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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Vintage Woes: Where are those frosted flame tips?

The normally routine task of replacing a light bulb for old fixtures has turned complicated for The Eastsider. Visits to the usual suspects – Home Depot, Target and Do It Best Hardware in Highland Park – have failed to turn up a frosted flame tip bulb with a wide base and a warm, incandescent glow. Where did they go? The Eastsider, facing a dim future as the bulbs burn out, called in historic preservationist Nicole Possert for help.

By Nicole Possert

Finding replacement light bulbs for historic light fixtures can sometimes be a vexing problem, especially when the local stores seem to no longer carry the product.  After looking high and low, here’s some handy tips on the latest and greatest in replacement light bulbs, at least for the frosted flame tip.

For initial research, the website of locally-based manufacturer Feit Electric Company proved extremely helpful to get a handle on both the various types of bulbs and a full range of different technologies now available for light. The choices are more complex than just replacing a simple bulb today – do you want good old-fashioned incandescent or today’s “green” energy-saving CFL or LED options?  This fun, colored temperature illustration makes for a quick assessment of information that’s helpful in final product selection.

For Eastsiders, the nearest local retail outlet for frosted flame tips was Costco in Atwater Village. Feit’s Conserv-energy brand CFL is available in a 6-unit pack for $15.42.  The packages information indicates it will generate 40w of light but use only 7w of energy and last 8,000 hours.

Feit also makes an LED version, and LED technology is supposed to be the most efficient light technology available today. Bed, Bath & Beyond sells this product for $7.99 each but the nearest store is either Hollywood, Pasadena or Rosemead.

Good old-fashioned incandescent bulbs are the hardest to locate locally. That search came up dry, so far.  You can order them online from BulbsUSA for 79 cents each for 60 watts of light. No energy savings here but it’ll be closest to natural candle light of yore.

Got an Eastside source of incandescent flame tips? Let us know by posting a comment to this story.

* Update: Silly me, overlook the obvious! Two of the longest running hardware operations on the Eastside – Garvanza Hardware and Eagle Rock Lumber & Hardware – both carry incandescent frosted flame tips for sale (see selection below).  And, they carried both the “candelabra” small base and the “standard” base sizes, clear or frosted.  Better choice and selection than anywhere else.  So, yes, go local and get your vintage lights.  These neighborhood fixtures are also in historic locations and take you back.

Garvanza Hardware | 6324 York Blvd. at Avenue 64

  • Candelabra base, 25watt bulbs for 99 cents each
  • Standard base in 25, 40 or 60 watt for $1.69 each

Eagle Rock Lumber & Hardware |2223 Fair Park Avenue

  • Candelabra base, 40 and 60 watt bulbs for $1.59
  • Standard base, 25 watt in a 2-pack for $1.99

Nicole Possert is a contributor writing about home and history. Questions or ideas? just email her at [email protected]



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5 comments

  1. I find flame bulbs and all sorts of bulbs at Stats in Pasadena, near the corner of Raymond and Green, just south of Colorado.

  2. Thank you! We get the ones at the grocery store but the frosted ones have eluded us for too long!

  3. While it’s not on the eastside, I have had to drive to Light Bulbs Unlimited at Beverly and Orlando for old fixture bulbs, ones I could not find at Costco, Home Depot, Target, Ballers, etc. I usually pick up a supply anytime I’m in the area in preparation for the inevitable burnt out bulb.

  4. Light Bulbs Unlimited, they have several locations around L.A. Liz’s Antique Hardware on La Brea uses them in may of their fixtures, and gets them from Feit, but doesn’t always have spare for sale in stock. It may take them a few weeks to get them but they will order you a case if you want so you have them when you need them.

  5. Virgil Hardware in Glendale sells all kinds of vintage bulbs, including filament type like from the Ben Franklin days.

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