Wither The Halogen Torchiere?

The halogen torchiere. You know it well. It was the portable upright lamp seen in every living room, dorm room, and bedroom during most of the 1990s. Available for not much more than $15 at any home and hardware store during the height of its popularity, this ultra-soft source of light was a staple of urban living.

Has anybody noticed, though, how difficult it is to find one of these badboys today? Everywhere you go, it seems this bastion of illumination has been replaced by either an awful flourescent bulb version or a weak incandescent model, both usually with the dreaded “three-way switch” instead of the full-range dimmer. What gives?

I went into my local Lowe’s Hardware Store to find out.

As it turns out, there have been a rash of accidents over the last several years resulting from the use of these lamps. Apparently, the bulbs burn extremely hot and if the fixture tips over or some moron throws a shirt on top of it, a fire can start. Hmmmm, seems like a reasonable cause for alarm, but my halogen of 15 years just went out and I need a new one! How prevalent could this safety hazard really be?

After work today, I went down to the last place I knew of which carried something resembling my current model: Fred Meyer in Ballard. Fred Meyer is a combination hardware store/grocery store and they have a ton of stuff. Sure enough, I spotted a Holmes 300 Watt Halogen Torchiere with full-range dimmer!!! And better yet, it seemed to have all sorts of new safety features built in like auto-off and a cage around the bulb. According to the packaging, its “new technology and design exceeds new 1999 UL 153 Safety Standards”… whatever that means.

So I threw two of them in the cart and went over to the food section for some groceries. No sooner do I run into Keith’s wife and start talking about how Disneyland beats the crap out of Disneyworld, than a woman interrupts our conversation and politely says the following (pointing to the torchieres in my cart):

“Sorry to interrupt you, but my entire house burned down because of one of those lamps.”

Apparently it’s kind of prevalent!!!

I went on to explain that these new lamps were safer than the ones from the past but she didn’t seem impressed. I don’t blame her.

And so with that, I proceeded to the checkout to purchase my death torches. I’m taking the Holmes company at their word since they are a reputable manufacturer, but if my condo or the Newsvine offices catch fire and kill me, somebody please hack into my server and delete this blog post.

395 comments on “Wither The Halogen Torchiere?”. Leave your own?
  1. Anthony says:

    Insurance. It’s an investment. ;-)

    Actually, I wouldn’t trust the bulb cage unless it can fling curtains (and shirts? what kind of party was that?!) off of itself.

  2. vex says:

    You don’t have to remind me, my house actually (half) burned down because one of these pieces of shit tipped over on a pile of clothes.

  3. Tom Watson says:

    Ahh Fred Meyer, such a wonderful store. During my few years away from the great Pacific Northwest I had to endure life without good old Freddy G. Where else can you get a pork cutlet, some fishing line, and a pair of boxers? I just went to that one down in a Ballard a few weeks ago and damn, it’s a swanky Freddy’s!

    But dude, don’t burn down your place.

  4. Ben says:

    When you said Fred Meyer I thought “Why a jewelry store?” because around here Fred Meyer is a jeweler.

    Anyway, I love those lamps.

  5. Mike D. says:

    Wow, a few minutes in a grocery store and a few minutes as a live blog post and we’ve already seen two people who’ve had stuff burn down because of the old lamps! This must be really, REALLY common.

  6. Alexis says:

    The first ever halogen I bought with a dimmer was also the best one I ever had. Subsequent halogens came with a 3 way switch or a dimmer which made that awful hum when you set it at anything other than full tilt. I think most of these fires started in college dorms since their design was not well suited for college life.

  7. The way I sees it: You ain’t ign’ant, and you’re doing reasonably well at this self-preservation gig.. might as well chance fiery death for choice lighting. I’d go for one o’ these lamps, but I’m also at the “garden level” and somehow a fiery coffin seems worse.

  8. gb says:

    yeah… halogen bulbs are fickle things… i mean, if you even touch them on the actual glass bulb part, the oil from your fingers is enough to cause it to overheat and burn out. I can see why the combo of a torchiere lamp (inherently rather tippy lamps to begin with) and a halogen bulb would be a dicey prospect.

  9. Calvin Tang says:

    It was only about a month ago that a moth was incinerated in your torchiere at the office, leaving a rather unpleasant odor (to put it lightly). It seems as though you’re just asking for trouble.

  10. ramin says:

    As a fire fighter I’ve seen too many sources of fires, especially when combined with human stupidity. The problem with any halogen lamp is that the they are very hot when burning. That’s why many halogen lamps that are fitted in ceilings require either a firewall behind them or a safety distance of 50 cm or so from any flammable materials (such as certain insulating materials) in the structures. This is also the reason why you shouldn’t leave a halogen light too close to curtains or other fabrics, as the heat they emit may light a fire even if there isn’t any actual contact.

    Of course any source of large temperatures can cause a fire if not used carefully. I use halogens and want even more of them to replace the current lighting we have at home. But I also don’t leave them on in a place where dogs’ tails could cause problems. And of course here in Finland we’ve got more problems that are caused by the heaters in sauna’s…

  11. Jemal says:

    The other problems with those lamps, besides the whole burn-down-the-house thing are:

    * Because it’s a halogen bulb, the oils on your fingers can cause it to burn out in like 2 weeks. Meaning that they’re nearly impossible to replace the bulb without rubber gloves, lots of hand washing and some paper towels. We went through like 3 bulbs before figuring that out.

    * They’re really tacky. Sure they provide a lot of indirect light, but at what cost? Your design soul? The whole interior design community has moved away from lights this bright and towards having multiple low-intensity lights for mood lighting as well as highly focused lights for task lighting. Follow those people.

  12. Christian says:

    Fred Meyer? Everytime I heard that name, I think of Fred Meijer, of Meijer fame. And I think that Meijer still sells halogens torches too.

  13. Nathan says:

    I worked part time at a hotel a few years ago and I remember a day when the fire dept did a walk through and made us remove all of those lamps. They were the only decent source of light for one room. I suppose it’s a big deal.

  14. Mike Rundle says:

    Back in college, my freshman year, we had one of those things in our room next to my bed. My bed was like half a bunk bed and had storage underneath it so it was up higher and only about 1′ underneath the halogen bulb. Anyway, so one night I get back to my room around 2am from a long night out drinking, and I see my damn roommate on MY bed with some random girl doin’ whatever it is 19 year old virgin Indian boys do with girls when they don’t know how to have sex. They turn around and see me and the girl gets so startled she jumps back on the bed, falls over the side a bit, and ends up putting her naked thigh on top of this lamp as she flails and topples the entire lamp and her body to the floor. She was so badly burnt that she had to go to the hospital with 3rd degree burns all over her ass because of that damn thing!

    (Okay that entire story was made-up, but I couldn’t resist!)

  15. Ryan Sholin says:

    Along with the high temperature and frequent burnout, the halogen torchiere also costs you a LOT more on your power bill than the average 3-way tungsten bulb. Seriously. Our power bill dropped by something like $20 a month when we junked the old torch, if I’m making up the numbers correctly.

  16. DeWayne Purdy says:

    It’s a common enough problem that most colleges and universities have banned them from dorm rooms, due to the problems mentioned above.

  17. Mike D. says:


    I’m convinced this lamp is quite a bit safer than its 1990s counterparts. As a commenter above said though, any lamp can be dangerous if you do stupid things around it (see Rundle’s fake story above :) ).

  18. RobK says:

    Now we wait with high anxiety for Mike’s next post in which he explains that he prefers not to wear seatbelts because he would rather be thrown clear in a car accident.

    just kidding.

  19. Keith says:

    What were you doing with my wife at Fred Meyer? ;0) Funny though, she was super excted to see she was mentioned in a blog. Lord knows I hardly ever do it.

  20. ramin says:

    Are sure it’s 300 watts? I’ve got 10/30/50 watt lamps and the 30 and 50 watt lamps have fairly large safety distances and can cause fires (10 W not so much). 300 W in Finland is a construction lamp or a lamp for outdoor use and they are a real fire threat because of the heat.

    The safety grill in front of the glass is only meant to prevent burning skin if you accidentally touch the glass (at least in the construction lamps). I’ve also seen the glass covering the lamp blow up because of the heat as well (although these were el-cheapo construction lights).

    The idea of a 300 W lamp indoors scares me…

  21. Kevin says:

    I’ve had one of those (old-fashioned, dangerous) lamps for ten years and never lit anything on fire. I’m glad you got a new and improved version.

  22. Benjy says:

    I remember when these halogen torchaires first came ont the market, they seemed pretty sturdy and cost about $50. I had one in my bedroom when in high school.

    Off at college, I had one because the ceiling-mounted flourescent fixtures in the dorm sucked. When I moved into an apartment, my roommates and I added a number to the apartment. By this time, there were everywhere for $12-15. But the never lasted more than like 3-4 months! And while they had a 1-year warranty, they had to be mailed back to the manufacturer for replacement. With those weighted bases, it’d have cost more than the initial cost of the lamp. So we ended up with what we called the “lamp farm” in the dining area. The broken ones ended up there, sometimes to be harvested for parts that would prolong the life of another for another few weeks. By the end of the year, we had almost a dozen to haul off to the dumpster.

    Now, had they just continued making the sturdy $50 ones, we’d have spent the same amount of money yet not had to deal with the hastle of running to Home Depot or Target all the time and hauling off the dead lamps.

  23. If anyone goes the incandescent torchiere route, I highly recommend using the natural white-light “reveal” light bulbs from GE. My pimp’n dorm room sports two cheap $8.00 Target torchieres with those bad boys in them and the effect is just as good if not better the halogen torchiere I have back home.

    Unfortunately I’m stuck with a three-way bulb instead of a dimmer – so much for mood lighting :(

  24. Calichef says:

    Did you guys complaining about the 3-way bulbs and the undesirable lack of “mood lighting” (cough) know that 3-way bulbs come in a 15 watt “security” version? Well, they do! That 15 watts can be quite, umm, “moody.”

  25. Jared says:

    It was the portable upright lamp seen in every living room, dorm room, and bedroom during most of the 1990s.

    Haha! I had the same theory too! Good observation!

  26. Eric Meyer says:

    Oh man. Taking a shot at Disney World! Criminy!

  27. Raffy says:

    We’re afraid of our own lighting – yes, the terrorists have won.

  28. pk says:

    i had a couple of nasty experiences with one of these things in my first apartment back in college.

    first fire happened because a moth flew onto the bulb and exploded. second time, the wind blew a curtain panel edge onto the bulb. i’m kinda surprised these things were never the basis of a very public lawsuit.

  29. Bre says:

    Mike, only you could make buying a light into a fascinating blog post, complete with houses burning down!

  30. Dave Mohrman says:

    Hopefully, these new lamps live up to their new safety features!

    I remember the first time my brother’s wife bought a couple back in their pre-pyro peak, and noticing the halogen bulbs were exactly the same as the ones we used to use in our stat camera in the days before desk top publishing (Stat camera? Yeah, that’s how old I am). I initially warned her of the incredible power consumption of these things (300 watt bulbs for ‘mood’ lighting!? Sheesh! And all that about the fingerprints is true too), but also of the heat and fire danger.

    She rationalized my well intentioned warning of her latest shopping score as just rude negative critizism. Then one night, there was this ghodawful burning smell, like someone had set the pekingese on fire.

    The column of rancid smoke eminating from one of the lamps led to the discovery of what looked like a small Weber grill full of smoldering dead insects instead of charcoals! The main course was a large moth that had fallen on top and set everything off like a fuzzy, six legged MatchLight briquet. Pheeew!

    Smoke alarms were quieted by much magazine fanning and the lamp unplugged and moved to the patio to extinguish and air out. Excessive Glade spraying of the living room followed.

    So, unless this thing has some sort of automatic dead bug removal/avoidence system, be prepared to clean it out on a regular basis. Or what the heck, in a pinch you could use it as a side grill for your new Weber Q!

    Not a critizism of your new lamps, just a funny story of the bad old days of those lamps that this post brought to mind.

  31. kareem says:

    Almost burned down my college dorm with one of these puppies… a buddy had thrown his shirt over my light while it was off without my knowing… I come home, flip on the light (controlled by a widget on my keychain, thank you X10), smell smoke about 10 seconds later, and notice the curls of smoke wafting up from my lamp. The room and dorm were fine, but my buddy had a big ol’ hole burned through his shirt.

  32. Mark Centz says:

    This past Winter I was in the Phoenix area and toured Taliesin West. I was shocked to see one of those cheap black torchieres in the main office. Frank Lloyd Wright was notorious about keeping furniture not of his design out of his clients homes, and here was this crappy lamp in the alternate center of the Wright universe. The rest of the place still looked like he just left, however. Highly recommended to anyone visiting the area.

  33. bingojackson says:

    The idea of a 300watt bulb in a household lamp of any kind is ludicrous, that’s the sort of power level I use for lighting stages at rock concerts. The similar uplighters I have at home use 20watt halogens and they are bright enough to use as mood lighting.

    No wonder people have been burning their houses down.

  34. M.e. says:

    Burning down your house is one thing, but those things are sooo Miami VIce. Girls just don’t dig ’em. LED is the new halogen. Go green.

  35. Mike D. says:

    Regarding the 300 watts, well, I never turn it very far up so I don’t think it’s sucking up that much juice.

  36. Tim says:

    I’ve owned several of these lamps over the years without incident. Yes, they run very hot. Yes, 300 watts adds to the power bill. Yes, if you ignore the instructions and touch the bulb with your bare hands, it won’t last long (this admonition also applies to the halogen bulbs in a Maglite flashlight/torch). If you live in an environment that is frequented by pets, kids, moths, or drunken shirt-flinging idiots, you probably shouldn’t have one. And keep those drapes away.

    But these puppies are the only easy and cheap (to buy) way to flood a room with soft light, and that has a lot a value. I wish there was a cool running, low-power way to do this. The fluorescent torchieres I’ve seen still can’t. LEDs probably could, but the lamp would cost $3000. Someday we’ll have these for cheap.

    But what really annoys me is the scare that this has caused, and how it is now really hard to find these lamps, especially a good selection of well-built ones. What you see in your average home store is mostly these worthless 150-watt incandescent torchieres. I wonder how many people are duped into buying these because they remember what the old style 300-watt or 500-watt halogens were like, and think they are buying something similar.

    Did I say 500 watt? Yes, there was a time in the past when you could easily buy a well-built ($50 or so) torchiere that used a Type J halogen bulb and had a real dimmer control. I’ve tried a 500-watt bulb in a newer 300-watt fixture and it only runs for about five minutes before a thermal safety switch shuts it down.

    Gas stovetops have been involved in burnt-down houses. People often lose fingers using a power saw. Mixed bleach and ammonia can produce chlorine gas or hydrazine. I’m sure someone who’s used gasoline as a cleaning solvent in an enclosed room has experienced a large explosion when they turned off the light switch.

    But none of these products have yet been taken off the market because they are TOO DAMN USEFUL! And they have been around for a long time. They were well established long before our current extremely litigious and overprotective society existed. It’s really sad that it’s nearly impossible for a new, useful product to remain on the market before being sued out of existence by someone too stupid to use it properly.

    I’m all for added safety items like tip switches and wire screens in torchieres. I’m all for appropriate labeling. But anecdotal evidence is not statistics and should not be used to form an opinion as to the likelihood of a problem. People that use their heads are more likely to avoid catastrophes.

    Long live the halogen torchiere!

  37. Mike D. says:

    Well said Tim. I totally agree!

  38. Sherry says:

    This chat is old now, but I just found it. Thanks for the tip, Mike, on finding one of these torchieres.
    I used two 300-watt torchieres, the old $18 Home Depot version, in a north-facing apartment for 12-15 years. No cages, no problems. I usually kept them turned all the way up. One finally died, I still have one.
    Soft, 20-watt “mood” or designer lighting is fine if you’re naturally cheerful. But if you’re prone to depression in winter, and/or live in a dark place, those 300-watters are FABULOUS. They’re not harsh at all. They provide reflected light off the ceiling (if your ceilings aren’t too high), and turning them on is like bringing in the sun. I knew enough to keep them away from curtains, I read the instructions on the light bulb packages & never touched the glass. It never occurred to me to throw clothing over the top of a 6-foot lamp.

  39. Elenute Nicola says:

    I love my halogen torchere. It provides great light, and the dimmer is so cool.

    Unfortunately, I knocked it over today, and now I don’t know how to get new glass. I survived intact.


  40. Amy says:

    Hi. Here’s a superior alternative to the candlepower of the halogen torchiere. It’s a 70 watt metal halide lamp made by a company called Microsun. I think that they have the equivalent light output of a 300 watt halogen.

    They aren’t cheap ($200) but they 5 times more efficient than incandescent lighting (they beat flourescent, too). They are available in several different styes of floor lamps and desk lamps. (I like the library floor lamp).

    I plan to buy one next month to replace my dead halogen torchiere, which I really miss a lot, especially facing another long, gloomy winter in Rochester (NY).

  41. Jean says:

    I’m trying to find somthing that simulates natural light in my office so I was very interested in the note about the Microsun lamp, that’s a company I hadn’t heard about before. (I’ve tried several “full spectrum” fluorescents, including both the cheap ones from the hardware store and the expensive patented ones ordered on line, and so far none of them come close to looking or feeling like natural light.)

    I’ve been trying to avoid the high wattage halogen torchieres because of their energy inefficiency but it may come to that in the end. There’s nothing like them for lighting up a room and they don’t raise my stress level like a fluorescent does.

    I hope you’ll give us a review after you’ve had a chance to test it out. Unfortunately I see Microsun hasn’t put the spectrum for their light on their website, so there’s no way to judge how well it mimics sunlight without actually buying one. Metal Halide hasn’t generally been known for producing a very natural looking light, but it’s a technolgy that’s been improving so that may have changed.

  42. Amy says:

    We just bought a Microsun floor lamp and are not sure we will keep it; we are still evaluting it…You are right, the metal halide spectrum is a little weird; I’m not sure it’s worth the energy efficiency. I can only describe the light as bright, but rather cold; our ‘warm’ blue walls in the living room look a little grey next to it. It has light filtering shade which seems to limit the scope of the very bright bulb, whereas the halogen torchiere directs light upward to reflect off the ceiling and seems to spread light farther and more evenly around the room. My boyfriend (an engineer) wants to figure out how to measure the light spectrum so that he can articulate exactly what’s odd about it. I too, hate flourescent lighting, and will probably go online and buy some new halogen torchieres.

  43. Jean says:

    Thanks for the feedback, even if it did dash my hopes! But you confirmed what I had read elsewhere about metal halides. (I would be VERY interested to see the spectrum if your boyfriend does manage to measure it.) There’s also a technology called ceramic metal halide that is supposed to produce a much closer rendition of sunlight, but I haven’t been able to find that in a consumer lamp.

    What is it about fluorescent light that is so unpleasant I wonder? It’s improved so much from the days when it gave everything a nasty mottled appearance, and yet I still find it impossible to work under one for hours at a time without feeling nervous and very distracted.

  44. Sean says:

    I’ve been wanting to get a MicroSun for twoyears, but couldn’t justify the cost.

    Metal Halide is old reliable tech, but generally only used in industrial and retail applications. Lots of Nerd Cred for having a Metal Halide desk lamp! MicroSun should advertise these things on tech gadget sites. I mean, I bought my VW because of the unique engine configuration, I run multi-CPU systems because the tech appeals to me, although I don’t really ‘need’ them and could probably get by with a cheaper 1cpu.

    If you don’t like the bulb, it’s a 68 watt MH bulb. You can buy 70watt MH bulbs for days. Make sure you get an arc-protected and UV filtered one. Unless MicroSun used some non-standard base, you might be able to find a bulb with better color rendition…there are many high-end ceramic MH bulbs available.

  45. Erik says:

    After going to Home Depot, Ikea, and Target last night looking for a 300W halogen floor lamp, I finally gave up and got a cheap $9 incandescent at Target. I then got a 150W halogen bulb (also at Target) that fits a standard socket. Imagine my surprise when after I put it together and turned it on, it didn’t completely suck! The room was filled with neutral light… not too warm, not too cool.

    While I still prefer the old halogen torchieres, if you can’t find one, running this setup isn’t a bad compromise — plus you’ll pay <$15/lamp. The only problem is, I’m using a standard bulb in a 3-way socket, and for reasons I can’t yet discern (despite being an electrical engineer) the lamp includes three very prominent warnings about fire hazards associated with running this configuration. Can anyone tell me why this is?

    Until then I guess I’m trading one fire hazard for another.

  46. Nic says:

    I too am annoyed by the absence of the 300W lamps from store shelves, all because of a few people’s idiocy and a few other people’s ‘winning arguments about power consumption. I need light, and I am willing to sacrifice other things to pay the bill. I have and still am using them in my study and work rooms, and have a few spare bulbs on hand, hoping they will last the 10- 15 years some bloggers spoke of. Happy new year, and happy hanukkah – both all about light LIGHT in some form!

