Never work on any electrical parts until you are sure no electricity is going to your wires. Unplug any device before doing any work to it, including changing a light bulb! If you're unsure of your abilities there are many step by step instructions and videos that can be found online, or consult with a qualified electrical or other professional. Always stay under the maximum rated usage of any part you are using, specs can always be found on the product page where you purchased from. Cloth covered wire is a specialty product intended for lamp restorations and light-duty applications, it is not intended to carry a heavy electrical load and should not be used for larger appliances, high heat settings, or to carry other heavy electrical currents. 

  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring for any signs of damage.
  • When removing a plug from an outlet, pull the plug, NOT the wire!
  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
  • Replace any electrical device if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out, or gives off smoke or sparks.
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to bathroom and kitchen applications.
  • Do not allow children to play with or around electrical appliances and wiring.

- In AC wiring: black is HOT, white is NEUTRAL, green (if present) is GROUND

   OR if European coloring, brown is HOT and blue is NEUTRAL

   OR if wires are same color the "marked" wire (usually a stripe) is NEUTRAL, the "unmarked" wire is HOT. 

   Note: For parallel cord, the "mark" is a ridge on one side of the cord: the ridged side is neutral, the smooth side is hot.

- All sockets are polarized, the brass terminal is the HOT, the silver is the NEUTRAL.

- The larger blade on a polarized plug end is the NEUTRAL. The other is HOT.

- A switch opens and closes the HOT side of the wire ONLY.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between the various wire styles?

We offer 5 different styles of cloth covered wire, each with their distinct characteristics:

