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Vintage Lighting

Retrospective lighting, lovingly restored, Trainspotters offer large runs of vintage lighting for any project size.

Vintage lighting runs through us like Blackpool through a stick of rock. Since the early 2000’s we’ve played a leading role in developing the vintage industrial lighting aesthetic.

It’s hard now to remember the time when we were pretty much the only ones doing this, but we were. Back then the vintage market was uninspiring. The ‘vintage’ lighting that existed was either poor quality cost-driven repro or the odd firm doing out of fashion Victoriana.

It was an exciting time, scouring the UK and beyond for industrial factory shades, glass pendant lights from old Welsh chapels, vintage street lighting from France, articulated wall lights from abandoned mental asylums. There was a lot of driving, endless morning trips to Antique fairs in northern England, many exciting finds but also some bumps in the road. A big learning curve was the restoration process.

It’s one thing sourcing and buying a reclaimed vintage light but quite another refurbishing it to look amazing and work safely. It took some years to perfect our techniques to the point where we are now confident that we offer our vintage lights re-wired, tested and restored to the very highest standards.

Trainspotters now illuminate an array of projects around the world, from casinos in Vegas and hotels in Manhattan to beach houses in Australia and fashion outlets in Tokyo. We’ve built up a wide network of sources over the years and will now be expanding our vintage range as sustainability becomes an important factor in new projects.

Our love affair with vintage continues.

Why buy vintage lights?

Because it brings instant character and authenticity to your space.

Reclaimed vintage lights inject a unique feel and quality to an interior scheme that new lighting struggles to do. And they almost bring a story with them, a history of use that is ingrained in the look and the patina. The people that made the lights we offer were driven by older-world values of quality and integrity and it shines through in the detail of every light fitting that they produced.

Why make a light badly when you can make it well? A question many cost-driven modern lighting manufacturers may ask themselves.

Where can I use vintage lighting?

Generally, vintage lights are used as feature pieces, as eye-catchers that create style and atmosphere.

In private homes, our vintage pendant lights are often used over kitchen island counters or as feature lights over dining tables. In these areas you can be bold, go for what you like and don’t be afraid of going big! We also supply a lot of vintage to shops, bars, restaurants, co-working spaces and hotels. In these spaces, this type of lighting is a powerful beast, bringing instant style, atmosphere and integrity to space and endorsing the product being sold accordingly.

How do you fit vintage lights?

In the same way as you would any other light, using a qualified electrician.

It might be tempting to get up the ladder and give it a go yourself but we would strongly recommend that fitting our vintage pendant and wall lighting is definitely left to the professionals.

Are there any electrical issues using vintage lighting?

In short, no.

There are no compatibility issues as we re-wire all of our lights with standard modern electrics and test to CE & BSEN standards. When it comes to the electrics you can think of our vintage fittings in the same way as any modern light you might buy off-the-shelf. We are also able to bespoke wire our vintage lighting to other specifications, suitable for DALI or other dimming systems for example. Please just ask us.

What about ongoing vintage light maintenance?

Our lights were built to last and they should have many decades of life to go in them. It’s all about the quality, and our lights don’t disappoint.

Future maintenance on our fittings should be limited to the occasional bulb change, very occasional if you use LED bulbs and the odd wipe down with a slightly damp cloth. Please do make sure that the light is turned off when bulb changing or cleaning.

Do vintage lights have a big carbon impact?

This is a very important issue to us and a driving principle of our business.

Happily, the carbon footprint of vintage fittings is limited only to the restoration work that goes into them. Re-use is king, and pretty much the number one thing you can do to mitigate carbon emissions. In purchasing a vintage wall or pendant light you make a stand against the throw-away culture we currently inhabit. You get quality and character but you also get to save a beautiful object from landfill and give it a new life.

Re-use at its best. Read more about our environmental policy here

Can I use LED bulbs in my vintage light?

Yes, and we would positively recommend it. We supply a small range of high-quality TALA bulbs and there’s a wide array of LED’s bulbs available from other suppliers. Clients generally use dimmable LED bulbs which are available in different colour temperatures for mood setting. Dimmable versions are good if your light is on a dimmer switch. There’s no reason to use anything other than LED bulbs these days, they are way more energy-efficient and just as stylish as the old bulbs – sometimes more so.

On a technical note, you just need to make sure that the bulb you use fits the available space in the light. This is more of an issue with enclosed vintage wall lights than it is with vintage pendant lighting.

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