  47. david says:

    I still use, carefully, halogen torchieres all over the house, and locate 500W bulbs (when I can find them) to put in 300W designs to boot. Wonderful, wonderful light. I did not know they were so expensive to run. We never leave them on, we know how to change the bulbs (let cool and use paper napkins), etc. But I am willing to change them all … if I can find other designs that have similar quality and color spectrum of light. The fluorescents’ color is really gross to use; everything appears officy and gray-green. Any suggestions on what to do to get bright sunlight-spectrum light indoors in fairly inexpensive manner? Thanks.

  48. Rich says:

    Ahh … the dreaded “human stupidity” factor. It always seems to take over and make anything well worth having dumby downed so that the human race doesn’t go and kill itself. If you’re just not smart enough to understand and respect a halogen torchiere then don’t buy the damn thing. There’s plenty of ugly fluorescent crap out there for you people. I’ve had a 500w dimmable halogen torchiere in my home for well over 10 years and wow … no fires. Don’t blame the product … blame the stupidity of its users. Stupid humans … that’s why EVERY product made has a warning label on it.

  49. Chris says:

    From the Lighting Research Center at: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/NLPIP/lightingAnswers/halogenTorchiers/quest_nine.asp

    Consumers who own halogen torchieres should use lamps rated at 300 watts or less and never place materials on top of or near a torchiere-style fixture.

    Halogen torchieres manufactured after February 5, 1997, come with a guard in place or loose in the box (torchieres manufactured after June 1, 1999, must have the guard attached). Other new halogen torchieres feature an automatic switch that turns off the torchiere if it detects higher-than-normal heat or if the torchiere tips over.

    From the Lighting Research Center at: http://www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/NLPIP/lightingAnswers/halogenTorchiers/sbUL.asp

    Underwriters Laboratories tightened its safety requirements for halogen torchieres in 1997 and revised them again effective June 1, 1999. Among the new requirements are:

    * A glass or wire guard that keeps objects at least 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) away from the lamp must be affixed over the lamp (inside the bowl of the torchiere). The guard must be attached at the factory; it cannot be left loose in the box for the consumer to attach.

    * To test the torchiere, UL drapes a 20-layer pad of cheesecloth over the guard for seven hours while the lamp is on. The cheesecloth must not ignite or develop holes in any of its layers.

    * The torchiere should have a switch that turns the unit off when it falls over in any direction. If the torchiere does not have the switch, it must pass additional stability requirements and a vertical wall test. In the vertical wall test, the lamp is laid on its side for seven hours next to a simulated wall of plywood covered in cotton terrycloth. The cloth and plywood must not flame or char.

    * The fixture must bear a manufacture date.

  50. apl says:

    I had one of those cheap black Home Depot halogen torchieres for several years. I moved it around the room a lot since I used it both for a bed lamp as well as across the room at the computer. Recently, I walked into my bedroom and found that it had broken at the base and fallen over. Luckily for me, it was leaning against a chair next to the bed and the lamp part wasn’t touching anything. This was too close for comfort. I love the light these bulbs put out but, after that experience, I’m going back to plain old light fixtures.

  51. Emilie Garcia says:

    Hooray! I am so happy to have found this blog. My 300 watt halogen torchiere just gave out. I changed the bulb (using kleenex to keep my bare fingers off the bulb). That wasn’t the problem. Switch works fine–I can hear the clicking on and off, so it must be the socket. Told hubby I wanted to take it down to the electrical shop and have it fixed, and he said nothing doing–it would cost three times to fix what it cost. Checked several retail outfits. I was told the same thing, “stopped carrying those due to frequent fires”. I thought “frequent stupidity”. I have had that torchiere for 10 years without incident. (who lets moths fly around their house?) I will go to Fred Meyer and look for one like Mike did. If they don’t have one, I found a website that sells the Holmes torchieres. I need the bright natural light of those torchieres to read at night or during dark days because the can lights in the ceiling or the light from a reading lamp casts an uncomfortable glare into my eyes. Thanks again, Mike.

  52. John says:

    We searched far and wide for halogen torchieres to replace the cruddy ones that we got for next to nothing at places like Staples and Home Depot in years past. As everyone here has noted, we didn’t find anything. We finally tracked some down at Union Lighting in Union, NJ. Bought two.

    A month ago, one of them gave out. I found a replacement switch at Home Depot and changed it out, but it still wouldn’t turn on. So I bought a replacement socket for the bulb at Union Lighting for about 8 bucks, and that turned out to be the problem. I wonder if I could have fixed the problem just by sanding down the contacts, but it was good to have a solution to the problem.

    Last week the other torchiere gave out. So I got another socket and swapped it, and put the bulb back in and turned it on. Nothing. I tried a different bulb. But I probably should have tried a different bulb in the first place, since the socket might have been just fine…

  53. choice says:

    This blog is the top google result for halogen torchiere.

    I recently broke TWO of the lamps I have had for years, only to discover that no one sells them anymore. Like others posting in this blog, I have loved the light that these lamps produce since I discovered them in the early 90’s, and am dismayed that they’ve been supplanted by far-inferior lighting solutions such as non-dimming incandescent and (ugh) flourescent.

    Even CFL bulbs do not produce light of the quality that I want. I am willing to pay the cost of the energy my halongens consume (and I noted that most studies of these lamps have them running at full blast, which was hardly ever the case for me). I don’t care if they cost ten times the smount of money to run, because they create the light that I want, and I can afford them.

    And the safety issue. This is perfect example of how our litigousness has a negative, lowest-common-denominator effect on our daily lives. A few idiots burn their kids to death with a type of lamp, sue someone because they feel that that is their American duty, and the end result is that the rest of us have to bear industrial soul sucking lighting for the rest of our lives.

    I am not an idiot. I will sign a waiver that I can use my lamp in a way that won’t set my home on fire. I am an adult. I can handle this.

  54. Emilie Garcia says:

    I agree with “Choice” completely. People are stupid and then when they get in trouble with their stupidity, they turn litigous. I refuse to do without my wonderful halogen torchiere, so I took Mike’s example and went to Fred Meyer and bought one to replace the one I had had without incident for more than 10 years. This new Holmes (I bought the pretty brushed chrome one) is not as bright as my old torchiere, but it is better than anything else out there. I am now as happy as a clam to have the kind of mood-uplifting and eyesight-saving light that I like in my office. So, “Choice”, order the Holmes lamp online if you don’t have a Fred Meyer where you live. You won’t be sorry.

    Thanks, Mike.

  55. Here’s the report.


    Meanwhile … where can I get a replacement socket for a 300 W Type T halogen blub?



  56. Tao Yue says:

    Re: what Tim wrote: “But these puppies are the only easy and cheap (to buy) way to flood a room with soft light, and that has a lot a value. I wish there was a cool running, low-power way to do this. The fluorescent torchieres I’ve seen still can’t. LEDs probably could, but the lamp would cost $3000. Someday we’ll have these for cheap.”

    It’s not really true that fluorescent torchieres can’t flood a whole room. There are now 55- and 58-watt fluorescent torchieres which are really quite bright. Put two of them together and you’ve got as much light as a 300W halogen at little more than 1/3 the power consumption, and little heat.

    The 55-watt halogens (usually from GE) throw off a really harsh white-blue light. The 58-watt halogens produce a fairly warm light if turned up high. It seems only Lightwiz, a little-known Chinese manufacturer, makes the 58-watt ones. Put it next to the GE and it looks like an incandescent.

  57. karlee says:

    We have had a halogen floor lamp forever it seems. We LOVE it!

    I suppose one has to be fairly irresponsible to have issues with it. I can smell it burn if we turn it to full power, but hey, who needs stadium lights in one’s living room anyhow. Except the design of it being too contemporary for us now, I would keep it forever.

    I would like to replace it with a different design to go with our decor. I REFUSE to go to a 3 way switch light. The full dimming is a MUST for us.

    Does anyone know of any manufacturers, national stores or stores in south florida that carry full dimming floor lamps?

    I don’t mind giving up the halogen bulb, but I can’t give up the dimming.


  58. Kat says:

    Hello fellow Halogers
    I’ve been thru several generations of these lamps and agree that they are the best way to ‘flood’ a room with light for $20 and therein lies their popularity. Yes, my fave was still my original $50 one (on sale from $80!) but I tossed it when the switch crapped out not knowing what I had! I use 2 in a room now with one being an older dimmer (500W – no cage) and a newer 3way halogen w/cage. I found this blog while looking for ‘bulb’ answers. My older lamp works OK but the switch is getting hinky so I have it in a wall switch controlled outlet. I use it as a main entry bedroom light (28x14ft room) to find things mostlly but use bedside lamps (with Reveal bulbs) for reading and longer light-on tasks but I totally NEED the wattage in this huge room. Hopefully bypassing the switch will extend itz life.
    I use the newer one in a corner of the same room to illuminate closet contents mostly. This is the one I have questions on. It originally took a 3-way halogen bulb which I gave up years ago trying to replace. I have been using a regular halogen bulb but unfortunately I dont know the wattage and there are no ID numbers on the bulb. The lamp sticker says type J which I learned online is now same as a type T. The bulb I replaced it with was from a 2pk so I dont have any info on it either.
    My problem is that it stays lit until it heats up (about 5mins) then switches off. If left to cool, it will come back on.
    My question is would this be due to the fact that I touched it by accident while installing? or would it be that this might be a 500W meant for the other lamp? I dont want to go throwing money at this problem until I know what my problem is. At least I know I can stop hunting for a type J…any input appreciated.

  59. Jon says:

    Wow, what a great blog. After trying to find out what it might be called I started off with an image search in Google before arriving here.

    So after nearly four years, I only learned today that the light I have and have seen in numerous US movies and tv shows is a ‘halogen torchiere’!

    I was given mine by a friend moving on from Thailand where I was living at the time. I fell in love with its soft light, but there was some buzzing from the dimmer at low power.

    It hadn’t been kept clean and was full of dead bugs and stuff too. Probably that was why the bulb was breaking up too, and although it still worked, I thought it best to replace it.

    Surprisingly I had no trouble finding the right 300W halogen in Chiangmai supermarkets and electrical stores (it seems they are used for outside security lamps too). After a quick cleanup my lamp was like new!

    Now I live in Laos and wonder if I have the only one in the whole country!

    It must have orginated somewhere before it was copied by all and sundry. Who designed it and where?

    In other words can anyone ‘throw some light’ on this fascinating topic?

  60. Ejayel says:

    I’m delighted to find this blog and learn that I’m not the only one who feels that 300 watt, dimmer-switch halogen is the only way to go. My old reliable, bought ten years ago for ten dollars, at a garage sale, has finally quit. I’ve found the replacement on the internet and, after reading this blog, will order it this afternoon.

  61. Ogglebog says:

    As some bloggers have already mentioned, there were variances in the evolution of these halogen torches, all heading toward a “safer” design. Problem was, as they became less prone to accident, they became more prone to failure, as their quality has congruently gone south. The first models released were nicely built, fairly heavy units that fit together properly with tight parts and good fasteners, had a 500 watt bulb, yes 500 watt, and a full-range dimmer. Most all were painted flat black. Then came the additional colored finishes and fancier styles, along with the lesser 300 watt bulb (same size, lower power), and a lower price; base models in the $10-15 range. Hardly any of this series had dimmers, only a VERY cheap, loose, gritty 3-way knob that died almost instanly. Finally, most of the 300 watts have been downgraded to 150 watts or fluourescent, neither of which is worth a crap. Plus, now all the units have a bird cage over the bulb (ugly), and in the case of the 300 watt, it will now have a thermal cutout switch located underneath the reflector beneath the bulb. So, installing a 500 bulb will only give intermittent light, as the thermal switch cuts in and out. Great news! This can be bypassed easily by cutting out the thermal switch and simply re-crimping the wires back together. I did this on two 300 watt units recently purchased, installed some good German 500w bulbs, and then installed a floor dimmer inline with the power cords. works great on high, nothing smoking or stinking at all. By the way, running 500 watts (full-blast) 8 hours every day of the month will cost exactly $8.40 per month if your power company is charging .07/Kwh (our cost here in KY). which I will gladly pay for the quality and quantity of the light received. Those of us who know, KNOW.

  62. tedshred says:

    Excellent, excellent commentary all! I am a product designer (no lamps yet except an old school project), sitting here in the low warm glow of my final remaining fully functional halogen torchiere, having searched this term to find a 300 watt replacement rheostat, and could not stop reading the love letters for these lamps.

    Yes, I have had at least 6 of them over the years; yes, I keep the bug population down with acrid plumes of smoke at a clip of one or two a night, and I would call myself more than somewhat green-friendly and – definitely – aware of the risks of these blowtorches. Nevertheless, though my wife made me chuck 3 of them (stored the top assembly parts off a couple for the next catastrophic tumble repair) and hide the other two away in my office, and though my Ace and Home Depot and finally even a specialty lamp parts boutique in downtown Atlanta all sneered at me for the mention of a replacement rheostat for the things, I WILL NOT GIVE UP!!!! They light like a frikkin’ mother! Or they dim like a small distant nuke afterglow; either way they are unmatched in my experience and they work for me in the studio, in the model shop, in the house – the den, the bedroom …I will never be the same when they are all dead.

    So… I reluctantly but resignedly tempt fate, wreak havoc on insect families, destroy our world, and like a ball and chain, tote my favorite triple-bypass rewired, silver-hammered-sprayon refinished, slightly bent along one of the 3 joints, and probably not long for this world halogen torchiere from room to room, project to project, wherever I need the light of miraculous immaculate brilliance and/or seductive dusky hints of ambient glow… until, like it’s older brother, the rheostat goes. Good luck to the folks who figure out the heir apparent; I have yet to find it but I know there must be some great things coming.

    Cheers everyone, and happy lighting wishes to you all!

  63. Ogglebog says:

    One company who still makes full-range dimming Torchieres is Estiluz. Very high quality and high-dollar stuff made in Spain. They aren’t afraid of the 300 watt bulb. Then there’s also Holtkoetter in Germany making some great lights, although they seem to prefer clusters of 150 watt bulbs to achieve outputs up to 600 watt. Both makers are insanely expensive, especially for those folks used to paying $50 and under. But it might be worth checking their prices on replacement rheostats, bulb sockets, etc. which most surely would be better quality than the far-east offerings. Honestly, the quality is so bad now on the mass-market units, that I personally would completely teardown and redo anything off the shelf immediately upon purchase. The porcelain T-3 bulb holders (clearly stamped 500 watts, no matter what the lamp is rated) are still half-decent, although no longer spring loaded, merely a pair of tensioned prongs. If you have a lamp with true retractable bulb contacts, KEEP IT. The new style prongs are simply riveted to the porcelain, and these rivets can weaken, giving you intermittent and mysterious operation. Wiring is still standard 18 gauge, enough for 500 watts, and the fiberglass wire insulation is thankfully still provided. I recommend to either acquire a serious-grade dimmer unit, or hardwire any faulty/cheap lamps for constant “on” with an external floor dimmer, most of which can handle 500 watt. Remove any saftey cages, as the paint will burn and smell, even at 300 watts. Bypass any type of thermal snapstat or tilt switch, they are not reliable and unnecessarily complicate the circuit. These lamps will never be safe – they are simply too hot. All efforts to make them safe are absurd. They are wonderful units, if kept upright and not molested by animals or children. Select an out-of-the way spot for the lamp to reside, try your best to imagine and prepare for worst-case scenarios in advance, then release yourself from the paranoia and enjoy the unparallled brilliance these torches provide.

  64. Rug Roller says:

    Wow, this should be a support group! I can hardly believe it, but I actually devoured the whole thing. I too have gone through several of these in the past few years, after the long-lasting one I had in grad school gave out. I would only add to the collective tribute committed above that these lamps are the only way I’ve found to provide adequate light for the indoor videotaping of, ahem, calisthenic activities without creating so much harsh glare that the atmosphere is ruined. Hence my desire, now, to replace the one that just failed me. So, I appeal for help to all ye worshippers of the halogen torchiere — aside from the jaw-droppingly expensive Estiluz mentioned above, which of these are least crappy? I’ve had two American Lighting ones in the past year, so I won’t buy another one of those. Has anyone had reasonable experience with Holmes (available through Amazon)? Any other brands available on-line?

  65. Ogglebog says:

    I have yet to see a Chinese light not crappy. Or anything China-made for that matter (lead paint, anyone??). All the labels like Holmes, etc. are simply the lowest-bidding generic asian factory that will disappear next year. I recommend to invest in a light from an established lamp company focused on quality rather than quantity. The best light for the money is the Estiluz P-2373. At 76″ tall, it is at least 6″ taller than any torch I have seen. The shade can pivot for bouncing light off the ceiling, or a wall (great for photography). The dimmer module is mounted in the base for easy access, with a long pole-knob to waist level (cool). $621 delivered from VGK Lighting. Otherwise, build your own as described earlier, using merely a cheap lamp carcass, and completely rework it using the best parts you can find with the simplest path from wall outlet to bulb filament with no BS in between.

  66. Juan says:

    My beloved 300 watter torchiere died, but I’m glad my experience isn’t unique. I liked it because the reflected light produced few shadows. I’ve owned it about 15 years, and like others, l couldn’t find a replacement. I’m not about to spend enough to pay off the national debt for a new one. Don’t care how good it is. After reading through a lot of this blog, I think I’ll hard wire the thing and put a dimmer on the outside of it.

  67. Q says:

    For all of you HaloGen-Xers out there who, like i do, refuse to abandon your lamps and their variable dimmer switches (and who managed to make it all the way to the end of this surprisingly effusive list of love letters), i bring good tidings:

    Home Depot sells a replacement dimmer controller made by Westek (part no. 6079B and works for both halogen and incandescent torchieres) As a bonus for the seasonally affected, it is rated to 500W. These are super easy to install, requiring only remedial reading skills and the ability to turn a wire nut in a clockwise direction. It costs $7.99.

    IMPORTANT: the aforementioned remedial reading section (instructions) refer to the smooth and ribbed (chuckle) wires coming from the plug side, and if you look closely and feel with your fingertips, you will notice that the plug’s cord is made up of a pair of wires which do indeed have a smooth wire and a rough wire (although they are attached to one another until the very end where they split like a “Y”), so pay attention to these details.

    If you prefer to order your switches at twice the cost and then pay shipping as well, try these fine online sources:



    Also, i have noticed that over time corrosion builds up on the contacts where the lamp saddle meets the ends of the bulb and may cause a break in the flow of electricity which results in darkness. As noted above by John, these can be replaced (again the Home Depot has these parts in the lighting section, though i don’t have a part number for you as i saved myself a few bucks by doing what follows). John also surmised (correctly) that he might have simply sanded off the corrosion and saved himself from having to purchase new contacts. This i have done using a small file and a low-speed Dremel tool with a small tapered grinding bit. Of course i UNPLUGGED THE LAMP and for convenience sake dismantled the light bowl until all i was dealing with was the two contacts connected with a metal bracket bar. this assembly i like to call the saddle.

    This method works fine, but is a little more involved than the dimmer switch replacement project and i suspect that the factory smooth finish of a brand-new contact will resist corrosion longer than the roughened up surface left after the in-home sand-job. Also, the contact is slightly recessed behing the white ceramic insulator which can make it difficult to get at without the proper tool(s). Be sure to examine each end of your bulb, for if it is not a new bulb the corrosion will most likely be there too. Don’t forget to wipe you clammy finger juice off of the bulb before your reinstall it.

    Various parts including saddles and contacts can be found at the bottom of this quite attractive* and well organized* web-page:


    This information i give to you my lovelies, who like your light hot, bright and color-correct. Just don’t be stoopid, and light safe!


    *indicates extreme irony

    afterthought: hmmm that’s a lot of info, i think i’ll put up an illustrated how-to here: http://qdeco.com/halogen-how-to

  68. Steve says:

    For those who are interested, Lowes sells a 180 watt model for $24.88 (item #132259). Also, Lite Source has several 300 watt models in the $120-150 range (LS-978; LS-9508)

  69. John says:

    So, you design mavens and appliance experts out there: What do I use to light my living room? I need light. Winter months depress me, and I want well lighted living space, office space, and kitchen. If I can’t use a torchiere, what do I use?

    And don’t talk to me about subdued lighting and spots. I understand the appeal; but, trust me, I truly need something bright to keep my mood up and my failing eyesight working.

    I’m not a college student — Well, not an undergrad, anyway. I’ll be careful not to burn anything down, and not to touch any bulbs with bare hands.

    What’s the answer?

    In the meantime — while I’m still using my torchiere — What’s a good source for J-type bulbs?

  70. Mary says:

    I’m with you, John.

    I used to have 500-watt halogen torchieres in my living & bedrooms because I truly needed them to be able to see well. I had no problem with them but did have sense enough not to throw anything on top of them or to put them where they would easily tip over.

    I can’t find them now and sorely miss them because I really do need a very bright light to see well.