  • Twisted 2-wire - Has 2 conductors each individually wrapped in cloth, then twisted around each other creating a spiral look
  • Parallel 2-wire - Is similar to a modern day lamp cord (SPT-1 wire), where the 2 conductors are molded together side-by-side in a flat cord, which is then covered in cloth
  • Round 3-wire (AKA Pulley Cord) - Has the 3 conductors inside a perfectly rounded jacket (SVT-3 wire), which is then covered in cloth
  • Overbraid 3-wire - Has the 3 conductors twisted around each other, but instead of being in a rounded jacket, they are left as-is and then covered in cloth, leaving the spiral look visible beneath the cloth
  • Twisted 3-wire - Is similar to the twisted 2-wire, only with a 3rd conductor.
2. What gauge is the wire? What gauge do I need for my project?
Most of the wire we offer is 18 gauge, we now also offer some 16 gauge and 14 gauge options which can be found here. Gauge refers to the thickness of the wire, the LOWER the number the THICKER the wire (so the 16 gauge wire is a "heavier gauge" than the 18). The gauge wire you need is determined by the draw from whatever you are powering and the length of wire you are using, unfortunately we cannot make recommendations as to what gauge you need for your specific application, you must determine this yourself or with an electrician or other professional if you are unsure. The specifications of each wire is on the product page.
3. What is the difference between the Cotton and Rayon cloth?
Both of these fabrics are considered historically accurate reproductions of vintage cloth covered cotton and silk wiring (with rayon replacing silk as a safer material). The cotton cloth is a less shiny more subtle color, and the rayon is a shiny more vibrant color. Some consider the cotton to be a more industrial look, while the rayon is a more elegant look, but don't be tied to these conceptions: it's all up to personal preference and what feel you want for your project!
4. How do I strip cloth covered cord, prep for attachments and prevent fraying?
Overall it's very easy to work with, but we did make a blog post with some tips and tricks in case you need extra help: Cloth cord tutorial
5. Are the antique style light bulbs and sockets universal?
All of the parts we stock are very universal and interchangeable with each other, and also with most other standard lighting parts available. All of our bulbs and sockets are "medium base" E26 threads, which is the most common size found in most American fixtures: when someone says a "normal" light bulb, this is the size they are talking about. The one exception is our "small base" E12 candelabra bulb, which would be considered a standard amongst most chandelier bulbs.
6. Do the light bulbs work on any voltage?
Standard household voltage in the United States and some other countries is 110/120 volts, but many other countries operate on a 220/240 volt system. All of our bulbs are rated for use on 110/120, but our 60 watt bulbs will NOT operate on a 220/240 volt system. For countries with this voltage, the Marconi, Radio, Tubular, and G30 bulbs come in a 30 watt version that does work on both systems, just be aware that a bulb rated at "30 watts on 120 volts", when used on 220/240 volts will be much brighter, closer to 60 watts on that system. 
7. Is the E26 thread size (North American standard) compatible with the E27 size of many other countries?
Short answer? These two sizes are generally considered interchangeable, here is a link to some information about the two sizes on Wikipedia: 
Under "types", the 4th paragraph gives some information on the 2 types, and says they are interchangeable. They are not exactly the same though and if you plan to use our sockets or bulbs in other countries you will have to weight the pros/cons of mixing and matching the parts.
8. Should the cardboard be left in the brass sockets? Why is there a dimple on the threads?
YES!!! The cardboard should NOT be removed, it acts as an insulator inside the socket, and as a protection lip around the threaded base of a bulb when one is in place. 
As for that dimple on the threads of the ring that holds the socket neck to the base, it is part of the design, it is made to line up with a notch in the base of the socket so the dimple and the notch make an interlocking joint which locks the top and bottom pieces from spinning. Without that, as you tighten the nut (or screw in and out a light bulb in the future), you run the risk of spinning the top out of the bottom and ending up with a loose socket. The dimple shouldn't affect the threading, just make sure it is lined up and seated properly in the notch in the base, and once the ring is tightened all the way the dimple should not be visible.
9. What is 1/8 IPS Thread?
Many of our sockets and accessories refer to this measurement of pipe thread, it is the most common sizing for lamp pipe threads, however it does NOT mean that it measures 1/8", it actually measures 3/8" in diameter. So for example, the bases of our sockets are threaded for 1/8 IPS pipe thread, so if you are mounting it to something that is the size threaded pipe or fitting you would need to attach it to. If you are just feeding a cord through the socket cap, you would have a clearance of 3/8" inch. 
10. What can I clamp your cages to?
Our cages have a large degree of adjustment on the clamp to fit a variety of sockets, generally speaking the diameter of the piece you are clamping to should be about 1-1/4" to 1-3/4" diameter. All our cages work with all our sockets, although some have different ways to attach them, any specific mounting info can be found in the cages listing.
11. Why are the wire bulb cages fitting so loosely on your brass sockets?
Our cages have a large degree of adjustment on the clamp to fit a variety of sockets, and the brass sockets happen to be on the small side of things (vs a porcelain socket for example). In general, when using these cages on our vintage style sockets, it will be more for show/looks and not a true protector of the bulb. To tighten things up if you wish, one option is to mount the clamp to the large screw nut on the socket instead of the neck (this will be more difficult to do if using a turn-knob socket, since the knob will end up inside the cage). Other ways to get them to fit better on the necks of the brass sockets is by compressing the clamp more to give it a tighter fit. To get an even firmer grip you can use gasket material, double sided padded sticky tape, or a large rubber washer to fit around the socket at the point where the clamp meets, to take up space and give the clamp something to grab onto.
12. Do you have instructions for using the ceiling canopy hardware?
For making basic single cord pendant setups, the first step is to thread the 2 long screws into 2 of the threaded holes on the crossbar like shown on the main picture in the listing (they will have the same spacing as the 2 holes on the canopy, that is how you can be sure you have the right holes) Then, using the 2 short screws, screw the crossbar into the ceiling box through the slotted holes, the slots should give you any amount of movement needed to match up with your ceiling electrical box. At this point the crossbar should be secured to the ceiling box with the long screws pointing down, (threads hanging down). Then attach the strain relief base piece onto the canopy center hole with the lock washer and nut, put the strain relief cap onto the cord, feed the cord through the strain relief base, and leave that loose for now: you will need room to make the wire connections inside the canopy. Attach your wires as necessary using the orange wire nuts, and the grounding from the ceiling can go to the green screw on the cross bar. Then, feed the canopy up the the ceiling, adjusting the cord through the strain relief as necessary, and the 2 long screws should poke through the 2 holes in the canopy. Put on the 2 finish nuts to the screws, and screw them on until they tighten up on the screws. It may take some turning since the screws are long, but they will thread back in and it will allow you to pull the canopy up tight to the ceiling. Then, with the cord in the place you need it to be, you can put the strain relief cap on and tighten it up, that will hold the cord firmly in place. The finished product will look like picture 4 (the extra hardware shown will have already been used on the inside of the canopy.)
13. How do you wire a cord switch?
14. I want to build a pendant light from scratch using your parts, or I found a shade and want to know what parts I need to hang it.
We've got a walk-through that dissects the various parts that go into a pendant light, how they're used, what parts go with what, and what type of shades will work with different types of mounting styles:
15. Which strain relief piece should I use for each cord?
The cone-shaped strain reliefs (plastic or metal style) work best with the 2-wire cords (twisted and parallel). 3-wire twisted will work, but will be tight. 3-wire round cord will NOT work with the metal cone-shaped strain reliefs, and will be very very tight with the plastic cone-shaped strain reliefs. We recommend the set-screw style strain relief for the round cords, as well as the jute covered cords. Note: the large 14 gauge cords will not fit into any of the strain reliefs. 
Usually fitting the cord into the strain relief is easy (we tape off the cords with masking tape before we cut them to length, and this helps keep the cloth snug and in place while it's pushed through the strain relief), if you're having trouble, or are using a cord that is particularly tight (like the jute covered cords), you can use the oull-through method: push the jute back on the cord about 3 inches, cut the underlying wire underneath, then pull the jute back over and use that 3" jute strand as a pull-tab to pull it through the strain relief.
16. Do you accept returns and/or exchanges?
Yes! We want you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase, and strive to offer the most flexible return policy in the industry. For more information, please see our return policy page.