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All About Our Lamp Parts, Pendants, and Cord Sets

 

Sockets

Sockets come in different qualities and constructions. We carry heavy (3.2 ounce) cast brass sockets and mid-weight (1.5 ounce) solid brass sockets. 

All of the sockets we sell work well with all of our 2- and 3-conductor 18- and 16-gauge cloth-covered wires. We also provide instructions on how to wire a socket using cloth-covered wire.

All qualities of sockets come in black, brass, and nickel finishes.  The 4-piece sockets also come in dark antique brass.

Socket Types

3-Piece Solid Brass Sockets

material and weight

Solid brass sockets are made of solid brass, which is then polished or coated with a nickel or bronze finish. They weigh 1.5 ounces. An aluminum (low-quality) socket weighs 0.8 ounces. A cast brass (high-quality) socket weighs 3.2 ounces.

construction and use

3-piece sockets are made up of the interior, which is the piece to which the wires are screwed on and into which the bulb is screwed, the cap, the bottom of the socket, where the wire enters, and the housing, which covers the interior for cosmetic reasons as well as to insulate the conductive parts of the socket.

The socket is opened and closed by squeezing the housing, which is crimped at the bottom, into and out of the cap. You must be careful to fully seat the housing into the cap to ensure the socket does not come apart.

4-Piece Cast Brass Sockets

material and weight

4-piece brass sockets are made of stamped solid brass, which is then polished or coated with a black, nickel, or dark antique brass finish. They weigh 3.2 ounces. An aluminum (low-quality) socket weighs 0.8 ounces. A solid brass (medium-quality) socket weighs 1.5 ounces.

construction and use

4-piece sockets are made up of the interior, which is the piece to which the wires are screwed on and into which the bulb is screwed, the cap, the bottom of the socket, where the wire enters, and the housing, which covers the interior for cosmetic reasons as well as to insulate the conductive parts of the socket, and a ring, which screws down to secure the housing to the cap.

The socket is opened and closed by unscrewing the ring, which separates the housing, which is not crimped at the bottom, from the cap. This construction provides a very stable and very attractive alternative to the solid brass socket.

Bakelite Sockets

material

Bakelite sockets are no longer made of Bakelite because its production requires formaldehyde, a very toxic substance. Instead they are made of phenolic, another plastic.

construction and use

Bakelite sockets are 3-piece sockets, made up of the interior, which is the piece to which the wires are screwed on and into which the bulb is screwed, the cap, the bottom of the socket, where the wire enters, and the housing, which covers the interior for cosmetic reasons as well as to insulate the conductive parts of the sockets.

However, unlike the 3-piece brass sockets, the Bakelite housing screws into the cap, providing an easy-to use, attractive, and stable socket.

Socket Switch Types

Keyless Sockets

Keyless sockets have no way of being turned on and off on the socket.  To turn the light off, you will have to have a cord switch, have it connected to a wall switch, or unplug it.

Push-Through Switch Sockets

Push-through sockets have a small bar going through the socket.  Pushing the longer side of the bar turns the light on or off.

On/Off Turn Knob Sockets

On/off turn knob sockets come with a knob that turns the light on and off by clicking in one direction or the other.

Dimmer Switch Sockets

Dimmer switch sockets come with a turn-knob that looks exactly like an on/off turn knob. As you turn the knob one direction, the lamp gets brighter.  When you turn it in the other direction the lamp dims and eventually turns off.

UNO-Threaded Sockets

Most of our four-piece sockets come with or without UNO threads. UNO threads are of a standard size which has been around for a very long time.  These threads allow  for a shade to be screwed onto the threads, if the shade has UNO threads inside the ring in its metal support, or for a shade-support ring to be screwed on below the shade to secure it.  Sundial has shade support rings to fit all of our UNO sockets and that match the finishes of those sockets.

Some of our Bakelite sockets also have threading, but it is not UNO threading.  In other words, an UNO shade or ring will not thread onto these sockets.  We do offer Bakelite rings that provide shade support for these sockets.

Securing a Shade to a Socket

For a table lamp, you will need a harp to sit on top of the lamp to support the shade and a finial to screw the shade to the harp.  You can see information on what size shade and, therefore, harp to use in the description on our harps product.  Alternatively, you can use a clip-on shade, where the shade clips onto the bulb.

For a pendant light, you will need a shade that has UNO threading and can screw directly onto a UNO socket, or a clamp-on or UNO shade holder, both of which use three screws to hold the shade.

Plugs

The one thing that needs to be said about plugs is that a three-prong plug should NEVER be used with two-conductor wire.  A two-prong plug can be used with three-conductor wire if the ground (green) wire is clipped and left unused on both ends of the wire.

Cord Sets

A cord set is a wire with a plug installed on one end and the wires on the other end stripped and ready to be connected to a light or appliance.

Pendants

A pendant is a wire with a socket on one enc and either a plug installed on the other end or the wires stripped and ready to be hard-wired to the ceiling.

Our pendants are fully customizable.  You can pick any length, any wire, any of the sockets, and any plug or no plug.

Wiring Instructions

See our How-To pages for instructions on wiring sockets, plugs, and switches.