    This is yet another example of how an idiotic few spoil it for the rest of us.


    Another Baby Boomer

  71. Joe says:

    I got a 300 Watt from amazon. They have 2 different models; 1 for $29.00 plus tax and shipping and another for $42.00 plus tax and shipping. I still would like to find a 500 watt lamp cheap, if possible. I would be most appreciative. Please leave a comment here. TIA P.S I promise I want Darwin myself.

  72. Ogglebog says:

    I am thinking about composing a small batch of 500w units made from inexpensive 300w lamp hosts. Or at least to document and photograph the process in full detail for those who are comfortable with a few basic hand tools. I just built another one for my uncle and he loves it. 500 beats the 300 hands down. Of course I would need a small labor charge plus the cost of a floor dimmer and upgraded bulb but it would still be affordable and a very nice light. Will keep post updated.

  73. Frank says:

    I just bought a $135 500W halogen torchiere with a dimmer switch a few weeks ago at my local lamp store – – – not the slightest difficulty finding or buying it. In 25 years I had never heard of any accident or problem with the lamp.

    Then last week I moved from Austria to the USA and had planned to go look for the same lamp at Lowe’s tomorrow.

    And then I stumbled across this blog…

  74. Mary says:


    I am definitely interested in buying at least 4, (four), 500-watt halogen lamps you are able to build/convert as either hubby nor I are good DIY’s.

    If you decide to do so, please advise. I’ll be watching for updates.

    Thank you.

  75. Manny says:

    Dear Mike,

    Make no mistakes, The Halogen Torchieres you find today are still UNSAFE! Yes even the Homes model you just purchased from Fred Meyer. This is the same product that was found to be UNSAFE by Date Line in 1998.

    The 300-Watt “J” Bulb provides 4800 Lumens of light and reaches temperatures exceeding 1100 degrees. Because the Bulb Application is Horizontal the actual amount of light provided is approximately 4100 Lumens. The product LOST its UL Certification for almost 3 years, and was limited to 190-Watt maximum bulb.

    (Editor’s Note: The rest of this comment has been deleted due to product promotion)

  76. Ogglebog says:

    OK people, I’m going to make a batch. For those who want the real thing.
    500 watts to help with your depression and enough heat to warm up a cool corner of your room. Unsafe? YOU BETCHA! Sadly, though, the $12.99 home center specials are a thing of the past – I can’t find any 300w lamp bodies locally. Amazon online prices are much higher, plus the shipping, comes to $50 for just a basic model, black or white. Then, add $15 for the floor dimmer and $6 for the new bulb (german Sylvania). Next, add the cost of reboxing and shipping the unit pre-assembled into two sections (easy assembly for the end-user), with bubble-wrap, peanuts, etc. probably $20. Finally, I’ll want $35 per lamp to order the stuff, unpack it all (pain in the butt), perform the conversion, burn it in my home for a week to ensure reliability, and handle the returns of garbage units to ensure all the modded lamps are “good ones” in terms of fit and finish. The external dimmer could be easily replaced when it fails – the lamp pole will no longer have a switch and the hole will be properly closed with a nice cap. Your total would be $126. I suppose I could ebay the item, but then add another 10% for ebay/paypal fees. Anybody interested? Sound off!

  77. Mike D. says:

    Manny: I’m pretty sure you’re incorrect about today’s torchieres, especially the Holmes. Please show me some documentation that these are the same torchieres “condemned” in 1998 by Dateline. The models that were around in 1998 were quite different, to my recollection.

  78. Rug Roller says:

    It’s great to see both Ogglebog and Manny trying to do something about this problem, in their different ways. Whether or not Manny is right about the safety issue (and the aggressive salesmanship certainly wasn’t a good choice for this thread), I’m interested in his lamps — they certainly look nice. If anyone buys one, I hope they’ll let us all know how it pans out.

  79. Manny says:


    I am sure you are INCORRECT!!!!!!!! This is one topic you do NOT want to go toe to toe with me. The Torchiere you just purchased from Fred Meyer, Imported by Holmes, Is the same OLD OUTDATED AND UNSAFE DESIGN that caused all the fires and in some cases death.

    Today’s version now requires a Wire Guard Over the Top of The Shade to prevent anything from coming into contact with the Bulb and thus catching fire! There are also other precautions that are take by some importers would include a Tip switch so if the lamp starts to fall the lamp will turn off.

    It was found by DATELINE (NBC) in 1998 that even with these new safe guards these lamps manufactured with this design are still UNSAFE!

    UL (underwriters’ laboratories) also came to the same conclusion and for a period of time would NOT Certify this design using a 300-watt bulb, the product was limited to 190-watts.

    The design is UNSAFE PERIOD! I can tell you this as I have been directly involved with this product since it was first introduced in 1987.

    Additionally, Major retailers, because of the airings on Dateline, chose to pull the product from their shelves and no longer offer it because of the Fire Dangers this product possess.

    Lastly, The old design can ONLY use the pencil thin 300-watt “J” Bulb in its operation. When the Bulb needs to be replaced chances are the consumer will NOT have one lying around. So the Lamp becomes Inoperable until a replacement bulb is obtained! Additionally, there is NO energy capability with this product WHAT SO EVER!

    (Editor’s Note: The rest of this comment has been deleted due to product promotion)

  80. Ogglebog says:

    In defense of Manny, I will say that he chose an excellent venue to promote his product, and that his product looks very fine indeed. Their website has a particularly good “history lesson” of the halogen torch, worth checking out. The Park Ave lamp is great for someone who wants safety and is satisfied with 4300 lumens of light. But in defense of my original concept of returning to the old technology, prior to UL interference, which is certainly dangerous in CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, and definitely looks frightening under STAGED filmographies, I will casually mention that the 500w Sylvania J-bulb is rated at 8750 lumens, which when reduced by the rough 20% loss for horizontal application, still pumps out something like 7000 lumens. At 1700 degrees of course!

  81. Ogglebog says:

    As an aside, and to further enlighten ignorant folks as to the program “Dateline,” these are the same people who publish that excruciating “To Catch a Predator” series in which the staff goes out fishing for child molesters on the internet and then sets them up for a meeting and subsequent prosecution. Now, I am in no way trying to suggest sympathy for the accused persons on that program, but if you look at the manner of the production and the aggressive nature of the producers, you might see some similarities to the cheap shock-value sensationalism that has scared so many people in regard to these torchieres. Sure, child molesters are out there, and they are dangerous people. But going out and pretending to be a child so that a criminal will respond is sort of like setting up a torchiere lamp and then throwing a curtain on top of it. Well, maybe that analogy is a little weak. My point is that they are just trying to sell a spot on prime time and will do pretty much anything to get you to LOOK LOOK LOOK!

  82. Mike D. says:

    Manny: And one topic you do not want to go “toe-to-toe” with ME on is getting aggressive on my blog and pushing your own product in the comment threads. Normally I delete all suspicious product promotion on my blog but I left yours up and gave you a chance to respond but instead you repeated your undocumented claim about the Holmes torchiere with no evidence whatsoever and then repeated your product pitch.

    Now I will continue with the deletion of your pitch.

    Here is what I do know: the torchiere that I purchased exceeds the UL 153 Safety Standard developed in 1999 (after your favorite Dateline report). That is all I know at this point, and that’s kind of enough for me. While your lamp may be “safer”, that does not imply that all other lamps are therefore unsafe.

  83. Rug Roller says:

    Seems to me, the main reason NOT to take a chance on one of Manny’s lamps is the rather wildly inappropriate tone of his posts on this thread. Makes you wonder.

  84. Chris says:

    Wow! I was just looking online for a halogen torch lamp to replace my 10 year old one that seems to have died…and ended up here at this blog that’s been going for close to a year-and-a-half!

    My current 300W halogen torch lamp, located in the office area of my home, started acting funny about 2 weeks ago. “Funny” meaning the switch wasn’t working right. It’s one of the ones that doesn’t have a true dimmer, just a 3-way swith with off, low & high as the choices. Lately I couldn’t get it to go to low very easily…it would just immediately go to high when turning it on. Then last night I went to turn it off and it wouldn’t turn off…then it started smoking at the 3-way switch. So I unplugged it.

    I put an incandescent torch lamp from another room in the office where the halogen was, and there is just no comparison to the halogen for light output. So it looks like I’m going to pick up a replacement from Amazon.

    Thanks for all the info…and I promise to use the same common sense that I’ve used over the last 10 years and will not put it near anything flamable like curtains, and will not put it where it would be likely to be knocked over.

  85. Ogglebog says:

    Hey Chris, glad you joined us. The shoddy 3-way switch should never be used period. If your new lamp comes with another one, just switch it on high and then leave it alone. Go to Lowes and buy a floor-foot dimmer to plug inline with the power cord. This will save the pole switch and allow you to easily replace the only moving part when it fails next time. As an alternative, plug the lamp into a wall-controlled outlet, if your office space has one. Best of luck, be safe, and enjoy!!!

  86. Chris says:

    I like the idea of the floor-foot dimmer. Sounds like good advice. I’ll do it. Thanks!

  87. Alexander says:


    I am interested in those lamps you’re making. So please contact me through my website. I just moved to the US from Europe about a year ago and I couldn’t understand why finding a good halogen 500w torchieres with a foot dimmer was such an impossible quest. Then I came across this blog and discovered to my dismay that my favorite floor lamp had been banned because some people made a hobby out of throwing their drapes and t-shirts over them.

    When a person burns himself by putting his finger over the fire we do not blame the fire. I fail to see the difference when it comes to torchieres. It’s not as if they spew napalm after 100 hours of use. But if you put cloth on top of them, they will burn it. But put a piece of cloth over a kitchen stove and it will burn too, but that doesn’t mean we ought to ban kitchen stoves. It only means people should exercise caution and be responsible when using them.

    Legislation should protect the rights of the responsible instead of defending the safety of the careless at the expense of the careful.

  88. Ogglebog says:

    Greetings again, Torch addicts! As promised, I have finally completed a few 500w lamps, and the ebay auction has begun. These are the brightest torchieres available on the planet. Search terms: 500w FLAMETHROWER (hee hee)

  89. Nicholas says:

    My mother just tried to throw out her old 300 watt halogen torchiere (dangerous model, no cage at all) when it started smoking and stinking every time she’d turn it on. For the first time in a year, I was glad I’ve been living here temporarily to halt the potential tragedy! I rescued it from the trash and took a looksee in the “bowl” to find perhaps forty dead insects trapped beneath the metal heat shield that’s under the bulb. A little disassembly and a few moments spent with a damp rag was all it took to clear out their toasty little carcasses. No more smoke or stink since!

    Now I just need to order a new switch and it’ll be all set for another fifteen years.

  90. wayne says:

    I just found an older black one like my oldest one which is at least 15 years old. It was at a resale store here in Plano TX. Wanted 25 bucks for it and got it for 15. I have two more of the newer types with the 3 way click switch and also a couple of dead ones for parts. I am going to try sanding the contacts on one of them when I get time. My mother had one I got her when she started needing good light to read by. I went home to find out my sister had taken it away from her because it was unsafe. Arrrr!! I have plenty of 300 and 500 bulbs so I am good for a while I hope. Really enjoyed the comments and may have actually learned a few tricks

    pleased in plano

  91. camxn says:

    I AM ONE TOO…i love these lamps. I grew up with these for the past 18 years of my life and I’ve never had any fear of my place burning down…mainly because there are no other fire “hazards” around the lamp. They all say max 300watt but i’ve been using 500watt bulbs and it’s fine. I went to college and when I came back, my mom had thrown one away…i was quite heartbroken…and I can’t seem to find them anywhere in southern cali….

  92. Ogglebog says:

    Welcome camxn and all other new bloggers! When you finally find a new 300 watt lamp, you’ll discover a thermal override that totally prevents the 500 watt output, even though the socket is still sized and indeed rated for 500. Also, incredibly, the very latest issues I was lucky enough to find at a regional homebox actually have a small circuit breaker which must be manually reset to thwart even the most determined addicts.

    And, to address the corrosion problem mentioned by Wayne and few earlier guys, I am now using a product called NO-OX-ID grease. You’ll want the
    “A-Special electrically conductive” version of this product, which will seal the connection between the bulb “bowl” and the contact pin or spring. A tiny dab will lock out air/humdity and prevent sparking, pitting, and corrosion at that critical hi-amperage bridge.

    Of course, I must plug my auction again. This time I am also offering a “classic” version in which I will install a 500w pole dimmer for people who like the original fuction. Admittedly, my lamps are pricey, but at this point, what you really want is simply no longer available and must be hand-built. I have a regular job and family life and so I must be paid for the time to make these units, since I am giving up precious leisure opportunities.

    And, if I can ever figure out how to add music to my ebay auction, the
    500W FLAMETHROWER page will also play “Burnin’ Down the House” by the Talking Heads. Does this idea mean that I am sick ???

  93. NightTrader says:

    I love my original torchiere. It’s like an old friend, keeping me company near the desk in my home office while I’m busy learning how to trade ETF’s on stock markets open in other time zones.

    I find changing the amount of light a little from time to time seems to ease the eyestrain of staring at a computer screen.

    Keeping it free of insects and accumulating dust is important and alleviates the ‘snap, crackle and pop’ of burning residue.

  94. Kate says:

    I have an old spanish home with lovely dark tile floors and dark wood cathedral ceilings. The only thing that will light up that room is my beloved old 500w halogen lamp. But the switch is going out. Can I get the switch fixed? Also I have an old 300w halogen lamp as well. I don’t think it has the safety features of the new models, so can I use a 500w bulb in it even though it says 300w max???

  95. Rug Roller says:

    A couple of questions for the more technically proficient among you:

    1) These lamps have been failing on me awfully fast since moving to our current apartment. The building has very old electrical, i.e., far lower supply than what people use these days, so high-voltage items (like our electric radiator, air conditioner) overtax the supply (noticeable as weaker output from a halogen lamp in particular). So could this be the reason they’re failing? If so, is it likely to be the dimmer switch that goes? (Before dying, they tend to do some flickering on and off for a week or so.)

    2) Is there anything I can do to prevent or work around this (besides upgrading the building electricity at $40,000)? If it’s the dimmer, can I take it out and bypass it, and would that set the lamp permanently “on” — in which case I would need a floor dimmer or switch? How hard is this to do for a generally handy but not electrically knowledgeable person?


  96. Rug Roller says:

    The Lamps, The Bulb, is failing due to a power surge. If the lamp gets
    hit hard enough it will cause the Bulb and The Dimmer to both fail
    prematurely. The best thing to due is to plug the lamp into a Surge
    Protector. This will help to keep the flow of current constant and thus
    dramtically reduce the likely hood of the Bulb & Dimmer from being hit with a
    strong enough power surge to cause them to fail. For more info on the
    history of the Halogen Torchiere, go to parkaveent.com.

  97. Ogglebog says:

    Hi Rugroller, for your dead lamps, you are best off to completely tear down and rewire. External dimmers are more robust, internal dimmers are stripped down, most lacking the RFI noise choke as a compromise for the small space inside the tube. Tools required: phillips screwdriver, pliers, cimpers, patience, and gentle hands. All the threads on these lamps are very fine and soft metal, too, which means you should concentrate on what you’re doing and not rush anything. Go to my ebay auction page (500w Flamethrower) where I have posted 12 photos detailing the various stages of a torch rework. You could print those pics and then take to a hardware store and ask for help. The fiberglass wire wrap is VERY important and impossible to find except in 100ft rolls. You can reuse yours if still in good shape. Make sure all wiring is heat protected to at least 3 inches south of the head fitting.

  98. Rug Roller says:

    Thanks, Ogglebog — very useful photos at your auction. Figuring the dimmer was a solid bet to be the source of trouble, I went ahead and bypassed it this weekend (before seeing your blog post), and the lamp now works. A couple of follow-up questions:

    1) There was no fiberglass wire wrap at the existing connections (to the dimmer), just a plastic crimp cap as pictured at your auction and what seems to be a rubber cap over that. I used electrical tape and then the rubber cap, but do you think that’s unsafe?

    2) Since I haven’t messed with any of the wiring north of the dimmer, I assume that I don’t need to worry about “making sure all wiring is heat protected to at least 3 inches south of the head fitting”? The head fitting being where the bulb is? (sorry about my lack of technical vocabulary here.)

    3) What kind of external dimmer do you recommend? I bought a Lutron one rated for 300w (all I could find at Home Depot), but the one you’ve got on your auction looks more substantial.

  99. Ogglebog says:

    Fiberglass in only necessary inside the reflector bowl, the head fitting, and about 3 inches below. The factory is usually stingy with the heat wrap; I like to isolate both wires with smaller guage wrap, and then completely cover the whole shebang with a large tube of it. The idea is to completely ensure that if a meltdown occurs of the plastic wire insulation, there is still protection from current flowing between the wires (short circuit), or from the wires to the metal body of the lamp (giving the user a nice ZAP). It sounds like you are ok simply to leave well enough alone and repair the lamp by bypassing the original dimmer. Good dimmers are about as hard to find as the elusive torch lamp, but I would suggest a search for specialty sites of lamp repair parts, or in some locales one can find charming little “niche” stores which offer custom lamp work on antiques, etc. The main part of the dimmer which endures the fiery hell is called a “triac.” This small black component must be affixed to a strip of aluminum or copper to wick away the heat it produces – the heat sink. Look for a dimmer that has not skimped on this part. Also look for a small coil of copper wire which is the RFI noise filter, another part frequently ommitted for cost and space.

  100. janet says:

    I too am missing the good old days when you could walk in almost any store and buy these lights. For elderly people with macular degeneration, they can’t be beat! So I am always looking for them, since my mom and aunt both have that. I have 3 of them around the house that no longer work, but now have hope, after reading some of these posts, that they can be fixed. But I haven’t been able to find the pics that you were talking about on your ebay page. Could you tell me how I can find them? I’d like to try my hand at maybe fixing them. Thanks! Janet

  101. Ogglebog says:

    My current auctions are closed; suppliers for the lamp bodies are running away from me and screaming as they go, but as I await new stock you could search for COMPLETED items on ebay with the search terms, “500W Flamethrower” for the photos of the internals and what not. Most any handyman/homerepairer type of person could breathe new life into a torch with mininal expenditure on parts. Go for simplicity and raw power. Even a basic $2 on-off toggle switch could bring back the blazing glory you so desire. Charred/corroded bulb contacts can be sanded back to life in a jiffy. This is not rocket science, people.

  102. Rug Roller says:

    janet writes: “I have 3 of them around the house that no longer work, but now have hope”

    Ogglebog writes: “Most any handyman/homerepairer type of person could breathe new life into a torch with mininal expenditure on parts.”

    I’ll personally attest to the latter. I know I shouldn’t generalize from an N of 1, but it seems like the dimmer is the first place to look for a culprit, and bypassing it takes about fifteen minutes — and that’s for someone who has never done much of anything electrical and gets nervous about it. Just unscrew the joint below the switch, unscrew the switch cap, pull at the cable until the dimmer comes out, snip off the cables above and below the dimmer, reattach them to each other (make sure to mate the ribbed and smooth cables), insulate, and put everything back together. Now the lamp is hardwired on, of course, so you’ll need an external switch or dimmer unless you want to manually plug and unplug it each time.

    If only I had known before throwing out all those failed lamps!

  103. Ikari says:

    Ogglebog, I just took a look at one of your auctions. You are officially my hero for the next 15 minutes… 14 of which spent laughing at the ‘Burning Down the House’ soundtrack and the middle-finger-to-the-safety-features pics.

  104. Alex says:

    Wow, I’m so glad I found this site of halogen torchiere devotees! I accidentally discovered the greatness of these lamps only last year (I’m a gen-Y-er yet so behind!), when I helped a lady move and she left me to deal with what she didn’t want to bring along. So I acquired a pre-safety update 300w lamp, and all of a sudden I realized how dark my bedroom has been for the past 18 years! My room felt twice as large! Laundry stains were suddenly visible prior to washing! I could read in bed and and just reach over to turn out the lights when I was almost asleep! The world was a better place!

    And then one fateful day, the lamp suddenly stopped working. The bulb was fine, the socket was fine, and I didn’t realize the treasure I had, so I just put the lamp out to pasture.

    After several months of searching online, craig’s list, in Goodwill stores, I found an updated version 300w halogen online at Target! Oh glorious day! And, for several months, this poorly-constructed, slightly bent, style-impaired lamp and I basked in the glow of it’s halogen-induced serotonin-producing harmony.

    But then came this morning. I was slightly moving the lamp a few inches when the ill-fitting screwed-up attachment between the base and the bottom poll snapped in half. Now, I know these little gold things weren’t designed for the lamp but with enough elbow grease and bending they fit together reasonably well. Little did I know their achilles heel would be in the very core of it’s construction – the one part I can’t mechanically fix! This is one job too tough even for super glue. If only I had kept that old lamp, I could have harvested its organs to save this new one. It’s tragic.

