I love the look of these vintage cage lights. I have been seeing them everywhere too. Remodelista featured some great vintage cage lights a couple years ago for a mere $900. Anthropology has some cool "mechanic's beacon lights" for $150. Apartment had a good list of metal cage lights from $43-$3,200. But it just doesn't seem like they should be so expensive. I mean, these are like the simplest wire cage lights that used to be so common back in the 30's. Determined to find a better deal I rolled up my sleeves and started looking.
It was actually a lot harder than I thought. Eventually after searching for a while I was able to find two metal replacement cages that are fairly readily available. The small wire keyless lamp guard (left) for $2.84 and the metal lamp guard (right) for $3.70. Both are available from 1000bulbs.com which looks to be fairly reputable. Grainger has the metal lamp guard too for $6.82 and I know they are legit.
Of course that's just the replacement cage. Keep reading after the jump for the rest of the story....
To make your sweet new $3 cage into an actual light fixture, you are going to need a socket.
In the interest of one stop shopping, 1,000 bulbs has this decent porcelain socket for a cool $1.73. They also have a black candelabra socket that appears to be switched for $1.36 although it looks like it would be a little harder to cover all the wiring on it.
Speaking of wiring. Next thing you need is some good cord to get power to your lovely new light. This is where a little attention to detail will go a long way. To pull of the look you really need to get a nice cloth covered cord. Luckily Sundial Wire seems to have a huge selection of everything from braided to colored or just plain black or brown. I'm no electrician, but I think a 2 wire 18 gauge should do the trick. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Either way all their wire is about $1.30 a foot. Wiring should be pretty straight forward. If you've never done it before, find a friend that has and invite them over for dinner.
To finish it all off you will need a nice Edison style bulb. 1,000 bulbs has you covered there again with a decent selection of vintage bulbs priced between $2 - $12. Buy a couple extra so while you are at it to save on shipping when it burns out.
Total cost: $10.64
Metal cage $2.84
3 ft wire $4.05
1 bulb $2.02
I'm sure there will be some shipping and tax mixed in there, but that is much more reasonable sounding than $150. Plus you get to do a fun project too.
If you are looking to mix it up a little, here are some other cool things I found while searching around.
Two different wire guards from a company called Vator. Price is $5.50 each.
McGill had some of the coolest wire lamp guards I found. I emailed them to try and get pricing but never heard back. I'm sure with a little effort you could get a hold of them and place an order. Based on the nature of the website I would assume pricing is reasonable.
Lastly if you are looking for some better sockets, grandbrass seems to have a good selection. Just keep scrolling.
Pricing seems very reasonable, around $5 each. They even have some pre-wired one if the idea of wiring your own terrifies you.
I've never ordered from any of these stores, so if you decide to take on this project, let us know how it goes. We'd love to see pictures of you finished project too!