner dry- do not use wet.
  • Rub LSC only in one direction over the surface and watch it eat dirt, dust, and pet hair!
  • when both sides are dirty, simply wash out with water only and let dry completely- then re-use again
  • LSC will be good for approximately 20 washings
  • KEEP OUT OF SUNLIGHT
  •  

    Stiffel LampShade Replacements Are Available

    Previously , ifyour Stiffel Lamp Shade got ripped or just plain got worn out then you had to either have some vintage professional lampshade guru fix or repair your damaged lampshade or your had to get a lamp shade that came close to matching your Stiffel Lamps.

    Stiffel Replacement LampShade LampsUSAStiffel Replacement Lamp SHade for LampsUSAOfficial Real Stiffel Lamps Replacement Lampshade LampsUSAStiffel Lamp SHade

    Well with the introduction of official Stiffel Replacment Lampshades you can now replace your old, vintage or damaged Stiffel Lamp Shade with an authentic, made by the Stiffel Lamps Company themselves, lampshade. 

    LampsUSA is currently in the process of adding the new Stiffel Replacement Lamp Shades to our site so either check back or ask and we can special order for you. Just say to make Eric do it :-)

     How to safely clean your vintage and new Stiffel Lamps?

    While we sell a lot of new Stiffel Lamps and Stiffel Table Lamps made of many of the same materials as the originals were made we are not professional restoration experts. We found a few answers that might help you but we highly suggest you talk to a restoration expert. 

    • Here is a link on cleaning and restoring specifically Stiffel Brass Lamps
    • On the website Finshing.com there is a whole thread dedicated to cleaning and restoring vintage and antique Stiffel Table and Floor Lamps. Below are some snippits:
    • "You can clean  brass by using paint remover (If it has a protective coating). Brass is brass. Then polish it to the luster you prefer and respray it with clear lacquer or clear enamel. There are many brass polishes out there that you can use."
    • " When the pitting starts, you should just rub #0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] lightly to take the chalkiness out and re-lacquer. If there are dark brown or black spots, well, you're out of luck. You would have to replate the lamps which is expensive. It is usually less expensive to purchase new solid brass lamps." We don't know much about replating but we do know that many vintage and antique stiffel floor lamps, desk lamps, table lamps and lamps sets sell on Ebay and Etsy for a small fortune. Just click on the Ebay or Etsy name to see for yourself. 
    • Words of advice on cleaning and it has to do with maintenance " The best way to keep Stiffel lamps for long period of time is to maintain them. Using Pledge furniture polish is good. It creates a vapor barrier so the air will not get to the metal and it protects the lacquer. If you spill something on it wipe it off immediately. If you live on the shore, Good Luck!"
    • Final words and while they are long they are worth the read " Tarni-shield copper and brass polish will work but requires a lot of rubbing. There are probably many products as effective as the Gillespie.
      The Stiffel is formed out of zinc, plated with nickel, polished, and then electroplated with brass. If the brass plating is reduced too much the nickel will be exposed (i.e., trying to remove pits). To restore the lamp to original if this occurs will require that it is re-electroplated (I called Stiffel when it was still producing lamps and was quoted a price of $160 apiece).
      Tarni-shield does work good for removing tarnish and Brasso [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] does a good final polishing job. Wood polishes that contain ammonia will initiate the pitting in the brass by creating holes in the lacquer and allowing moisture and air to wick to the brass and cause corrosion. Resealing the brass is necessary to prevent accelerated corrosion. Some waxes work for a long time but with a little practice there are spray finish products that can be used to produce a finish effectively similar to the original."

     

     Seriously What is the "Old "Vintage"" Stiffel Lamps Value?

    There are a lot of factors that go into determining the value of Vintage Stiffel Lamps or if you just have one then lamp. How old is it? Was there another designer involved because if it were designed by Tommi Parzinger during the Mid-Century Modern period then it would be worth considerably more than a Stiffel Lamp from another period. 