    So now I’m on another quest to find a bright light, dangerous or not. I don’t have any pets or clumsy drunk friends to raise my fire-risk level, nor do I feel the need to put fabric over this six+ foot high poll rather than on a hanger. But none can be found. Thanks alot to the lovely folks who ruined this wondrous creation for everyone else.

    I have my engineer brother hard at work (or am trying to convince him to be) designing a smarter, more readily available bright lamp. He doesn’t understand my need for light. The light of his computer screen is enough for him.

    So if anyone out there knows of any solution to this – a different lamp, a place to buy the fixtures that attach the polls, or a way to genetically engineer myself to produce great magnitudes of light, I’d be greatly appreciative! And Mr. Mike, Thank you for this site! You should put a stat-counter on the bottom so the world will know how many people still want these lamps!

  105. Kafka says:

    PRODUCT REVIEW: Park Avenue Enterprises 250-watt halogen lamp

    I decided to try out these lamps after reading this blog.

    They aren’t bad looking — sort of retro-futurist. The lighting is fine — I don’t notice much difference compared to the 300-watt ones I’ve had in the past.

    The quality, however, seems to be no better than the late-model ones that everyone complains about here. Within a month, one of them stopped working. Following the helpful instructions above, I tried removing the dimmer, and indeed that turned out to be the problem. The second one I only put together a couple of weeks ago, and it has already stopped working. I’m assuming it’s the dimmer again. As recommended in the instructions that came with the lamps, I ran both of them on surge protectors. Sigh…

  106. Alex says:

    Thanks Kafka for that review. I was contemplating buying one of those but now I will reconsider. I hope if anyone else finds something similar that doesn’t break they’ll let all of us know!

  107. Kate says:

    Does anyone want to answer my question above???

  108. janet says:

    it seems like i remember if you go thru all the posts that the issue of using 500 watt in a 300 watt is addressed somewhere. Might take you some time to find it, but it’s entertaining reading, if you don’t mind reading some of “the grouch’s” rantings. I have used 500 in a 300 and didn’t see any difference…maybe need to keep flammable curtains 18 inches away instead of 12 inches. hehe :)

  109. Ogglebog says:

    To reliably start a fire, you need the 500 watt. 300 watts will, on occasion, only produce a diminutive plume of smoke, but no flames. Neither 18 inches, nor 12 inches, is close enough to derive the desired effect. Cloth must be in contact with the lamp head, directly touching either the glass shield; or in the case of the 500w, the outer rim of the reflector shield will suffice. Generally, fabric made of cotton or cotton blends ignite better than synthetics, alghough the 500 at full power will make quick work of pretty much anything you throw at it.

    500w IS noticeable brighter than the 300. Newer lamps with safety technology may not allow the extra lumens through because of their current limiting circuitry – no matter how high a bulb wattage in installed, the amperage is limited. Others will cycle on and off via thermostat. And still others will work temporarily until the 300w rated dimmer module overheats and dies.

  110. James says:

    I picked up one of these in college, and it served me well all the way through. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Seattle (Yay six months of winter overcast). The brightness was wonderful, as it helped to keep away the SAD (depression due to lack of sunlight) and to wake me up in the morning. After about a year in Seattle, the dimmer died. I’ve held onto it for the past 6 years, through two moves.

    I finally caved to my GF’s request to toss it, but what should be waiting at the dumpster, but another similar lamp with a smashed reflector bowl. I quickly opened it up and cut out the dimmer. 20 minutes later, it was transplanted into my lamp, which now stands back in its corner, emitting that oft-missed wonderful bright light.

    As my apartment is electrically heated, the electricity that’s wasted as heat output is not a concern. It’s just that much less work that the actual heaters will have to do. I don’t plan on using it all that much during the summer, as there’s plenty of light.

    The new dimmer, however, does buzz madly at low settings. You think they could at least have designed a reflector bowl that didn’t resonate with the 60 hz line frequency. I’ll be looking into a quality external dimmer solution sometime before next winter.

  111. Connie says:

    I have been looking for these lamps also becasue I love a well lit room but I found out that they are hard to find. I found some on AMazon but the shipping price is double the cost the lamp which was only $34. To ship two lamps would have been $120.00!! But I was in my bedroom and suddenly the smoke detector went off so I got up on a chair to disengage it and looked to my left and my lamp was smoking!! Now I do not know what to do becasue my 150 watt is just not bright enough for me!! I found a 200 watt lamp which is two 60 watts but not sure it will be bright enough? Woe is me!

  112. Larry Brown says:

    Wow…that’s a big load of comments for this topic! You’ve got good readership and participation! I got tired of reading the comments about 25% thru, so please forgive if my observations have already been stated by someone else.

    I like these halogen lamps because they are really bright. Bright is good! Bright is happy! My wife gets depressed with interior lighting that is not bright and happy. I don’t get depressed, but I agree that bright and happy is good. Someone here mentioned subtle indirect lighting complimented by intense spot lighting in work areas. I’m sure that’s great in some interiors, but that also creates shadows in work areas and I hate that. These 300W halogen lamps get the job done, anything less than these is anemic.

    I have trouble with my Torchieres burning out. They tend to burn out the contacts that mate with the bulb. The contact gets burnt and black. To avoid that, I’ve found that
    #1: Sylvania type T bulbs have gold plated contacts that I think will resist burning up better.
    #2: I’ve found a local supplier that sells me a less expensive type T bulb in plain packaging, those have silver looking contacts, which is probably tin, and that may contribute to my lamps getting destroyed.
    #3: The same local supplier also sells me replacement contacts for my lamps. These are spring loaded contacts in a ceramic housing. It’s not too difficult to pull the lamp apart, unscrew the burnt contact(s), cut the wire, rewire a new one in using a wire nut and then screw it all back together. I pay more than $15 for my lamps, closer to $100, so it’s worth a $3 part and some work to repair my lamps. I’m working on a system right now so that I can wire in quick disconnects into the lamp, so that I don’t have to cut the wire or bother with a wire nut when putting in a new contact.
    #4: Those T type lamps aren’t cheap, so it might be worth it to find an online supplier where you can buy them in bulk for a better price.

  113. Larry Brown says:

    Regarding Ogglebog’s advice to sand the burnt contacts back to life…don’t bother trying to do that. They will just crips back up in a short time. I burnt contact has lost its plating, which was probably tin but on better contacts is gold. Without this plating the contact will fail quickly, it won’t be worth the effort to disassemble the lamp and sand. It might do if you really need that lamp going tonight. Instead of sanding, find a lamp store, locally or online, that will sell you new contacts and replace the burnt ones with new ones.

  114. Rich T says:

    Amazing long-lived blog comments. Much longer than my last 8 halogens have lasted.

    My first ones cost me $300 in the late 80’s, but they were great lamps, until the dimmers broke. I was comfortable enough cutting them out and taping the wires together, but maybe I was just braver then. it was a good decade or so.

    All the units I get nowadays are the kind you have to screw together, and they never seem to go in smoothly, or evenly, and my hands are *killing* me after putting one of them together, and Iend up with a crooked lamp to boot (that probably has a higher probability of tipping over).

    A couple of days ago my third out of four that I bought last November gave out. We never saw it go, the light just didn’t work when we turned it on. The bulb was all black, and it must ave shorted out the whole thing when the bulb went.

    In 20 years with up to 7 at a time on around the apartment, I’ve never had a fire, but with a kid now I have more reason to worry. Plus, one of the prior ones broke by just breaking at the base and tipping over (fortunately, it leaned against something else). But also, one of the ones I was putting together last November, when I plugged it in for the first time, make a large POP! and then sparks started to fly. Iquickly unplugged it and threw it away.

    The quality of the cheap models I’ve bought for the past 10 years or so now scares me; there’s too much that can go wrong even if we know what we’re doing. To continue an analogy raised by someone else here, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a gas oven that had some kind of defect that would cause it to explode once in awhile even with proper use.

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here: what seems to be called a down light. The brightest 300’s I found were on a model that had frosted glass on the bottom of the rim, so the light went up to the ceiling, but also straight down. I’ve gotten others with the same idea, but poor enough execution as to not help as much as the first batch.

  115. dizzle says:

    I bought my first 500w halogen torchiere in 1994 in preparation for my freshman year of college. It stayed with me through about 2002 or so, when it died. I’ve since replaced it with a CFL torchiere that I purchased with the help of a coupon provided by the local power company. The torchiere doesn’t use standard compact fluorescent bulbs, it uses the “GE 2D” bulb, which I actually kind of like, though the dimmer doesn’t have nearly as much range on this lamp as the halogen torchieres had. The lamp has lasted a good long while now (6 years, I guess), and while it’s not quite as good as my halogen torchiere, I think it’s a suitable replacement.

  116. To Rich T & Dizzle.

    Todays updated PATENTED Halogen Floor Lamp Is available. As much or more light then the Old, Outdated, Unsafe 300 Watt version but also allows the use of an Incandescent or Fluorescent Bulb. Look up parkaveent.com for ALL the information.

  117. Kafka says:

    As stated above, I bought two of these Park Ave. lamps awhile back, and the dimmers failed on both within months (despite being on surge protectors). I’m surprised they’re still hawking them here. And what’s with the vintage 1963 Salesmanship Hype!?

  118. Mike D. says:

    Kafka: Agreed. I think at this point, I will recommend that NO ONE PURCHASE A LAMP FROM PARKAVEENT.COM. As one can probably infer from the comments made by customers on this blog entry, they do not appear to be quality lamps and they break quite easily.

    So that’s my recommendation: don’t buy.

  119. Kafka says:

    Okay, now I’m REALLY pissed at these Park Ave lamps (and folks)! I had fixed one of them by bypassing the dimmer and using an external one, but a couple of months later the bulb blew (despite very infrequent use). So I thought I would get the bulb from the one I hadn’t fixed yet, but that one turned out to have blown too! In fact, the metal at the base of the bulb had melted so completely onto the bottom of the socket that it won’t come off. (Similar melting seems to have occurred with the other bulb.)

    Does anybody have any idea as to whether this would be the fault of the shoddy lamps or shoddy bulbs? I.e., should I even bother to get new bulbs (from a different supplier of course) for these pieces of cr*p?

  120. Toim Hudson says:

    I have a halogen torchiere I bought in August 1993 which is still functioning. It survived about six moves, including one 1,500 mile relo. It’s a 300W model and I’ve had a 500W bulb in it since October 2001. I turn the dimmer to about 75% and it lights up a room great for hours.

    Back then, I had one common area to light. Now I have three, but alas, just the one lamp.

    I occasionally wander into home improvement stores or lamp stores to see if I can find the good ol’ standby, and am disappointed to find incandescent-only torchieres that cost a minimum of $40. WTF? More than twice the cost for something that sucks. I kept thinking to myself, “What happened? When I was in colelge, these things only cost $15…”

    Well, now I know. Disappointed, but I’ll see what I can find online. Unfortunately, we have no Fred Meyer-type stores in Dallas.

  121. MKat says:

    I have a somewhat different halogen torchiere story that may give a few people some pause. I’ve been using a halogen torchiere from a very reputable lighting manufacturer for the last 19 years or so. It’s from before the additional safety features, but I’m very careful, keep it away from walls and fabrics, and don’t have small kids or pets. I keep it free of dead bugs and wear new latex gloves when changing the bulbs. So I figured I was safe from all the fire issues.

    Well, there was one possibility I hadn’t thought of. Last week the 150 watt bulb I had in there spontaneously exploded, showering hot glass all over my living room. The hot glass burned a hole in my loveseat and scorched my couch cushions.

    I have no idea why that explosion occurred. The bulb was from a well-known company, was purchased at a lighting store not a big-box store, and was the recommended wattage. There were no power surges. The lamp had been on for a while. It was just sitting there. One moment it was fine, the next…well, let’s just say I’m glad I wasn’t sitting on those pieces of furniture.

    It’s possible that the newer safety covers would have contained some or most of the glass fragments, but some of the current halogen torchieres I looked at had covers that appeared quite thin and I wonder if the force of the explosion would have shattered the covers as well. As it was, the glass fragments flew more than 18 feet.

    I’m not sure what I’m doing for replacement lighting. As noted by many folks here, the color of the light from halogens is lovely. Right now I’m using an inexpensive compact fluorescent torchiere. The light from it is more yellow and I’m not that thrilled with it, but at least it doesn’t run nearly as hot.

  122. Ogglebog says:

    It sounds like your glass shield was missing. No halogen bulb should ever be burned without this important cover in place. I have never seen a halogen lamp without one, torchiere or otherwise. Glass shields are specially tempered and range in thickness from 1/8 to 3/16. Higher wattage studio scene lighting with bulbs above 500 use a special ceramic glass which is akin to the material used in fireplace doors. There is an online vendor called One Day Glass who will custom make replacement shields (flat type) in tempered glass. And as someone previously posted ahwile back, there are a few websites who sell the half-round and tubular types of shields; I believe one firm was called Harrington Lamp.

  123. Larry Brown says:

    There are several unusual things about this comment:

    The commentor claims to be be a long time user, knowledgable about these lamps, extra careful, and to have gotten it from a reputable lamp dealer, yet obviously the lamp was missing its glass guard.

    A 150 watt bulb in this type of lamp? That’s odd. People like these lamps because that 300W bulb is nice and bright. In spite of the danger and trouble these lamps cause all of us (that’s why we’re here), we use these lamps because other lighting options are anemic. So mention of 150watts raises my eyebrow.

    I’ve used these lamps for over 20 years and have never had a bulb shatter. Anything is possible, but it sounds like a fingerprint to me.

    The commentor guesses that a safety cover might have contained some of most of the glass. He’s obviously never seen one of those safety covers. If he had he would know that such a cover, at most, would slightly deflect shards of glass and wouldn’t contain many, if any.

    All of these lamps were subject to a recall that gave owners the right to claim a safety grid. A person as attentive to safety as the reviewer claims to be would have sent away for that grid.

    The commentor then goes on to say that s/he’s looked at newer lamps but then indicates that s/he doesn’t know the difference between the glass shield and the wire safety cover. S/he also has suspicious contradictory logic in that if s/he was referring to the glass shield when guessing that it would have contained “some or most” of the fragments, that shield would obviously contain all of the fragments.

    That’s a lot of oddities for a single post.

    By the way, here’s a link to someone that sells the porcelain sockets:

  124. Rich T says:

    In response to Larry Brown: I don’t have any axe to grind regarding the honesty of the poster, but I never remember getting anything in the mail about recall notices or a free sheild. Then again, I never bother to fill out warranty cards.

  125. Rich T says:

    As my living room got darker and darker, I had to find something to replace the many broken torchieres littering my apartment. I couldn’t find anything online on black that looked like the couple of working models that remained, so I took a chance on a full spectrum torchiere after the online chat person told me it would be as bright as a 300w halogen. I ordered one as a test. It costs $100, which is certainly more than the $40 or so I paid for the broken halogens, but it was from a place that had its own site with a warranty (which hopefully will be honored if I don’t fill out the card), and it at least *appeared* reputable. And the bulbs are supposed to last for 10 years, but really who knows…

    I was very pleased when it came and I opened the box. First, the styrofoam didn’t break into a million pieces all over me and the floor. Next, installation was a breeze, nothing like the last couple of batches of halogens that took half an hour to assemble and put callouses on my hands. This one took 5 minutes, with virtually no effort. It’s just so much better designed. It looks and feels more solid, too (despite the fact the pole does still look a lot like the other ones, albeit standing straight for a change).

    Then I turned it on to compare to the halogen. Honestly, I don’t think it’s quite as bright as a 300w halogen, but it is very close. However, this light has a couple of advantages to me. First, the full spectrum light does seem more like natural sunlight (to me). Second, the design of the top part has the light going up off the ceiling, like the halogens, but it’s got frosted glass on the bottom so the light goes down as well. When I’m directly underneath the lamp, I think this makes it quite a bit brighter than the halogen, and much easier to read under. Third, it uses less electricity since it’s only 70w, and therefore it is better for my electric bill, and the earth, for what that’s worth. I’ll confess I don’t go out of my way to be ecologically minded, but it’s nice that it kind of comes for free with the other benefits in this case.

    I promptly ordered a couple more after it got my wife’s approval, though she likes the idea of having a mix of these and the halogens, I suspect because the sunlight look of the full spectrum is a bit of a switch from what we’ve been used to. But for now I can heartily recommend them.

    I got them from Full Spectrum Solutions. I don’t have any affiliation with the company other than being a so-far satisfied customer.

  126. Rich T says:

    One other thing: with a young kid around, I’m much less worried about an accident with these lower terperature lamps.

  127. Steve says:

    Well, I never thought they’d take such a great “stylish” item off the market. The dimmer in mine in my office just quit, and I found this blog going online to find out who had the best deal on the 300 watt halogen version with the non-humming dimmer. Now, even the Holmes model is out of stock on every online store, and the ones in the local and national chains are the “less desirable” version.

    I would like to see how many of the problems with these lamps came from real product design issues, how many were the result of good ol’ human stupidity (never underestimate the power of human stupidity), and how many of the stories are contrived embellishments or fancifications.

    I like the “Darwinism” concept of improvement of the breed, so before fire fighters would rescue someone from a burning building set on fire by one of these beauties, they should check to see if that person is the one who threw the shirt on top of the lamp.

  128. chris says:

    Hi my name is Chris, and I’m a 300W halogen addict. I’m so glad I found this group on google!

    I still have a 1993 300W model that is limping along. I have declining eyesight and live in a apt with not so great track lighting and really need a bright lamp. My girlfriends with normal eyesight all hate my bright lamp, but I don’t care.

    The dimmer broke years ago and so it is stuck turned on high which is fine with me. I use one of those radio shack control units which lets you turn on lamps and other applicances from a console across the room by sending signals through the electrical system to a module attached to the lamp.

    Well, I had a scare 3 years ago. I went on a business trip for a week. When I arrived home, the lamp was on and had been on for days! It had gone on by itself due to a power surge. The scary thing is, it must have heated the room an extra 10 degrees! Since then I always unplug the lamp when I will be gone for an extended period.

    Good luck in your quest and I hope as people find ways to buy 300W and 500W models they will post the company and modell number to this blog.

  129. Ronbo says:

    Mike – This site is fantastic. Thanks for the forum!

    First off I found this $39.95 300 watt torchiere on eBay:


    I found this site becausie I was searching for a way to convert my torchieres to to cfl. I love the form factor, but the energy cost where I live has gone insane.
    I figured 3 or 4 cfls standing upright would generate 300-400 watts worth of light for a consumption of less than 100 watts. Even though they would be standing proud of the bowl, I figured a ring of diffuser material would cover the bulbs.

    Any sugestions where I can get some wiring info??

  130. Ogglebog says:

    Wiring should be no problem, as the amperage draw would be small and the heat factor negligible. Average lampcord should be fine, and the socket mounting would be the only hassle; perhaps a simple gravity placement would suffice. The question would be: how is the color of the light? Wil the cfl provide the cozy ambeince we addicts crave, or will it feel like the office at 8AM ?????

  131. jasper says:

    according to whoever answered the phone- halogen torchieres are no more at Freddy’s

  132. Alex says:

    Any more experiences with the Full Spectrum Solutions lights? Plz mention if it’s a torchiere or a floor light, and how the lighting compares to flourescent, incandescent, and halogen. Thanks!

  133. Rich T says:

    I’m very happy with them. I prefer it to the halogen for reading. However, my wife prefers the halogen for reading. She also feels having only full spectrum lights would make the room too white. They are technically fluorescents, though I think it feels better than the traditional type we have in the office.

    We got torchieres (for both full spectrum and halogen).

  134. Joe H. says:

    Hey all, this is a great website.

    Some thoughts:

    1) Dont use the 500 watt versions. They’re just not that necessary. I mean really, do you need more than the sun blazing light of the 300 watt version?

    2) Stop with the home electronics modding of the torchieres. They’re cheap imports from China or wherever and not worth the trouble. I bet a lot of shorts and electrical fires start from people doing unnecessary mods to these things.

    3) If you have a torchiere that doesn’t have a glass shield and a wire mesh, don’t use it and throw it away. It is not safe.

    4) I agree with the previous posters that there has been a lot of stupidity associated with the use of the product that has caused a lot of the problems.

    That said:

    1) I have a torchiere with functioning dimmer that I have had since the mid/late 1990s (perhaps 1998 or so – and stayed with me through five moves), and have been using these things for over a decade now. I agree that there needs to be an alternative that will produce the same kind of light. I am a graduate student and I need proper lighting to read my books. Most other alternatives that I have shopped for simply do not provide the light I need.

    2) I have happily been able to find replacement bulbs at Home Depot. They carry two types. My nearby Office Depot doesn’t carry the bulbs any more. Always use paper towels to change the bulbs and try to touch only the ends.

