Article by Jim Hoyle
Coolies ? Drums ? Bells ? Are we talking Chinese music or lamp shades ?
First we should lay a little ground work for this discussion.
A lamp shade has 3 basic measurements: top width, bottom width and side or slope length. There are
other measurements on complex frames which is another subject.
The most popular shade types and styles are listed below:
1) Empire -
Has a straight sloped side. The shade slope is not
exaggerated but rather at a traditional angle.
2) Bell -
Sides are curved not straight.
3) Drum - Drum shade tall shape >
Drum shade shallow short shape >
A round barrel cylinder shape with straight
side where the top and bottom diameter are near each other crating a near
cylindrical or drum type of shape.
4) Coolie -
A round shape with straight or curved sloped
side. The shade slope is exaggerated due the top diameter being much smaller
than the bottom diameter thus resembling a Chinese coolie hat.
5) Square -
know this one.
6) Rectangular -
Shade is oblong with right angle,
cut or inverted corners.
7) Oval -
Shade is oblong and rounded
8) Hexagon -
9) Octagon - Eight sides - like above with 2 additional sides
10) Cut Corner -
The corners are cut straight across instead of a
11) Inverted Cut Corner -
The corners are cut inward in a curve
instead of a right angle.
12) Inverted Out round Corner -
The corners are rounded outward
in a curve instead of a right angle.
13) Chandelier shades -
Mini shades clip on to a chandelier bulb
14) V Notch -
The top or bottom edge has a "V" shaped design
instead of being straight.
15) Gallery -
The bottom edge has a wide gallery section which
may have a different decorative treatment.
16) Fancy Square -
A square top bell shape with square
bottom where each bottom side has a single out scallop.
17) Bouillotte -
A short drum (or bell drum), named after
the French card game where this lamp and shade had its origin.
18) FLOOR lamp shade = short drum(or bell drum)
also called "Junior" made especially to fit a 6 way 3 arm reflector floor lamp that became popular c 1930.
19) Uno -
The shade "FITTER" is large enough to
slip over or screw over the socket, commonly found on bridge arm floor lamps and
cheap Chinese imports.
20) Mica -
Shades made from real mica which is mined from the
earth and formed into sheets.
21) Wicker -
Made of natural materials (also bamboo, rattan, sea grass).
22) Scallop lamp shades -
Undulating curved top or bottom creating a wavy appearance.
And much more... There are hexagon bells and squares with inverted cut corners. There are V
notch bell drums and most any other combinations of features that you may
It may be obvious that this could go on limited only by our imagination and the makers skill. Then there are custom shades in great variety and
Some say the shade makes the lamp and there is some truth in that. Just do not
begin with an ugly lamp and expect your shade to redeem it !
Good luck on selecting your next lamp shade.
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