A month or so ago, I saw an antique fire extinguisher at a church yard sale. It was battered and silver with a thick layer of basement dust on it. They were selling it for $40. It even had the hose still attached. I looked at it, thought it was amazing and neat, then didn't buy it. What am I going to do with an old fire extinguisher? It is not useful and it takes up space.
Last weekend, I saw another antique fire extinguisher. However, this one had been turned into a lamp.
You may not know it, but I have a serious weakness for lamps. This weakness is actually a general one for decorative items that are useful. I have many stuff-related weaknesses, and they are pretty much all utilitarian things - lamps, clocks, dishes, linens. Of course, when you have a strong desire to collect such things, the fact that you have 50 of them makes them a little less useful and a lot more in the way. I have to be picky. Thank goodness I have a high tolerance for clutter, or I'd have to be really picky.
Picky or not, I had no chance of resisting this lamp. A month ago, I hadn't even known that an antique fire extinguisher was something one could have. But now that I knew that not only could you have one, you could have one that provided light while you read in the evenings, then it had to be mine. At first I was in denial. I took pictures of it, so that I could show people the crazy thing I had seen at an estate sale. Then I walked away from it to go look through the rest of the house, thinking that it would surely be gone by the time I got back around to it. And then I lugged it downstairs and wrote out a $45 check for it.
Forty-five dollars is a lot of money for me to spend on something, hence my indecision. But then I thought about the retail stores, and the kinds of lamps that millions of people buy in those places for $45. Those lamps suck in comparison to this lamp. If one is to pay that much for a completely unnecessary light fixture, it might as well be freaking amazing. That is not good logic at all, but I really just wanted to buy the lamp.
I guess if I were a more creative person, I could have seen the lamp possibilities in that first fire extinguisher. I'm not and I didn't. Perhaps this will teach me to think more of this in the future, to go to yard sales and think about what crazy things could be lamped, which would then make them useful and give me a reason to buy them. That's probably a bad idea, actually.
My silly purchase was redeemed later when Josh came home and saw it. Our tastes do not always align, so I'm always worried when I let my inner lamp lady have control of the checkbook. Luckily, he proclaimed it amazing, too. We cleaned it up, but decided not to polish it because we like the patina. The body is copper, with brass details. For a ridiculous lamp, it's quite handsome.
The neatest part about this thing is the label. We also have two modern household fire extinguishers in the house, and they have instruction labels on them. How to make the stuff come out, where to point the stuff (at fire), where not to point the stuff (at eyes). These labels are brightly colored plastic stickers. On the antique one, the label is made of brass, like a plaque marking a historical building. The instructions tell you how to make the stuff. I never knew it, but modern fire extinguishers are the fire-fighting equivalent of Bisquick. In the olden days, you had to mix it yourself.
See? It's educational, too. And it's a lamp!