    3) My torchiere is definitely the worse for wear after all these years (some scratches, unwillingness to function when the lever is at full, dirty), but cant seem to find an adequate alternative. I don’t need mood lighting (though my dimmer still works, but makes a humming sound when too low). I need proper light.

    That’s all I have to say. My two cents.


  135. Jim M. says:

    Great Blog! I wish I had found it much sooner. We’ve had the 300W halogens about as long as I can remember at home, in my office and in our cabin and have never had a safety issue. Of course we use a little common sense and put them at least 6″ away from bare walls (never occured to me to use it as a clothes dryer although it works great for melting shoe polish when shining my boots).

    I have had to rewire them and replace the dimmers a few times but usually get many years out of them. The one in our den is out right now with the fried contacts problem which is really irritating. On the other hand, we tried one of the GE flourescents in the cabin and I had to replace the whole socket assembly after only two years. So much for cost savings… It’s a much cooler light than the halogens and just doesn’t have that magnificent halogen indirect bright light. Halogen forever!!!

  136. Larry Brown says:

    I just repaired a lamp for my mom. Her dimmer burned out. I thought it would be a simple matter to replace the dimmer with a simple rotary potentiometer switch from Radio Shack, but when I removed the dimmer I was surprised to see a big electronic assembly with a transistor and a heat sink. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. A simple rheostat would probably waste electricity and get overly hot. I guess that’s why these dimmers burn out so much, power transistors just give out after a while. Given the size of the heat sink it must be dissipating quite a bit of power. Here’s some advice to anyone trying to repair this type of dimmer: replace the transistor and it will probably be as good as new. Use the Mouser Electronics web site to cross reference the original transistor and find a compatible new one. You’ll need a soldering iron.

    However, I think the dimmer is useless. I never dim mine; I always burn them as brightly as possible. So, instead of repairing or replacing the dimmer, I just cut it out and wired the lamp straight through. The next option is to wire a switch into the lamp cord on the floor. Home Depot has a stompable switch for $5.

    But in my mom’s case, I needed more than that. I wanted my mom to always be able to turn the lamp on from the entrance to the room. But my mom often switches the lamp off when she’s sitting in her chair watching TV (her chair is right next to the lamp). So I needed the ol’ three way switching arrangement. The solution was to get a Heath/Zenith brand remote controllable wall outlet, model SL-6008-WH-A. Home Depot has these for $30 a set. It comes with a remote control and a little outlet that plugs into the wall outlet. You plug the lamp (or any device) into the little outlet and use the remote control to switch the outlet (and thereby the lamp) off and on. As a bonus, this deluxe device even has a “dim” button, and it works great, providing 5 levels of dimming! I got two sets. It is possible to configure both remote controls to the same code as the outlet so that both remotes can control the outlet. I double sticky taped one remote control to the wall at the entrance of the room and placed the other remote near her chair. Now she can always turn the lamp on when she enters the room, even if she had turned the lamp off from her chair. Her dimmer will never burn out again, because it’s gone! If you think $60 is a lot for this project, I agree, but think how much a broken hip would cost as a result of walking into a dark room and tripping over an obstacle.

    The Heath/Zenith unit is expensive but worth it because: 1: It has user configurable codes, 2: it has the dimmer function, and 3: The remote can independently control two devices (but you will need to buy two sets to be able to do that).

    If you don’t need the three way arrangement or the dimmer function, Walgreens has a nice similar remote controllable outlet for only $10. CVS and Walgreens also carry an “as seen on TV” remote controllable outlet for $15. That device has a remote control that looks like the light switch you normally see at the entrance to a room. The other two sets I mentioned have remote controls that look like the remote control for the alarm on your car. The problem with these two sets is that the code is not user-configurable, so you can’t get two remotes to control a single outlet (unless you get verrrry lucky, or buy 16 sets-assuming a 4 bit code).

  137. Larry Brown says:

    Reply to Joe H’s comments:

    >Stop with the home electronics modding of the torchieres.
    >They’re cheap imports […] and not worth the trouble.
    >shorts and electrical fires start from […] unnecessary mods

    Not all lamps cost $10. Some, like mine, cost $100. Those are worth the trouble to repair. Also these great halogen lamps are not easy, or even possible, to find anymore so repair may be the only option. Cutting out a dimmer and putting in a stomp on/off switch from Home Depot is not brain surgery. Anyone a bit handy with a wire nut should be able to do this without a problem. Repairing a dead dimmer or crispy contacts is not “unnecessary.” As a bonus, whenever I do a repair I also do a thorough scrubbing of the bowl, glass shield, and foil reflector tray…you should try that.

    Finally, don’t throw away your lamps that are missing the wire or glass shield, or are otherwise dead. Instead, cannibalize them for the contacts, dimmer, and any other useful parts so that you will have stock for later repairs.

  138. Ogglebog says:

    Answer to Joe’s question #1: Yes. 300 watts is not enough. Just look at all the halogen work lights marketed toward home remodelers – are they 300w? No, they are 500w because that is what you need to see what you’re doing. If 500w sounds like a lot, rememer you are BOUNCING the light off the ceiling. Totally inefficient, but supremely soft and gentle on the eyes.

    A carefully built mod using hand selected parts and individualized assembly by the end user (assuming a non-idiot) is vastly superior than the chinese garbage that comes out of the box. Regardless of wattage, I wouldn’t use any new lamp without gutting every single piece of electrical component and replacing with my own. Properly matched parts, solid crimps, and plenty of heat wrap are key to building a great lamp.

    Good job on the revamp, Larry. Transistors are for DC, an AC transistor is called a triac. A simple “rheostat” for a torchiere would be about the size of a large coffee can, called a variac. These are true voltage reducers and are used in the music recording industry. Very expensive and large, they are the ultimate dimmer. They use pure resistance to reduce the output unlike the small dimmers with heatsink and triac which use a frequency method of cutting the voltage: the bulb actually flashes very quickly, too quickly to see, in order to reduce the apparent light level. The triac is what burns out, not the potentiometer. The part number on appropriate triacs for up to 12amps (1440w) is BTA12B, available from Digi-key, very cheap part. You would need to solder 3 terminals to replace it. Use new thermal grease on the back where it mounts again the heat-sink. Replace the factory rivet with small machine screw and nut.

    As for the glass lens, it is essential for safety. The wire guard can go in the trash, as it has been proven to be ineffective at 500w and casts ugly jailhouse shadows on the ceiling, cuts down the light, and looks terrible on the lamp.

  139. Larry Brown says:

    Hi Ogglebog:

    Thanks for the interesting reply. Your tips on the triac part #, digi-key web site, and the thermal grease are great…thanks. You are right that the semiconductor in the dimmer is a triac.

    Although Ogglebog and I agree that repairing the lamps is fun and profitable, I do not second his opinion on removing the safety grid. The grid may be a weak safety measure, but a weak safety measure is better than no measure at all. My lamps that have a dome shaped safety grid do not put a grid pattern on the ceiling. My flat safety grid does make a grid pattern.

    However, Ogglebog has challenged me on terminology. Just yesterday I was wonder if I could ever accept instruction from someone during a web chat without having to check everything they say and see for myself that they are right. I could not do that with Ogg’s post, so I had to look everything up. I’m glad I did because he was wrong on several points, but I guess I see that I will always be a thorough, but never fast, learner. Luckily none of this discussion really matters. We don’t have to understand semiconductors or inductance to use a wire nut, or to use the Digi-key web site to find a compatible replacement component.

    Ogglebog said:
    1: Transistors are for DC, not AC: That is incorrect.
    2: An AC transistor is called a triac: That is incorrect.
    3: A rheostat for 500W is the size of a coffee can: that is incorrect.
    4: A rheostat for the lamp is called a variac: that is incorrect.
    5: A variac uses “pure resistance:” that is incorrect.

    1: Transistors are used all the time in the audio path of audio circuits like amplifiers. Audio signals are AC.

    2: A triac is a different device than a transistor. Here is an article:

    3: In older dimmers a rheostat was used, just like I expected to see, it’s just that my expectations were 30 years out of date. The triac is used, as I suspected, because it’s more efficient. Here’s a great article on dimmers that describes both the old “rheostat” way as well as the new “triac” way.

    4: A rheostat is defined as a variable resistor. Any potentiometer can serve as a rheostat by using only two of its contacts. The resistive element in a rheostat doesn’t have to be a big coil of wire like you are thinking, any resistor can be used. A rheostat or potentiometer was used to provide dimming for lamps. Variac is more efficient but its size makes it impractical. Here is a wiki article that defines rheostat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potentiometer

    5: A variac uses inductance, rather than resistance. Here’s an article on variacs so stating:

  140. Ogglebog says:

    Well, I suppose I stand corrected on some of the terminology. A triac and a transistor are very similiar in their operation (and appearance), to be sure. When I asked an electrical engineer at work for the triac definition, “transistor, but for AC” is exactly what I got. Too lazy to barf out the real deal, or assuming I am a simpleton (perhaps correctly), he apparently chose to oversimplify. And, I naturally assumed a variac to contain a resistive coil given its size, but now I understand the windings serve to create some sort of magnetic field in order to control the output, rather than offloading the power to a heating element. A totally different beast from either a rheostat or a triac controller, although it does behave much like a rheostat, absent of voltage pulsations while giving off some heat. I still wonder if a simple rheostat has ever/could ever effectively control a wattage like a torchiere without either being massive or burning up the knob. Wouldn’t the resistive pointer loop need to dissipate nearly the same power as the bulb wattage to dim it down? I imagine a very hot loop indeed. Several people have complained about the noise associated with the standard lamp dimmers. Unfortunately, it seems unavoidable since the triac dimmers deliver power in spurts. With the high cost and large size of the variac, a simple rheostat seems ideal, if it would work. I am in the process of building some totally custom torches from the ground up. It would be great to get to the bottom of the best dimmer solution for myself and for others.

  141. wib says:

    Dayummmm……you guys is smart!!

  142. Larry Brown says:

    Hey Ogglebog:

    “transistor, but for AC” may be an oversimplified, but reasonable way to explain triac, except that it leads the student to incorrectly conclude that regular transistors are only for DC.

    Dood…you made me break out some equations. That’s not cool.

    For the following numbers, I used ohm’s law (Volts = Amps * Ohms) and this (Watts = Amps * Volts). I’m not about to type up my calculations. If you want to double check me you just have to do it yourself.

    The rheostat does not have to dissipate the same power as the bulb. It does dissipate *some* power, but the bulk of its work is done by resisting, rather than dissipating, the flow of energy. The power involved is not as big as you might think. 300W at 120V is only 2.5 amps. The 300W bulb is 48 ohms. If you use the rheostat to add in another 48ohms to the circuit you will resist the power and thereby cut back on how much power 120v is able to push through, cutting power to the bulb to only 1.25 amps (150watts) But that’s not because the resistor is dissipating the other 1.25 amps, rather it’s because 120V can only push 1.25 amps through the 96 ohms. Unfortunately there is some loss in the resistor and it does get warm, but nothing like 150W!!!!

    Maybe the rheostat would work for you if the humming is bothersome. But I think a better solution is to use the improved circuits in the “how stuff works” article that I attached that include the inductor to reduce this problem.

    I don’t find that my dimmers hum, but I always run them wide open. However, I do have fluorescent lighting in my kitchen and that hum really does bother me.

    And to Wib: Thanks dude! Always great to hear someone say that.

  143. Ogglebog says:

    Yes, I had a feeling there was an equation that would prove the power dissipation to not be equal, sort of a gut feeling from physics studied years ago. Still, the heat must be quite high, because these suckers are not small, sort of like the coffee can I mentioned earlier in point #3…

    Both variacs and rheostats rated at 300-500 watts are prohibitively large. At REO-USA, specs are 300w : 6″X3″ 500w 8″X4″ About the same diameter as a variac of the same rating while slightly more squat. Lower wattages are smaller, conceivable to pack into a wall outlet box, perhaps this is where you’ve seen them. The big units probably going to be quite expensive to acquire as a special order item whereas variacs can be had on ebay fairly cheaply with good selection.

    No matter how many capacitors the triac-dimmer manufacturers pack in series with the output, I have found that the bulb filaments seem to work-harden over time and will still “sing” at low light levels. The “inductor” you speak of I believe is the magnetic coil? This, as I understand it, only reduces radio intereference, not the vibration of the filament. The capacitors do help somewhat, but not entirely. I am not particularly bothered by the hum, but some people are. I am more annoyed by the short life of the triacs, but sadly the alternatives do not seem practical, unless one favors the exposed, hardcore industrial look of raw components on the desktop.

  144. wib says:

    that would be dudette, lol :)

  145. wib says:

    wow…imagine my amazement when my little podunk local store ran an ad for halogen floor torchiere’s with the 300 watt bulbs! So not believing my eyes, I trotted down there to see what’s up. Sure enough, there they were, like beacons of light in the night…4 of them! So I snatched one up and brought it home, put it together, and voila!! And funny enough, it even screwed together straight…no bends or tilts, lol. It has the cage on the top, but you can’t even see it unless you’re pretty tall, and a switch on the bottom that turns it off automatically if it tips over. The base is a little heavier than my old ones. And a full dimmer switch…with no hums! Not so far anyway. Now what to do with my 3 old broken ones that I’ve been waiting for my sweetie to fix for me? Or for me to get smart enough by reading this website to fix them myself? I don’t know if I can bring myself to throw them away….I’ve been pretty attached to them for a long time now. I’m thinking maybe if I went back and bought the other 3, then maybe I could bring myself to toss them. :)

  146. Chuck says:

    I really want to buy one of the 500w Halogen Torchiere lamps, but I don’t see anything available on eBay. Please let us know if/when you plan on making another batch of these…! Thanks…!

  147. Ogglebog says:

    I list the 500w lamps periodically but erratically as I can find the time to gather the parts and build them. Host lamps are hard to find; “available” lamps advertised on the internet are frequently discontinued or backordered for months. I have wondered if the lamp vendors have caught-on to the aftermarket modding and are afraid to sell to me anymore. Anyway, check later in the week for a possible listing. I think I still have 2 on the pallet.

  148. Larry Brown says:

    Hi Wib:

    Congrats on the great find!

    Since you’re a regular here, and you’ve already blown your cover and told us that you are a woman, why not share your name with us?

    Here’s my advice:
    These lamps burn out regularly. Repair is just a part of ownership. Since we all agree that there is no acceptable substitute for these great lamps, get used to repairing them. In light of that, even if the lamps are inexpensive it’s worth it to repair them and build up knowledge and a parts supply so that it’s as easy as possible.

    Repair time on a lamp is about an hour, plus the time it takes you to get the parts. If you have the parts you need in stock, then about one hour.
    You didn’t tell us how much you paid for the lamp. If it’s $10 then obviously repair may not be a good use of your time, if you can bring yourself to throw reparable lamps away. If it’s $50, it starts to become worth your time.

    The two wear points are the contacts and the dimmer. My contacts burn out regularly. I have located a local lamp store (I live in Houston, a giant city) for the contacts (about $3 per lamp) and I keep them in stock. Thus the repair costs me one hour plus $3 plus two wire nuts plus a pair of wire cutters. If you have a lamp store in town, you could just pay them to repair the lamp. Since you know it’s about an hour and a few dollars worth of parts you know that you should get the repair for something around $20. That would be very smart, leaving you time to tuck in your kids at night.

    I use crimp style wire nuts that I get from Fry’s electronics. They cost me $10 for 100 nuts. That’s not cheap, and they are hard to find, but I like them much better than the twist style wire nuts. I use a wire crimper to crimp them; you can get that at the dollar store or for $5 at the auto parts store.

    Here is a link to the larger crimp style wire nuts (in wire sizes, the lower the number the larger the wire (e.g. 10 gauge wire is thicker than 20 gauge. AWG means “gauge,” somehow). These are good for the lamp cord portion of the lamps around the dimmer switch.

    Here is a link to the smaller crimp style wire nuts. These are good for the wires around the contacts in the bowl. Notice that this $1.99 price is for 15 nuts.

    To repair the dimmer you need to replace the triac. Best advice: Just cut out the dimmer and wire in a stomp switch. That costs you $5 and you will never have that problem again. Otherwise if you really need the dimmer function, still cut out the dimmer and use the $30 wireless switch/dimmer from Home Depot that I mentioned in an earlier post. Otherwise, in spite of his loose terminology, let’s trust Ogglebog and go with the triac part number he supplied. That part will probably cost you less than $1 per lamp. You’ll need a soldering iron and solder; a guy at the pinball convention yesterday was just complaining to me that Radio Shack charges $8.50 for an inexpensive soldering iron, he thought that $3.50 was the right price. $8.50 sounds like a good deal to me. It’ll last you 20 or 30 years, easy. Soldering is easy but you need a demonstration and a little practice. Maybe punch up some youtube video instruction.

    Cannibalize your dead lamps for parts to make as many of them work as possible. Then you will end up with one or two dead ones that you can repair when you get new parts, but in the meantime you’ve got the other ones going.

    Regarding the “leaning lamp” syndrome that you mentioned, don’t accept that. The problem is one (or more) of the tube connectors is cross threaded. This can be avoided with patience. If the tube is hard to twist down, untwist it and try again. If it ends up leaning, undo it and try again. One way is when you start, twist the tube backwards until you feel it bump down, and then start tightening it. That’s one way to get the threads started properly. If it’s really stubborn, try unscrewing the gold connecting ring and flipping it.

    Regarding your sweetie, yeah, that’s a tough one. I’ve got two dead lamps myself sitting in the spare room waiting. In spite of all my vaunted knowledge (see above :-O), what am I doing? Typing all this to you instead of doing those. I must admit, I only do what I *have* to do, when I *have* to do it. Previously my dead lamps sat there for many months until one last one burned out and I *had* to repair them. Then I got busy and did several. Let me give you some insight into male psyche. I hate it when my wife gives up on waiting for me to do a job and then does it herself. It’s a combination of annoyance that she can’t wait another year for me to get around to it, disgust with myself that I am not taking care of business, and pride that only I can hang the pictures properly, not her. It does greatly annoy me, but I have gotten used to her hanging the pictures. Maybe you can give him advance warning that you really want the lamps done and can he commit to this Saturday to do them with you? I do like my wife to keep me company during chores, but if she tries to help it usually leads to bickering (my fault-always).

  149. Ogglebog says:

    The triac part number is absolutely correct. I have one burning right now on the bench. It is bolted to a dinner plate sized plank of aluminum and powering (2) 500w bulbs. It has been removed from the circuit board and extended with wires for a “remote” heatsink. The object is to test and see how large the heat sink needs to be to effetively control the heat for 1000w. The traces on the PCB are a little smallish, so I expect them to burn out since they are only rated for 500w. Probably, I will eventually compose a dimmer of raw materials and heavy gauge wiring for my custom personal torchieres – these will be made from cast iron pipe and large stainless steel mixing bowls. They will have twin 500w sockets (1000w), a remote potentiometer, and a remote heatsink and triac that will be totally exposed for wonderful “geek” effect and very good air circulation. The sink will be copper, hopefully machinined into an artistic pattern and polished. I envision a lightning bolt pattern with the triac mounted smartly on top with a nice braid on the 3 lead wires. I could go even further and devise some sort of “plug and play” triac replacement socket arrangement like another blogger mentioned he does with the socket wiring. Simply walk up to the lamp, unplug the burned out triac, and plug a new one in.

  150. wib says:

    No problem…the name is Janet (now that my cover is blown). Thanks so much for the peek into the male physche (sp?). It is always an interesting and scarey place to go!! lol. No offense intended. Sweetie did collect the long loved/broken lamps and haul them off to the alley…but I promptly hauled them back. He took it really well, so I think there’s hope for him yet. :) Thanks so much for the repair information….you did such a good job, that even a GIRL can understand it!! I”m feeling pumped now…like maybe I could do it myself. Thanks for the links, as I live in a small podunk town, and so parts are impossible to come by. I was in a Fry’s once….years ago…it was a dream come true! I could have spent all day in that place. I did go back and buy all 3 lamps that they had left in the store….I paid 14.00 a piece for them. Too bad it costs so much to mail them, or I’d mail you my broken ones…but it sounds like you have a pretty good stash going already. I am loving ogglebog’s ideas on the new lamps!! Is he a geek or what? Reminds me of my son…he’s a total geek. Perhaps the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree? Maybe he will post some pictures for us! Will you ogg? I wonder if cool graphics of flames would burn off if he put them on the bowl. Hmmmmmm…Or lightning bolts….or a running stick man dragging a flaming curtain behind him. Hehehe….. :)

  151. Chuck says:

    Ogglebog, do you think you’ll be offering for sale any of the dual-500w torchiers…? I understand that you are still experimenting with your design — and I also understand how important that is — a 500w halogen burns at about 1700 degrees, so, running two of them dual would be like having a furnace running in a room, but I’m ready to buy whenever you’re ready to sell…! (Yes, Janet, it’s the testosterone!) I bet you could take one of those dual-500w torchiers out at night and light up the clouds…! Man, I gotta have one o’ those…! Definitely keep us informed of any future selling of these…! Chuck

  152. Josie says:

    Ogglebog, I don’t understand all the technical stuff that’s been discussed here and I’m an old lady who was never handy and will never learn, but I’ve longed to have a 500 watt torchiere again. There is nothing like that kind of light.