    At Justcollecting.com when discussing Vintage Stiffel Lamps they are said to rarely hit auction houses and only usually go for between $100 and $500. Not bad for a lamp used for a lifetime but if you were looking to strike it rich off Grandmas lamp then you better start looking elsewhere. 

    Of course they also state "On June 12th 2011 at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, New Jersey, a pair of Stiffel table lamps, designed by Tommi Parzinger in the 1960s, realised a price of $2,500."

    So who knows maybe you can make a little off a vintage stiffel lamp

    If eBay or Etsy are any clue then just check out the prices for various Stiffel Lamps on eBay and then head over to Etsy. Click anywhere it says eBay or Etsy to go to the pricing that people are asking!

    Below is a checklist to go over to help you determine if spending the time to find the vintage Stiffel Lamps Value is worth it.

     

    • Condition
    • Model Number
    • Visibility of Stiffel Lamps engravings, markings or stamps 
    • Year of Production?
    • How many are currently on the market? (Check Ebay, Etsy and other online vintage sites like this)
    • Do all the pieces still work and are they original?
    • Have you had it appraised or insured (sometimes the insurance will do the appraising)?
    • Is it old or vintage?
    • Does it have anything special about it?

    Final Thoughts on Stiffel Lamps and Stiffel Table Lamps (from vintage to new to renewing to rejuvenating a room or replacing a lampshade)

    If you came to this blog looking for ways to fix an old Stiffel Lamp then maybe you should take a look at what they have to offer now. Whether you just have a Siffel Floor Lamp you love or have three rooms with Stifffel Table Lamps Sets there is always room for more beauty and quality in every home. We hope that you learned something, whether it was about your Stiffel Lampshade or how to figure out the vintage Stiffel Lamps value or if you found a new style of Stiffel Table Lamps you just have to own then this blog has been a success. Join our newsletter for updates on more brands, trends and to know when we have special sales just for our email subscribers. And if you haven't found what you are looking for then click below.

     

     

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      Comments

      • Sharon

        Hello and thank you for all of the great information.

        My (2) Stiffel Brass Lamps were recently acquired at an estate sale auction for $30.00 + tax/fees. I did not even notice any markings while bidding – I just liked the lamps! After getting them home and giving them the once over, I saw various markings.

        They are marked “Stiffel” around the light bulb base fixture, and on the top of the brass on each lamp shade, along with a Stiffel sticker label on each shade. The on/off switch knob has an “S” on it. There are “Made in China” sticker labels on the bottom base of the lamp – no Stiffel markings directly on the felt bottom. There are also two other stickers on the bottom. One has 03/25 and the other has SLT1598PBSB.

        I have the feeling that these could beknockoffs, unless Stiffel has started manufacturing in China, which would be sad…

        Anyways, just inquiring as to what you can tell me about value and verification. I did take some pictures but did not see how to attach here.

        Thanks in advance for any help – much appreciated.

        Sharon
        sparadiso1@gmail.com

      • Dan

        I found a Hollywood regency pineapple stiffel brass lamp at an antique shop. It reminded me of the 2 my grandmother had. I am curious as to what it’s worth. It is sentimental so I want to keep it. I have been looking for another one to match. This one has the 3 way switch just above the base of the lamp and not on the socket like the ones I have found online. My grandmother’s lamps had the switch on the socket. I would appreciate any info. Thanks.

      • Elaine Murphy

        I have two matching tall table brass Stiffel lamps for over 50 years now. Over time they turned and darkened in color.
        Question: How do I clean them so they will shine and be back to their brilliant bass color?

      • rosetta leddesma

        I worked for TED Stiffel in Chicago till2000 when thy closed down on 43thd and mORGAN IT WAS A GREAT PLACE TO WORK i WAS WITH THEM FOE 29 YEARS WAS SO SAD WHEN THY CLOSED love the lamps glade to see that thy are still out there

      • Keira

        I have brass Stiffel lamps, two very large (just under 3 feet tall) table lamps and a matching hanging swag. All with a urn swirl style barrel design mid lamp and thick base on table lamps. Beautiful lamps over 30 years old. I have an idea of the value of the lamps but I can’t find these very lamps on any site but would like to.

       

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