    Ive had lots of 500 watt halogen torchiere lamps but the switches broke on every single one of them and I could see no way to fix them. Now I’m on my last 300 watt torchiere. They’re getting so hard to find even on the Internet.

    I checked eBay and don’t see anything listed for 500w flamethrower. I understand that it’s now difficult for you to keep up with the demand, but if you do continue to make them and if you ever do catch up, I’d certainly be in the market for one of your new and improved 500 watt products. :)

    Meanwhile, it’s been fun reading all these comments. I knew there had to be others out there as desperate as I am to continue having halogen torchieres.

    By the way, I do believe those lamps are dangerous, burning as they do at such high temperatures, but I don’t think they should have been taken off the market. It just behooves people to use them responsibly. I’ve always taken good care to keep them away from hazardous locations and materials, I always use new disposable latex gloves for replacing the bulbs, always do it after the lamp has totally cooled down and been unplugged, always carefully replace that glass shield and also the inverted bowl guard grill on the top, etc.

  153. JG says:

    I’m thinking halogen torchiere again for wonderful indirect lighting and heating in my study this winter. If I am going to run an annoying 500watt heater for an hour or so a day, why not a silent 500w lighter-heater? In the warm months I will just use the cool, efficient fluorescents.

    In the early ’90s I had a torchiere, and periodically rewired it, scraped the contacts, and replaced the socket completely at least once. It was quite a moth burner at certain times of the year, but managed with care did not burn down the house. “Moth!” my wife would call, if the smoke plume reached her first.

    I do believe, however, that these are questionable consumer products. Consumers know that chainsaws, boning knives, and shotguns are hazardous. Lighting fixtures as a category seem benign. Torchieres are not.

    Anyway…. my question. The reason I finally disassembled and recycled me old burner was concern about UV exposure to my retinas during many hours of reading. Glass blocks UV, but the glass covers on all the torchieres I have seen do not filter all the light. A lot goes out to the side and bounces off the reflector.

    I seem to remember finding some spectral data on halogen bulbs that concerned me. Has anyone seen any technical details on this? I noticed one of the posts above mentioned complete glass on expensive torchieres.

    I’m thinking of using a Halogen Work Light instead of a torchiere. These are used for lighting rooms during drywall and other indoor or outdoor construction work. They are totally enclosed which would filter the UV better. You can get them on very tip-resistant stands for low prices.

    They also make torchieres look like high art, and get wicked hot of course so very careful operation would be required. Maybe I could paint the yellow stand black and it would look like an art object.

  154. Algie74 says:

    Hooray for this blog! Thanks to everyone for participating in such a lively and informative site. Great to know I’m not a devotee in isolation.

    My plea for help/info: my husband and I bought 4 new LS-984’s (dual torchiere/reading lamp) in Nov. 2006. As of today, only 2 still work. While we haven’t ruled out trying to track down any remaining inventory out there, after reading through this site and others, we’re convinced more than ever of the need to repair these bad boys (which were pricey). We are smart enough to know, however, that neither of us should be monkeying with the innards ourselves. We’re just not mechanically equipped to take it on.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a repair person/shop in the greater NYC area? One would think resources abound considering our location, but we’ve been laughed out of 2 places already, and quoted more than the lamp’s original cost at a 3rd. Any ideas appreciated…

    Viva la torchiere!

  155. wib says:

    Viva la torchiere! :)

  156. Ogglebog says:

    The first halogen torchiere in America came out of Manhattan and was designed and built by George Kovacs in the early 1970’s. Many urban loft-dwellers consider these modern antiques and pay large sums of money for them. Surely, someone in the vicinity reworks them. I would try perusing high-end modern lighting galleries / antique shops and throw out names like Kovacs, Sonneman, etc. Pretend you have a vintage collector piece that needs work and ask for references. Then, you can take your mass-market chinese Litesource lamp to a person who knows what they are doing and will probably do it. But, be prepared to pay. American labor charges are always going to be higher then the asian factory worker’s bowl of rice. Paying more than the lamp’s retail cost is pretty much a given. Figure 1-2 hours labor plus parts. Pay your respects to the late Mr. Kovacs at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/business/27kovacs.html

  157. Larry Brown says:

    Hey Ogglebog:

    Man, you are hilarious. I totally laughed out loud when I read your post about making the art deco sculpture/search light. That sounds fantastic. If you decide to sell one to Chuck, make sure you get a signed indemnity agreement!

    Can you believe that I just had another dimmer burnout? Not in my torchiere, but in my bedroom set lightbridge. It’s all incandescent, but it has a dimmer built into the headboard and I do actually use it so I need to repair it. Do you know what the ohm rating of the pot should be? I have two burned out pots but I can’t get an ohm reading on either one and they aren’t marked. I went to Fry’s yesterday and bought new ones of 50K, 100K, 500K, and 1Meg ohm, so I can try each if I need to. Thanks for your help. In spite of all my hi-falutin electronics speak above, I’ve never repaired a dimmer before. I specialize in just cutting those troublemakers out.

    Regarding your sculpture….Here’s a couple of suggestions: How about using two triacs rather than just one? Then you could just go with the original spec triac and get the same mileage. It’s such a simple circuit it should be easy to modify. Or, just make the second bulb switchable on/off rather than dimmable. Then you can get 1000W full light, or 500W normal light, and dim it down from 500W. With two bulbs built into that salad bowl, you’re really going to get some serious heat pouring out. I wonder if the bulbs can tolerate the increased critical mass. I just use two lamps. My torches are painted white on the inside, I think that helps reflect the light but also helps the bowl not get so hot in case anyone were to touch it.


  158. Ogglebog says:

    Hey Larry, the pot I’m using is a Piher #C1539. It is stamped 470k, but I checked it and it really reads 580k at its max. setting. I ordered it from the Estiluz lamp company because I really didn’t know what I needed and figured that would be a good place to start. It’s a nice pot, all metal and a good size too. You can’t even get a metal shaft anymore on most of the torch pots. The separate Estiluz dimmer module “blackbox” is un-moddable, the whole thing encased in thermal epoxy – can’t even see what caps they use or anything. So, I’m using the Piher pot with a Lutron wall dimmer circuit which came apart nicely and offered up a good harvest of internals, easily un-soldered and reworked. The BTA12 triac is rated for 12 amps which should work okay on 2 bulbs as long as the wiring is thick and heat sink adequate. But, I do like your idea of independent switching for each bulb and may end up doing that if I can’t keep the circuit cool enough.

    On the monster lamps, I will use humongous salad bowls for the reflectors. Either 16 inch or 24 inch diameter, probably 24. This should allow plenty of room between the 2 sockets, at least 8 inches or so. Hopefully, enough distance will keep them cool enough. And, ideally I would mount the sockets to an aluminum platform which would be suspended on small piers, creating an airspace and keeping the bowl cool. The lamp base will also be a mixing bowl, upside-down and filled with concrete. Powder-coated iron pipe as the pole, one piece, no sections.

    But, all of this is a million years away. I’m still working on the triac platform, a neat part that could be used on any of the torchieres. I want the copper plank machined into a lightning bolt shape, but small jobs like that cost a fortune and require a CAD file before anybody will touch it. But it would look so cool mounted on the base of the lamp, having the triac staring up at you and begging the question, “what is that?”

    Expect a small run of maybe 5 pcs. Sometime in the next 2 years. Two for me, one for Chuck, one for Larry, and whoever else gets enthused.

    Open to suggestions for naming the monsters….

  159. Ogglebog says:

    P.S. On second thought I think I’ll shoot for 10 lamps. And I will also send out the salad bowls to the metal shop for a mirror-buffed interior. Enough reflectivity for you?? Exterior to retain the standard brushed satin stainless finish which looks spiffy and is easy on the eyes.

  160. JG says:

    Found this on UV radiation and halogens (see my question above):

    “Myth #4: Halogen is an ultraviolet radiation (UV) hazard.
    False and true, mostly false. A standard incandescent lamp emits about 75 micro watts per lumen(µW/lm) of UV, and unshielded halogen emits 100- 200 µW/lm. (Compare this to daylight, which emits 300 – 600 µW/lm!) However Underwriters Laboratories now requires halogen lamps and/or fixtures to incorporate a glass shield that brings the UV emissions down to a negligible level. For example, an MR16 with a cover glass takes over 30 times as long to emit the same amount of UV as an MR16 without a cover glass.”


  161. wib says:

    I’m totally enthused….I think it sounds awesome! Now the fun starts…coming up with a cool name. Hmmmmm…hey, how about having a contest, and the winner gets a free light??? :)

    Let’s see…..bad ass light….atomic…nuclear….big bang….how about the Alpha Light? As in….the beginning, or the “big bang”? Naw….not bad ass enough. How about….the “fusion light?” Hmmmmm…..this could entertain me for hours

  162. wib says:

    Venus Light….venus is unusually bright right now
    Cosmic Light
    Fusion (fission) light
    Cascade Light
    Plasma Light
    Phoenix Light (how appropriate is THAT name??)
    Alchemy Light
    The Gamma Ray (oh yeah….there’s the bad ass sound)
    Atomic Light
    Nuclear Light
    Hiroshima Light (yes, mike kicks some ass)…with a cool Mushroom Cloud
    graphic. Or the running man on fire graphic

  163. Web says:

    How about: Let There Be Light!

  164. Larry Brown says:

    Hey Ogglebog:

    Thanks for the info on the pot. I’ll try my 500K one first and I’ll bet that it works just fine thanks to your advice.

    When you say “one for Larry,” I guess you mean me? Wow, I’m speechless (both for your generous offer of making a lamp to sell me, as well as from your lamp/sculpture concept in general). Thank you so much. I guess this tech talk has cemented our friendship. Who knew that torchieres could build community like this? hahahaha.

    Re: Ogglebog’s post of 11-10-08: I just read this again and again I totally laugh out loud. The part where you talk about the plug and play triac really gets me and I start snorting. By the way that was me with the plug and play socket wiring, not “another anonymous blogger.” It seems that it’s the pot that goes out as much as the triac, so you might consider making that easy to replace as well.

    Re: wib’s post of 11-11-08: Obviously I don’t blame you at all for retrieving the burnt halogens from the trash. However, in another glimpse into the psyche of the other side, I *hate hate hate* when my wife digs through my trash and retrieves stuff. My wife is a real pack rat and it’s a big problem, remember that show on Oprah? She won’t even let me throw my own junk away. I have to sneak my trash out while she’s in the shower or sleeping. But of course in your case those are your lamps so you are more justified. You’re right about Fry’s as a dream come true, it really is a giant fantasy land that’s super fun. I went there the Saturday after Thanksgiving to pick up a few parts for my dimmers, (hahaha so funny that I’m here chatting about dimmers and then going off on a tangent…THAT ALSO INVOLVES DIMMERS!) and man was it exciting. The place was hoppin’! The parking lot was jammed with people waiting for parking spaces, everyone was milling around inside with a lot of energy, everyone was talking geek talk, we were playing with the remote control race track they had set up. There was a table of freebies and I scored OVER $900 DOLLARS IN FREE STUFF after rebate!!! You read that right, NINE HUNDRED UNITED STATES DOLLARS! THE GREEN KIND! I ran into a few old friends and made more than a few new ones. It was way fun. And yes, I did spend all day there, like about 4 hours.

    I guess some people might consider Ogglebog a geek, but I prefer “totally cool dude.” That goes for you too, even if you are a dudette.

    Re: JG’s post of 11-22-08: Regarding your “art object,” do you know how many surrealists it takes to change two 500W halogen bulbs? Answer: two – one to hold the giraffe and one to fill the bathtub with brightly colored power tools.

    Re: JG’s most recent post: Thanks for the interesting mythological information on radiation. I was just wondering, why doesn’t the glass bulb filter out the radiation just as effectively as the curved glass shield? I mean the bulb is made of glass, right?

    Re wib’s most recent post: Hey Janet: Here’s my entry: THE BOLT OF LIGHTNING by ogglebog. Imagine that stamped on the box with a logo. It’s awesome. Of the names you suggested, I like “The Gamma Ray,” that’s hot.

    Re Web’s most recent post: Regarding your name “Let there be light,” uh…no. First of all that’s blasphemous. Second, that makes an acronym of LTBL which in addition to being unpronounceable, could be construed as “Let’s Torch Buildings Liberally.” I don’t think that’s the message that Ogglebog wants to send. But seriously, that would make a great name for Ogglebog’s corporation that he sets up to sell the lights. He’ll need a corporation to avoid personal liability!

    Re Algie74’s post of 11-22-08: Just get out the yellow pages and start calling lamp stores. I’m sure you’ll have good luck. These lamps are so common and so troublesome that they should know right off the top of their head what you are talking about. You should be able to tell instantly who knows what they are doing and who doesn’t. They should be able to quote you a firm price on contact replacement and dimmer repair/replacement. There’s nothing hard about it so there’s no reason for them to insist that you bring the lamp in for an estimate. Insist they give you a price over the phone and if they don’t play ball, move on. I’m sure you can find someone. As Ogglebog stated, you’re not going to get it done for $15. I would think that $50 would be doable. More than that for an hour’s work and a $3 in parts starts to sound questionable.

    Finally, I reiterate an earlier comment of mine: This is one of the most fun threads ever! I was behind on my replies so now I caught up with this massive post. Hopefully nobody needed 1000 watts to read it!

  165. Web says:

    Oh, sorry, I had also thought of Halogenesis!

  166. LAVERA says:

    The black lamp that has been a part of our family for 10+ years just stopped working. I replaced the bulb and tried different outlets in the house to no avail. I want to save it; help!!

  167. Larry Brown says:

    Lavera: Dude, try reading the thread. You’ll find all the help you need. There’s nothing we haven’t covered.

  168. JG says:

    RE: Mythology of radiation: My understanding is halogen bulbs are made from a type of quartz glass that does not block UV but withstands the high temperature. Not sure how a spectrometer reading is mythological. All this stuff (bulbs, triacs, etc.) is designed by people using relatively verifiable facts and standard tools like spectrometers. Macular degeneration’s association with UV seems to be more than a myth. ;)

  169. Larry Brown says:

    Re: Mythology of radiation and your taking offense to my phrase.

    From your post:
    >”Myth #4″


  170. Chuck says:

    Hopefully, that wasn’t your last 500w torchiere on eBay — it went for $202.50 which is pretty far above any reasonable guess I had for where I should bid. I DO still want one. Any plans to make/eBay any more of the 500w torchieres…?

  171. JG says:

    “Myth #4” : Not offended, just amused. And yes, I forgot the format of the original posting! Oops.

  172. ramen says:

    I do believe after reading this blog I know more about these halogens than Sam Hill! (although who the heck was Sam Hill?)

    I’ve done a bit of looking around on the net though, and can say that finding a halogen torchiere is not hard! They are on ebay all the time, on amazon, and most of the online lighting.com-type stores. So its not much issue finding one. Its getting the higher wattages, like 300w or even 500w, that’s the trick, because unless its old stock they’re all now 180w!

    The other issue of course is getting it dependable and durable! Like all the comments above, my experience over the years has been that the switches burn out, the bulb contacts get all burnt, and the pieces of crap just fall apart. But the LIGHT, the LIGHT, is like nothing else!

    So MY goal at this juncture is to get some torchiere’s with the style that I want, which is brushed steel, and then rework them to use the higher wattage bulbs, and to also then not wear apart so quickly! Pretty much like Ogg, I guess, but you know, not for public purchase.

    There is so much information in this blog here already, but any further spoon feeding would be much appreciated!

    -The actual lamp I am thinking of is the Lite Source LS-80910PS, which are available all over, but are only rated for 180w. I called the Lite Source people and asked if you could put a higher watt bulb in, on which they said NO. Apparantly the bastids put a “breaker” in the lamp in the switch area that cuts the juice if you put in a higher watt bulb! And they also said the bulb fixture itself is only rated for 180w, although I’m not sure I believe this.

    So I guess my questions are:
    -is it easy to get rid of the switch and “breaker,” and put in a stomp switch from Home Depot, or is does this require special knowledge to do correctly?
    -is it really necessary to buy new bulb sockets? What exactly would happen if I use the old ones with say a 500w bulb, if in fact they are just rated at 180w? Will it melt, catch fire, short out, burn out, or what?
    -how about the contacts, is there something I should look for if buying new sockets that will be better resistant to corrosion and turning all black? Because this is a total pain, when the bulbs need to be replaced before they’ve burned out, or the sockets replaced, because corrosion has ruined everything. Or would, regardless of the socket quality, a little anti-corrosion grease be all I really need?
    -is the old wiring adequate guage or would this for safety reasons need to be replaced, and if so, with what guage?
    -and lastly, has anyone given any thought to using a different halogen bulb and socket type altogether than the J type, because I know there are a lot more out there! Actually, in my wanderings on the internet I found the bulb used by that parkaveent guy:


    It’s a little pricy, but would work in a standard bulb socket, which certainly makes things easier! I’ll say of an additional note of interest that I also ran across the exact lamp the parkaveent guy has been hawking, sold with just a regular incandescent bulb, so I guess all he does is buy the lamp, buy these screw-socket halogen bulbs, and then sell the combo on his webpage!

  173. Ogglebog says:

    Good questions from ramen. I know the LS80910 you’re speaking of; it’s impossible to get in any finish. Well, quickly anyway. I’ve waited for months with nothing showing up, then I get emails about backordered for 2 months, and then I wait some more. I really wanted to make a batch of the chromed steel models in honor of this blogsite – the picture up at Mike’s first post is an LS80910PS. I’m pretty sure it’s the same lamp body they’ve been using for years, except this time it has the circuit breaker you mentioned which is easy to cut out. As far as LS’s statement of the bulb fixture being only rated for 180w, I would bet it has one of the dreaded thermal sensors in the head which will also cut the juice if you put in anything above 180. So, that will also have to be cut out and the wiring spliced backtogether (carefully, with plenty of heatwrap). So far, I have yet to see any 118mm J-bulb socket with a wattage stamping less than 500. So, you could probably salvage that stock part, but the rest of lamp would have to be redone including the dimmer, if you decide to use one.

    J sockets at wattages up to 2000w exist, I have one in my possession right now. The ceramic housing looks identical to the 500w version, however the spring contact is much thicker and requires greater effort to install the bulb, providing more tension. All the better, in my opinion, since the “sprung” contact problem seems to arise on the lower powered contacts. I always try to “refresh” the contacts with a small dental pick whenever I change bulbs. It’s also important to evenly displace each contact with a small tool instead of pushing one contact double the distance to clear the other contact. I much prefer sockets that have true coil-spring contacts in heavy brass housings. One of of my older lamps has this type, and the new high-end Europeans lamps all use that type as well. The problem is, they do not retrofit with the popular cheapie torchieres most of us have; i.e. they do not mate up with the reflector/glass shield assembly.

    I have tried the anti-corrosive grease, but it doesn’t last; burns off instantly.

    You need 18 gauge wire for a 500w lamp.

    I like the horizontal pencil type bulbs rather than the vertical screw mount because they are more easily obtained and high quality shock-resistant German units are available. Most everything else Chinese.

  174. ramen says:

    Well I just took the plunge and bought 4 of the LS-80910PB. This is actually the “polished brass” model– decided to switch things up a little from stainless.

    Since this particular lamp seems, at present at least, the most readily available to find, I will come back and post my progress after I work them over. I did call back the Lite Source people, and they claim there is no thermal sensor near the bulb. There is just the circuit breaker near the switch, and also apparently a “regulator” in the actual cord, like a little box. Heck if I know what it’s for, but cut out it will be.

    I had to pass this along on something else I found while trawling the internet. A J-type bulb someone was selling on ebay with 1500W!! I’d like to see that sucker in action, talk about a flamethrower!

  175. Web says:

    Sounds like some people should try a sports stadium light in their living room.
    Maybe the same ones that have Hummers sitting in their garages.

  176. Ogglebog says:

    No Web, I’ve already considered stadium lighting. They are vapor type lamps with a terrible color temperature, although efficient and very powerful. By the way, Halogenesis, Inc. sounds cool as a company name for the monster lamps.

    Ramen: keep us posted on Lite Source delivery. I couldn’t find anybody who actually stocks them; I think they are all drop-shipped from Cali where they come off the boat. There is a supposed “queue” of stock wherein the buyers are pooled by the various vendors. Evidently, I’ve never been anywhere near the top of the list. I don’t think they make very many as the demand has subsided with all the paranoia and such – the anemic (Larry’s adjective) power rating does nothing to help sales either. So keep your fingers crossed.

    The power cord boxes I’ve seen are simple circuit breakers – I’ve cut out many. Lowe’s Portfolio brand used a black box a few years back. Easy fix.

    I don’t buy their claim of a breaker in the switch. Why would they install two defeats, when one would suffice? I suppose it could be a fuse, but I doubt it. The switch is probably weak, however. They would most likely use the cheapest switch that would handle 180w, so don’t use theirs. As long as the socket is 118mm and is stamped 500w (all must have a stamping), you’re good to go. Everything else must go in the trash.

  177. Rich T says:

    I vote for the name “The Ogglebog.” I can hear the voice-over on the infomercial now…

    “The Ogglebog is the only light you’ll ever need. From studio apartments to 80 room mansions, this lamp does it all. It dices, it splices, and boy does it catch fish. Order now and get your free industrial strength clapper.”

  178. Web says:

    Ogglebog, if you like it, register it while you can — or maybe I will! $7.95 at spry.com.

  179. Larry Brown says:

    Re: ramen’s questions of Dec 3, 2008:
    -Yes, it’s easy. You need wire cutters (dollar store), wire strippers (your front teeth), wire nuts (Home Depot), stomp switch (Home Depot).
    -No new sockets. The old ones will work fine. If they can’t handle the wattage, they will overheat and get crispy and stop working. In fact, they’ll do that even if they can handle the wattage. You can then replace them with beefier ones. Since the contacts are all metal and enclosed in porcelain, the risk of fire is minimal.
    -For beefy contacts, you want them gold plated. The higher the wattage rating the better. As Ogglebog has informed us (that guy’s a real fountain of knowledge, isn’t he?), they exist up to 2000W. Get one of those and your problems are probably over.
    -Original wiring is almost certainly OK. 180 watts is only 1.5 amps, 300W is 2.5A, and 500W is 4A. Compare that with your wife’s 1500w hair dryer (12.5A) and you start to see that we’re not talking about a lot of power here, just a lot of light. I found a chart of wire gauges here:
    It says that Ogglebog’s suggestion of 18 gauge is good up to at least 10 amps, but that your lamp could possibly be wired with wire as light as 26 gauge (no possible way-it’s certainly heavier than that.)
    -Different socket and bulb: That’s getting way too ambitious. Just get the heavy contacts and your problems are over. At most, crimp in male and female connectors to make replacing the socket easier, or just invest in a crimper and crimp wire nuts (I’ve listed a link to those up above).

    Re: Rich T’s comment from Sep 2, 2008 regarding the great lamp recall of 1997:
    Here are some links:

    Get your free wire guard by calling: (800) 523-5702 extension 592 .

    Ogglebog’s preferred 500W bulb is now banned (as of 1996)! Get your free 300W bulb here:

    In a shocking example of “Judges gone wild,” and fodder for the reality show “Let’s sue my incompetent lawyer,” here is a 2008 recall, for a full refund, of 58,000 500W work lights, because 3 (!!!!!) lamps overheated:

    Regarding all of this talk of 500W bulbs, it wasn’t until I read the above 500w bulb recall a few seconds ago that I realized from where I got my lone 500W bulb. I never use 500w, only 300w. I have a stock of spare bulbs. When looking for a spare bulb, I often grab this one stupid 500w bulb that I have, I never knew where it came from. I *hate* that bulb. 10 spare bulbs in there, and I always grab that one. I don’t know why I never threw it away. Several months on this thread listening to Ogglebog drone on and on about his wondrous 500W bulbs and I never even thought about mine. Then I read that recall and now I realize that one of my lamps must have come with a spare 500w bulb, and that’s it. Now that I realize this, guess what? I’m going to dig that sucker out and try it! Who’s taking bets that once I see the light I’ll never go back to 300W?

    Here is my suggested Ogglebog commercial:
    Tired of girly interior mood lighting? Want to see your domestic partner more clearly so you can make an intelligent decision? Burnt out on anemicâ„¢ 180W, 300W and even 500W power? Introducing a new line of manly lighting from OGGLEBOG® – the leader in “you don’t need it, but we got it” radiation throwers. THE LIGHTNING BOLT©: the original sculpture that started it all. This machine not only emits enough UV radiation to award a suntan, it also radiates enough heat from the ONE THOUSAND WATTS OF PURE LIGHTING POWER to safely guide you through the “Twilight Zone” episode where the earth falls away from the orbit of the sun. But wait, there’s much more. The heat dissipation of the quick release TRIAC is mounted to a FANTASTICALLY REALIZED ART DECO SCULPTURE of lightning bolts that triples as an egg fryer when rotated down to a horizontal position. And forget about cleanup – any residue is instantly vaporized as you rotate the REMOTELY MOUNTED COFFE CAN SIZED RHEOSTAT to full power. The rheostat can also be used to play “spin the pointer” during those romantic moments. You want reliability? THE LIGHTNING BOLT includes a QUICK RELEASE PLUG-AND-PAY (sic) system on the triac that is mounted with BRAIDED HULK CABLE capable of carrying TWENTY-FIVE AMPS OF PURE ELECTRON ENERGY. Compare that to the laughable 15 amps used by your combination four burner stove and turkey baking oven. The food theme is continued in the up-and-down salad bowls that serve as the base and bowl of the lamp. Still want more? Then send in the free for the asking indemnity agreement and iron clad recall proof contract, and get in line for the ultimate in earth tipping light: THE GAMMA RAY©! If you’re using renewable energy, you’re going to need a dedicated windmill. When OGGLEBOG® switched on the prototype THE GAMMA RAY© for the first time, the light was so bright that Nikola Tesla himself saw the spot in the heavens. This is the machine that convinced the whale probe in the Star Trek IV movie “The Voyage Home” that “there be whales here.” Free with every THE GAMMA RAY©, an industrial strength clapper, not to be confused with an industrial strength case of the clap.

  180. wib says:

    omg….you guys are TOO funny….I think you might even be pulling a little bit of a sense of humor out of ogle. :) Today went from being in the toilet, to LMAO. Thanks! Wib

  181. CC says:

    Just a note to say thanks (and … wow!)

    Read about halfway through, tried polishing up my 300W’s spring contacts with a pencil eraser, and after a dim week or so, I am again bathed in Real Light.


    Mine has a 3-way switch with a separate reading light (actually 4-way, I guess), and the reading light still doesn’t work, so I suspect the switch is going. I’ll mount a cord switch (or floor dimmer, even) to take the load off of it (if I don’t work up the nerve to disassemble the whole thing to repair the original switch, but I don’t think there’s any way, short of replacing the switch, to get juice to the reading lamp … )


  182. […] out there has pretty much been a safety recall on them and no one sells them any more. This one blogger tells well of the plight. I like the comments as well. So I had to settle after a couple hours for […]

  183. Larry Brown says:

    I just repaired my first dimmer!
    The dimmer in our bed headboard burned. For a while I could jiggle the knob and it would work, but it finally fried totally. It had a “click” type knob that turned it off and on as well as dimming.

    I just popped over to Fry’s and bought a new pot with switch. I used the 500k ohms, that turned out to be too much. I think a 100k ohms would be enough. The pot just soldered right into the circuit board where the old one was. The darn shaft is always too long on those stupid pots. You have to hold the loose end of the shaft in a vise with the pot hanging free and hack-saw it to the correct length.

    The pot has the usual three lugs, plus two more on the bottom of surface of it that connect to the on/off. After replacing just the pot, the dimmer again works just like new.

    The effect of 500k ohms being too large is that the lights don’t come on until I turn the pot about half way up. After that it works fine, the net effect being that I only have 1/2 turn to adjust the dimming range instead of a whole turn. That’s no big deal. If I try the 100K ohm pot and it’s not big enough, then the effect will be that I won’t be able to dim the lights all the way down even when I turn the pot all the way down.

    Merry Christmas to every one!
    Larry Brown

  184. Ogglebog says:

    I wonder if different load wattages require different pots. The 500k works good on the torchieres. All of the dimmers I’ve encountered do require a threshold to overcome before the bulb willl light. I believe the term is “hysteresis” but i’m taking a big risk here as I’m sure Larry will sniff out the details. Supposedly, smaller trim pots can be installed to minimize that effect.

  185. Stan says:

    Mary wrote:
    “I am definitely interested in buying at least 4, (four), 500-watt halogen lamps you are able to build/convert as either hubby nor I are good DIY’s.”

    The ones with variable resistors will handle 500 watts; 300 watts was a UL requirement. There’s someone on ebay selling conversions, with the dimmer bypassed, and controlled by an external slide dimmer which is left on the floor (or perhaps glued to the base).

    I use one in the office, but use a power strip to turn it on and off. I’m running 300, but it is one that will accept 500. If you don’t require TV-crew lighting, 300 is enough, I think.

    Hmm. Looking at the 2 fluorescent panels in the ceiling, that would be 8x40W, or nominally more power than my 300W torchaire.

  186. Ogglebog says:

    Stan wrote:

    “The ones with variable resistors will handle 500 watts.”

    Actually, just because a torch has a full range dimmer does not necessarily mean that its dimmer is rated for 500 watts. I have pulled out pole dimmers that were clearly stamped 300w with noticeably smaller heatsinks than the 500w equivalent. Meaning they would overheat or at least run hotter than they should at 500w. On the other hand, I I have also pulled out 500w dimmers from lamps that were labeled 180w.

    The safety standards do not apply in Europe, so consider that some parts could be sourced from Europe, while others may be manufactured (as cheaply as possible) for purely the American market.

    Bottom line, you never know what you’re getting anymore unless you open up the lamp and inspect the guts. All components, sockets, switches, dimmers, etc. will have a wattage marking. Make sure everything matches the intended wattage of your torchiere lamp.

  187. wib says:

    Good job Larry! I am still working up the courage to try and repair my first light…I’m so lacking in both motivation and skill, lol. Maybe you will inspire me.

  188. Dawn says:

    Oh man, I thought I was alone in the universe! Power to the torchier-ites!

    I have this awesome torchiere that required a frosted halogen globe (like a G26) with some ridiculous amount of wattage–300 I think. I CAN’T FIND THE BULBS ANYMORE! Not even online. Arrrggghhh. It was as safe as halogen bulbs can get.

    So now I have this perfectly perfect lamp with a sorry lower watt halogen A-style bulb and I’m miserable.

    Thanks for letting me vent~

  189. CC says:

    Is finding the bulbs a widespread problem?

    My local Ace hardware in South Miami seems to have plenty of both 500W and 300W ones. They’re sold as Ace house brand and the blister cards are even conveniently illustrated – the 300W ones show a torchiere, and the 500W ones have a silhouette of a torchiere with a big ‘X’ through it. ;-)

  190. Larry Brown says:

    Hi Janet:
    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I think you have all the skill you need. I’m sure that I’ve provided more than enough inspiration, although I should really leave that for you to say. As for motivation….I guess I can’t help you there. You just need to “turn off the radio station in your head that is broadcasting ‘you can’t.'” You know something, just as I was wiring up a lamp tonight, I was thinking: “The way for me to do stuff faster is not try and be so meticulous up front. I should stop worrying about every last detail and if it will work or not. I should just slag ahead and solve problems as I encounter them.”

    I just finished another lamp repair. I now have 4 lamps burning proudly and only one waiting for repair. Tonight, for maybe the first time, I repaired one when I didn’t absolutely have to. So all of you nice people in this thread have also inspired me!

    And to Ogglebog: re: “hysteresis.” My problem is nothing so esoteric. It’s simply too much resistance in a 500k pot. Think about it. The more you turn the pot, the more resistance it makes, the dimmer the light. On my 500k pot, when it’s turned about half way down, that’s 250k ohms, my lamp goes dim. From there on out, 300k, 350k, 400k to max at 500k, it’s all dark. So, just based on that empirical observation, I need about 250k so that it gets dark at max resistance.

    After I finished the repair, I wrote up an inventory for me to keep in the computer. Here it is. OCD and proud of it, baby.

    Merry Christmas!

    #1: Gunmetal lamp #1: Currently at wet bar.
    Repaired with new contact and bulb @ 10-2008. Burned well for about a month and then got noticeably dimmer. By now it really seems to be dim, but when I brought a new gunmetal on line, they looked about the same.

    #2: Gunmetal Lamp #2: Currently at entrance hall.
    Repaired with a new contact and new lamp store generic bulb December 21, 2008.

    #3: Gunmetal Lamp #3: In master bedroom.
    Repaired with new contact/bulb @ 10-2008.
    Seems to burn nice and bright.

    #4: Gunmetal #4: In guest bedroom.
    Burns nice and bright.

    #5: Golden Rod #1: Currently in bedroom waiting on repair.

  191. Larry Brown says:

    Hello everyone.

    OGGLEBOG RUUUUUUUULES! After reading his “nothing is ever enough” philosophy enough, it occurred to me that I, too, owned a 500w bulb. I’ve been carrying that bulb around for many years, like maybe 20. I only use 300W bulbs. Whenever I go to grab a bulb from stock, I always seem to grab that stupid 500Watter. Finally I marked it with big letters 5-0-0—W-A-T-T-S so that I wouldn’t grab it anymore.

    As I just noted in my previous post, my lamp #1 has gone dim and it was really annoying me. I just hate that. So I dug out that 500w bulb and popped it in there. While I was at it I gave a nice wax job to the lamp. It’s in there right now, just waiting for me to fire it up. I came in here to make this post and tell you about it before I fire it up. I’m so excited! I’m going in there to fire it up right now…then I’ll be back to tell you about it.

  192. Larry Brown says:

    But it’s still not enough. HELP I’M TURNING IN TO OGGLEBOG!
    Luckily I have a 2nd Torch in there with another 300W, so I’ve got 800w lighting the living room. It looks good.

    I had a lot more to write but my wife keeps coming in here and bugging me if she finds me wasting time blogging, so I’ve got to quit until she goes to sleep.


  193. Ogglebog says:

    Get a grip, Larry, before it’s too late. Take it from me, there is no end to the insanity. The pathology continues and will pervade every aspect of you life. For example, the Gamma Ray Project has been updated with 2000 watts. Four independent sockets at 500w each. Or maybe two of the longer 1000w bulbs if the salad bowl dimensions will accept them.

    I have found the perfect pot and the most appropriate knob that could ever have been dreamt: the MIDDLE FINGER KNOB. Both components are from the electric guitar industry.

    KNOB: http://www.mentalmetal.com/mentalmetal/Guitar_and_Bass.html

    POT: http://www.rsguitarworks.net/rsstore/product_info.php?products_id=386

  194. Larry Brown says:

    In this post:
    Dim bulbs
    Cleaning contacts with a cotton swab
    Buying 91% alcohol
    Using a tool to insert bulbs
    Getting a sparkle by using Jubilee Kitchen Wax by Johnson & Johnson

    Well I just put the 500w lamp into operation last night and the bulb already burned out, what a disappointment. I guess it’s not good to carry that bulb around for 20 years before use.

    When I told my wife that I had put 500w into operation, she asked if we needed to put a copper heat sink on it (referring to the times when I had read her Ogglebog’s posts). hahahaha.

    Hey Ogglebog: Could you pleae provide a link to those 2000w contacts? Thanks.

    To my surprise I found that my contacts did have a wattage rating on them: 500w. I had never noticed it before. It’s just white on white ceramic so it’s hard to see. Whenever Ogglebog kept saying that about the rating I didn’t believe him, but last night I wanted to put the 500w into operation so I got out a magnifying glass to check the contacts and sure enough there it was.

    You might have noticed that I named one of my lamps. Am I the first one here to name a lamp? (I named it Goldenrod).

    You may remember that I said one of my newly repaired lamps had been in operation only about a month when it seemed to get dim. To my surprise when I traded the 500w bulb into that one, the 300w bulb was all black. It was still working, but at reduced brightness. These are inexpensive generically branded bulbs that I get at a local lamp store. I’m going to switch to name brand bulbs. My advice: if you notice that a lamp seems to be dim, inspect the bulb and if it looks burnt, replace it.

    I’m not admitting to a small amount of perverse satisfaction when I found that the lamp that had been in operation only a month had a fair amount of dead bugs in it.

    Ogglebog mentioned cleaning the contacts at every bulb change with a dental pick. A more accesible option is to use a cotton swab and alcohol. Also on the old bulb that I put into operation I noticed that its contacts where dirty. A cotton swab made them nice and shiny, just like new.

    Ogglebog also mentions using a tool to push back each contact as you slip the bulb in, rather than just using the bulb to push one contact back enough. I respectfully suggest that that’s overzealous. If you want to do that, that’s great, but just pushing the bulb in with no tools is good enough. I’ve never seen any contacts get loose.

    Two more hints:
    When buying alcohol at the drug store, only buy 91% or better. Don’t get the 70%…that kind is 30% water and perfume and you don’t want that. I find that Walgreens has the 91% for just a little more money, you just have to check the label and maybe hunt for it a little bit. Another option that I use all the time is Everclear. This is available inexpensively at the liquor store and it’s very pure, about 99%. It’s especially useful for cleaning items that will go into the mouth, like a thermometer or utensils. I also use it on sensitive electronics, like my cassette tape heads or VCR heads.

    And finally, a product that I’ve been using for many years is Jubilee kitchen wax, by Johnson & Johnson. It’s a fantastic product that really gives a gleam to things that you can’t get any other way. I love putting it in the bathroom: chrome faucets, countertop, chrome towel racks, shower curtain rod, metal shower curtain hooks, shower tile, commode tank, commode lid, outside of commode bowl, and commode handle. It really sparkles! The below link is an aerosol, it’s also available as a liquid. I used this to shine up my expensive Gunmetal lamps and it cleaned off some grime and now the glisten like a mirror! An alternative to this wax that also really works well is Meguire’s Gold carnuba car paste wax – that’s also fantastic stuff and smells great.

  195. Ogglebog says:

    Good job, Larry. I use the dental picks not for cleaning, but for improving the tension on the prongs. I like maximum tension, and I feel like they get tired after awhile. So, I pull them forward to renew the spring action and then gently fit the bulb into the socket while trying not to disturb either prong more than necessary. This results in the snuggest possible bulb installation, which could be overzealous. But in light of the burned-out-contact syndrome, I’m trying everything.

    The 2000w contacts can be had from Harrington Lights. You will need to reuse your original bridge. Where can I find the gold-plated bulbs and stuff you have mentioned before? My searches come up blank.

    Everclear is a fantastic cleaning solution. I use it all the time on my camera optics. Great for all sorts precision work, leaves no residue. And when you’re done working, a little bit on ice with some OJ is a nice reward for the weary laborer ;-)

  196. Larry Brown says:

    Oh man, Ogglebog, you totally busted me on the Everclear on ice solution. LOL. I just don’t bother with the ice. I debated whether or not to mention it in my post, and decided against it. Whenever I buy the Everclear, or someone sees it at my house, and I tell them I use it for cleaning, I get the most disgusted
    looks as if I am spinning total BS. So I just left that out of my post, but in truth, it is delicious, even just straight (take very small sips).

    I don’t have a line on any contacts with gold plating, I don’t know that they exist, I just mentioned that as a general principle that applies to any electrical contacts. Molex connectors are available in gold or tin plate, that’s how I know.

    Regarding the gold contact bulbs, I also don’t know that they are gold, but I have bought name brand bulbs that have gold colored contacts, I forget if they were Sylvainia, GE, or other brand. I am just going out to get new bulbs tonight, so I will report back.

    Hmmm….I’m guessing that you use the 2000w contacts, and that you still suffer from the burnout problem. Is that right?

  197. Ogglebog says:

    My high-watage socket sits on the bench waiting for a lamp. Just a normal looking ceramic block with thicker prongs. Tension feels better. Not sure if any of this matters to lifespan; only time will tell. Fingers crossed!

  198. wib says:

    Greetings fellow torchier-ites…been gone out of town, and it’s nice to get back home and back to my computer…and my halogen site. I see that I missed a lot! You go larry, and yeah, you might consider something for that ocd. Hehehe. Maybe you and ogle could start a support group? :) I have to admit though…I might be a closet ocd halogen flame thrower junkie myself. Right now my obsession is finding a good picture of the flaming stick man…I’m having lots of trouble with that one. I think it’s a way of procrastinating on actually getting to work on my broken halogens. Thanks for your encouragement in that area! But I just think it’d be so cool on the “gamma ray”, with that lightening bolt. And hey…great idea on the everclear. It IS almost new years. I was just discussing with significant other what we could do for new years…how bout some everclear and a halogen repair marathon?? :) He was his usual enthusiastic self (not). Sure wish I had saved all my past broken and discarded lamps to send to ogle for christmas. He deserves something for being so great about sharing his time and wisdom on here. But it sounds like he has moved on….to bigger and brighter things. Larry, you are SO right about perfectionism…I am totally handicapped by it! And GoldenRod…what a GREAT name!! :) Is ogle putting us on with the “middle finger” knob, or is that for real? It’s hard to know with him, lol. He’s got that funny sense of humor. By the way…those aren’t dead bugs…those are roasted bugs. Yummmmmers! I’m thinking about putting them in my new years brownies, for added crunchy protein. At my age, I’m all about ways to enhance my nutrition. I used to feed them to my turtle, but now he’s hibernating, so I need to find another use for them. Waste not want not, and all that. Anyway…glad to see that you guys are still on top of things, and still thinking! You go guys! Wib

    Hint to larry…wanna come clean my bathroom? I thought cleaning the bathroom consisted of putting on a new roll of toilet paper.

  199. Kesakuko says:

    I’ve had an older white/gold 300w halogen Torchiere lamp for 10-15 years and there’s no fancy dome covering the bulb, only a glass cover plate. I’ve never had a problem with it smoldering or starting anything on fire and the the bulb has never been replaced. There are two torchiere’s next to each other on opposite sides of my computer table. The other one is a more recent incandescent 3-way but doesn’t provide the same disperse effect lighting as the halogen. It’s clear that a 150w incandescent three way produces more light as its max setting than the 300w halogen but the halogen can produce very disperse low light. I believe safety depends much more on the person(s) using it than the lamp itself.

  200. Larry Brown says:

    Replay to wib’s post of 12-22-08:
    Hi Janet: I’ve been out of commission for the holidays and haven’t been able to reply until now, but I always enjoy your messages.

    >Is ogle putting us on with the “middle finger” knob, or is that for real?
    Unfortunately, something tells me that he’s not joking with that. If you followed the link then you saw that there really are such knobs. It doesn’t match my taste for his lamps, but then that wouldn’t be the only thing that we didn’t agree on.

    >By the way…those aren’t dead bugs…those are roasted bugs.
    >putting them in my new years brownies
    >crunchy protein.
    >enhance my nutrition.
    >I used to feed them to my turtle
    You’re joking.
    >find another use for them
    >Waste not want not, and all that.
    LOL. Wow Janet, you get the prize here for creative use of household refuse. I can see you not wasting those bugs and still wanting for lots of things though.

    >Hint to larry…wanna come clean my bathroom?
    Think you could find a creative use for all of that nasty calcium that I love to scrape off of the shower tile?

    >I thought cleaning the bathroom consisted of putting on a new roll of toilet paper.
    Hmmm…you could use a little infusion of OCD. Maybe you should watch more Monk.

  201. Ogglebog says:

    Aw, come on Larry. The middle finger is fantastic. My 2000w torches will not be mere lamps, they will be statements. Humongous and overbearing, they will proudly send their message to the world via the single erect digit. A universally understood salute to the lawyers, bean counters, tv journalists, and product designers who have shamed themselves and cursed us all with their whittled-down excuses for the blessed halogen torchiere.

  202. Larry Brown says:

    Re: Ogglebog’s post of 1-14-09:
    I didn’t think of the middle finger sending that message until you explained it. Now I see your reasoning. However, I think a 2000w lamp will make a statement on its own. How about hanging a couple of those truck adornments that look like male gonads? hahahaha….that’s my best try at something clever. You’re in a class all your own buddy.

  203. Keskauko says:

    Why not fire up a 1200w Metal Halide bulb in one of those puppies? You’ll get a nice blue tingled white light and use the knob to run at half power if you don’t want to give yourself snow blindness. They are energy efficient and will only set you back about $200 USD per-bulb over Ebay and don’t forget to buy the correct ballast. LOL!

  204. Ogglebog says:

    Hi Keskauko: Yes, the vapor bulbs are an option. The haildes are too blue for me, but I’m considering a color-corrected high pressure sodium bulb made by Hortilux which is warm but not as red as most sodiums, more white like the sun (it’s a grow lamp bulb). The ballast transformers are quite large and heavy – might serve as a nice weight in the base!

  205. Larry Brown says:

    Fantastic new bulb find!

    I just found some way great bulbs at Home Depot! They are FEIT brand bulbs marked “Heavy Duty/Rough Service.” They say that because they are rated at 130V, when used in a 120V lamp they will last 4000 hours instead of the normal 2000 hours! The best part is the price: 2 bulbs for $7!!! Actually that’s about the same price I have been paying lately. And guess what? They have the same bulbs in 500W for the same price!
    These heavy duty bulbs list these features: Every bulb pre-tested, extra strength filament, plated contacts do not corrode. The contacts are gold colored.
    Comparing these bulbs with my GE heavy duty bulbs shows that the FEIT looks good: The filament is beefier and the coiled filament stretches the entire length of the bulb whereas in the GE it only stretches about 75%. That should spread the stress out over more surface area and maybe even give off a more even glow and possibly burn slightly cooler. The FEIT is made in China while the GE is made in Hungary.

    Greetings to everyone! We’ve quieted down!

  206. Jordan says:

    I have two wall mounted halogen fixtures. That basically fixes most of the safety problems, you simply have to clean the dust out every few years.

  207. hal says:

    Hi everyone,

    I greatly enjoyed reading the comments on this blog. It took me 3 or 4 days to get through them all. Company time well spent :)

    I rarely add comments to any website, but this time I’d thought I’d share what I’ve discovered. (read first time caller, longtime listener)

    Good News!
    I stopped by Home Depot to find replacement dimmers for my 2 dead halogen torchieres based on the info supplied in reply #66 dated 10/13/2007. Yes, posted over 16 months past! I found Westek 300 Watt Full Range replacement dimmers, model 6078LC.
    The internet listing and description can be found here:


    The dimmers were listed at $7.97 (versus $11.37 on the link above).

    The good news is that they are on sale indefinitely for only $1.50! Yes only $1.50 each! Home Depot must be trying to get rid of them and likely won’t stock them again.

    These dimmers seem well built. They are labelled as a replacement part for halogen torchieres and incandescent lamps. Additionally, the replacement instructions are simple and straightforward.

    The only problem I encountered was with the height of the switch’s splined metal shaft. The height of the switch’s shaft is too great to slide into the 1.25 inch or so diameter of my light pole’s shaft. The black plastic casing will easily slide into the light pole’s shaft, but the switch will not. I had to cut off approximately 1/8 of an inch from the switch’s shaft, leaving only approximately 1/16 of an inch of splined material area. I also had to discard the dimmer’s black plastic casing to shave a little more from the overall height. I wrapped the dimmer guts with black electrical tape.

    So far so good. The remaining splines hold the plastic button well, and if they fail I will simply glue the button onto them.

  208. Larry Brown says:

    Fantastic find Hal. I will be running over to Home Depot tomorrow to snap up all their stock. I have a Home Depot right next door.

    Your link didn’t work for me. But a search of the Home Depot web site for 100644809 (That’s the Home Depot catalog number) got me there. The description is:
    Westek 300W Full Range Replacement Dimmer Model 6078LC
    Notice that the 6078 part number is different than that mentioned in post #66. #66 also mentions 500W whereas this part number is 300w.

    Thanks for posting!

  209. wib says:

    OHHHHHH HALLLLLLLLLL……who does that sound like? lol. But seriously, I was just looking at my two sad broken halogen lights in my garage yesterday, trying to talk myself into “letting go” and carrying them out to the ally. But you, Hal, have saved them! And possibly saved me from making a regretable mistake. :) I’ve been needing motivation to tackle trying to fix them, and there is NOTHING that motivates me more than ON SALE!! So off to my local (well, 45 miles local) home depot tomorrow to see if I can sniff out a couple of these and try to fix my long longed for lights! I’ll try to let you (ya’ll) know how it goes. If you don’t hear anymore from me…that means I did finally really electrocute myself. Thanks for your input….welcome to our group. :) Wib

  210. bmi says:

    Thanks Hal! I think I will have to do what you did. You got me thinking about all of the modification you had to do with the switch, but it will be worth it if it works. So off to Home Depot I go.

    You know, I thought I struck paydirt after looking for 3 hours online for a replacement. I kept coming across the Holmes HL7066MGBL which is a solid black 300 watt one just like mine. But no one has it in stock.

    They may be fire hazards, but I can’t get good lighting with all of the other junk out there. I’ll bet they sell these little fire hazards in 3rd world countries though :))).

  211. wib says:

    I think they could be dual purpose in 3rd world countries…lighting AND cooking, lol. Probably could use it for heating too….it warms up my little nook nicely when I have it on and it’s chilly in here.

  212. BER says:

    Hi –

    first – think you can get halogen replacement bulbs cheap at http://www.bulbs.com

    second – this seems to be exactly what we all have been missing – something about it I do not see?


  213. JHT says:

    BER, I think what you’re not seeing is the “OUT OF STOCK” label on it. I’ve been fooled, disappointed, by lots of ads like that one.

  214. BER says:

    ok, so the holmes thing was off, but I knew I’d seen some 300w ones last year, and here they are:


    it says 190 watt but somewhere elsed on the site it states that the hardware is the same, and they offer higher wattage bulbs, so perhaps someone else has more time than me to figure out if these are the real deal?

  215. JHT says:

    I found a Canadian office of energy website that said the following: “Recently enacted standards in the United States require that torchieres manufactured on or after January 1, 2006 must not be capable of consuming more than 190 watts of power and shall not be capable of operating with lamps that total more than 190 watts.” So far I haven’t located the corresponding American law or regulation, but still looking.

    Meanwhile, though, I found another website offering Halogen Torchiere lamps with 250 watt bulbs. Do I don’t know what’s going on.

  216. Larry Brown says:

    Re: Cutting the potentiometer (pot) shaft of the dimmers:
    The traditional way of cutting a pot shaft (you almost always have to cut them) is to clamp the shaft into a vise, leaving the pot free hanging, and then use a hack saw. However I noticed that the Dremel tool takes a cutting disk and that would work too and might allow you to use only slight pressure so you might be able to do without the vise.

    Also the Home Depot near me did not have the dimmers. Did anyone have any luck?

  217. D. says:

    Would anyone know why my old torchiere will not work even though I can get a current tester to light up with or without the bulb in place…yes the bulb works, as do 2 others(500w and a 300w). It’s one of the really old 71″ models with full dimmer and 500w bulb standard.

    It doesn’t make sense, if the current meter lights up then the contacts must be OK. Even with the bulb in place the tester still lights up. Tested bulb again in the other lamp, works fine.

  218. Warren Dew says:

    I’ve only read about a quarter of the comments so far, but it’s nice to see that so many other people love these lamps too! I got my first one in the 1980s; it had a narrower tube and was 78″ tall instead of 72″. It eventually died, but I got a replacement around 1990, and it’s still going strong nearly 20 years later. The dimmer switch is beautiful and never buzzes. I guess the only thing is I should not leave it on unattended when my daughter gets big enough to knock it over!

    I cannot stand fluorescents; they have a 60 cycle flicker that gives me headaches. My wife is the same way. For those wondering why they don’t like fluorescents, that might be why.

    I am looking into getting one of these fitted with a high output LED light array. I think I’ve found a place that can do it for about $600 – dimmable and everything. If it works out, I’ll report back.

  219. Warren Dew says:

    Oh, and I should add that about three years ago, I asked for one of these at work because I couldn’t handle the fluorescent lighting. Now all 80 or so offices on the floor have them, and hardly anyone turns on the overhead fluorescents.

  220. Larry Brown says:

    D. says his torch doesn’t work even tho he sees power at the contacts with a voltmeter: Your dimmer’s burnt out. Replace it with a new one, a spare, or just swap in a dimmer from a working lamp to confirm. That was easy. Lamp doesn’t burn even tho the bulb is confirmed good and the contacts are not crispy? Answer: The dimmer’s burnt out, no rocket science needed. Then why does the voltmeter show power at the contacts? I don’t know….that would be rocket science that we don’t need here.

    Warren Dew wants to pay someone $600 to retrofit an LED array to his torch: Assuming the cost of the LED is $20, that sounds like about $500 too much.

  221. Warren Dew says:

    The cost of enough LEDs to light up a room is around $500. LEDs are still extremely expensive for their light output. However, at our electricity cost of $0.17 per kwh, my halogen torchiere has probably burned about $1000 worth of electricity over the years.

  222. wib57 says:

    Not really….you have to take into account the savings on your heating bill, since these lamps warm up a corner nicely. Oh wait…guess that cancels itself out, cranking up the a/c in the summer. :| Hate it when I’m wrong

  223. KO says:

    I am glad to see so many halogenic kindred spirits. I had wondered if my affinity for these lamps was a personal quirk, but I see that others also experience the mood and sight enhancing effects they provide.

    My company recently moved, and the old halogen torchiere I had been using for the past year and a half in my office was not able to survive the trip. I hate fluorescent lights, and had been quite pleased with my warm halogen haven from the cold fluorescent storm outside. I have had difficulty similar to that related on this page finding a replacement.

    My Google search key phrase “halogen floor lamp” brought up the aforementioned Full Spectrum Solutions, who obviously tout their torchiere as a viable, even superior alternative to the halogen. The claimed advantages are safety (much cooler), energy efficiency, and longevity, as well as effective reproduction of sunlight spectrum. I was dubious, because these bulbs are fluorescent. While the compact bulbs that are becoming popular are much less obnoxious than the traditional tubes, I still much prefer incandescent bulbs to them (and halogen bulbs to both of those). But I called the company, got a little information, and ordered what I assume is the same product referenced by Rich T.

    I had asked the customer service person about the spectrum of the light produced, and the perceived color. I like the slightly yellow tint of the halogen, in contrast to the sterile white of the fluorescent tubes. The woman to whom I spoke insisted that sunlight is actually white, and so to is the light from the Full Spectrum bulbs. I didn’t really agree with that (when sunlight streams in my windows, it looks somewhat yellow to me, kind of like my beloved halogen’s light). But she said the “light temperature” was measured, and found to be identical o that of sunlight. This is also mentioned on their web site. So, with that in mind, along with a 60 day return policy, I decided to give it a try.

    I agree with Rich’s description of the physical construction. The lamp was easy to assemble, is perfectly straight, and solidly-constructed. It’s pretty attractive aesthetically; I ordered a gray lamp, and it looks sort of pewter. Quite nice.

    The light produced by the bulb is unusual. It does not create a warm, sunny effect. When I am looking at my desk, with the lamp about 3 feet away, it puts me in mind of the aftermath of a storm, when the sky is still overcast, but the sun is trying to break through. It is a sort of (almost) bluish-white. Not too harsh, but not warm. There a slight sensation of direct sunlight, but it is mixed with and dominated by the overcast effect. It doesn’t provide as much of a sensation of relief from the fluorescent tubes as I have been accustomed to.

    So I called Full Spectrum Solutions again, expressed my reaction to the light, and an alternative was suggested. The company also sells what they call a “Sunset” bulb. Same 70 watts, but not full spectrum, so as to create a warmer effect. Liking the lamp itself so much, I ordered one of these bulbs.

    Which leads me (finally – sorry) to the point of this post. The Sunset bulb produces a much warmer light than the “full spectrum” bulb. No blue-white-gray kind of gloomy ambiguity. It is a bit “sunsetty”, as named, meaning that I wouldn’t mind somewhat more candle power. But I feel that it provides more usable light than their main bulb, and it look much more incandescent – not fluorescent at all. It is warm, with no flicker. It is reminiscent of my halogen. I have been without the halogen for a few months, so I had become inured to the office’s fluorescent tubes, and I never had the halogen in my new office, so I can’t say for sure how the Sunset bulb compares in terms of illumination, hue, and dispersion. I should also note that I was running a 500 watt bulb, damning the inflammatory torpedoes like some other posters have done. So it is hard to say for sure.

    Bottom line – I am going to keep the lamp. I like this sunset bulb. I do feel better once I get mu office, and out of the tube light, much like I did with my halogen. Addicted as I am to the halogen, I will still try to find another, preferably one that can handle a 500 watt bulb. If I do acquire another, I will set it up in my office and see how the Full Spectrum Sunset bulb compares. If indeed the halogen is brighter/more pleasing, I will use the Full Spectrum lamp at home, where it would provided low-cost and cool (but warm-looking) light.

    If you cannot find a halogen torchiere, I would recommend trying the Full Spectrum torchiere. If you want a hue similar to that of the halogen light, I would NOT recommend their full spectrum bulb. Try the Sunset version. You’ll have 60 days to check it out.

    Finally, I do still really want another halogen torchiere – at least 300 watts, preferably 500 watts, if for no other reason, to put my Sunset bulb to the ultimate test. If anyone has found a source, please post it. Thanks for initiating and hosting this discussion, Mike.

  224. Warren Dew says:

    I would note that fluorescent flicker isn’t consciously visible – it’s too fast for that, like old fashioned CRT screens. It still gives some of us headaches, though.

  225. KO says:

    Agreed, though I have seen fluorescent lights with visible flicker, as well, which is even more obnoxious. But the Full Spectrum bulb does not seem to manifest either fast or slow flicker, at least such that it is perceptible. I don’t experience that annoyed sensation that I do with the tubes. I don’t know if these bulbs operate at that same 60 cycle rate. If so, others may still notice the flicker factor, but so far, I don’t seem to. I feel a sense of relief while in my own office, as compered to the feeling I have while elsehere in the building.

    Either way, I still want a halogen. The quality and dispersion of the light they produce is unique to them. But the Sunset bulb did pleasantly surprose me.

  226. Rich T says:

    Thanks for posting about the Full Spectrum Solutions light; I have been wondering about the Sunset light too. I agree with you that the halogen is yellowish, but to me, it makes the white of the FSS preferable, though I’ll admit somewhat colder as well.

    The halogens I have left seem less bright to me than the newer FSS lights (they are 300W), and I wonder if age has something to do with it (age of the halogens, that is).

  227. KO says:

    Hey, Rich.

    I found your observations on the Full Spectrum Solutions light useful. I figured that the perception would vary from person to person. Maybe my cones and rods are different from yours, or perhaps it’s brain chemistry. I do find the standard full spectrum bulb’s light interesting – rather complex in its appearance. It does look kind of like indirect sunlight. But to me, it creates a somewhat dreary atmosphere in the room. At the same time, I kind of like that “aftermath of the storm” sensation I had mentioned. My feelings were mixed, but it is just too overcast looking for me.

    As for comparison to the halogen’s brightness, again, I was firing up a 500 watt halogen bulb. It may very well be that the Full Spectrum Solutions bulbs are comparable to, or even brighter than a 300 watt halogen.

    If you like the product, and want a warmer ambient light for home, maybe try a Sunset bulb. I am immersed in the light from mine as I write this. The sunset effect is pleasant in contrast to the fluorescent lights just outside my office. And it is right enough to work – as much so as the stand FSS bulb.

    I mentioned the possibility of higher wattage version of these bulbs to the Full Spectrum Solutions customer service woman. (My thinking as that are so low-temperature and energy efficient that there would plenty of room for wattage increase while still being relatively cool and efficient. I had suggested a 140 watt version – that would really light up a room.) She said that the nature of the technology is such that they are currently maxed out at 70 watts, which I found interesting. I also suggested adding some yellow to the standard bulb spectrum, or perhaps producing a third version that is in between the spectrum profiles of the current two.

    Anyway, it’s all subjective. (My brain and/or eyes may be more like your wife’s than yours.) And you can be become accustomed to different things such that your preferences change. At this point, I would still love to have another 500 watt halogen…

  228. John Savage says:

    so…. yes they are HOT, so…. turn them off when not there, and own a fire extinguisher

  229. John Savage says:

    so…. yes they are HOT, so…. turn them off when not there, and own a fire extinguisher ps I lived in Snoose Junction for 15 yrs

  230. wib57 says:

    note to self….do NOT fling delicate silk hankies (or whatever) over the halogen light when feeling romantic….be sensible and use the light switch for dimming.

  231. Nyse says:

    I have 3 of the 500 watt – 1 in bedroom, 1 in office and one on the baloney next to the grill. I have had them for over 15 years and would not use anything else. If you want to see, you can see. Never had any problems with them. I use the one in my bedroom and office every night. When you turn these on, you can see. I dim them a little at times. But if want to see, full power.

  232. Roger says:

    I have owned several 300 watt lights for a long time >10 years. Personally I love them! They provide a very adequate light without the harsh direct light of incandescent or the headache producing flash of florescent.
    As for the many “fires” that these lights are guilty of producing, that seems more like a benefit than a deficit. I mean, lets face it, if you are not intelligent enough to read instructions and use a powerful light source in the manor that it was intended, and you subsequently burn down your cave with it due to your ignorance, maybe we will all get lucky and you will die in the fire also, thus providing an overall increase in the number of intelligent beings on the planet.
    Heck, these lights could actually be serving as a form of natural selection against the ever increasing numbers of stupid people on Earth. I think the government should consider subsidizing
    the manufacture of these wonder lights. We could hand them out at street fair – the sheeple could pick them up right after they get little johnny fingerprinted!
    Just a thought :)

  233. Josie says:

    Roger’s remarks are inappropriate and should be removed from this forum.

  234. janet says:

    right….kind of like the slowest buffalo being cut (therefore eaten) from the herd.

  235. janet says:

    well…yeah, that’s kind of harsh…but we’re a wierd bunch on here. there’s a lot of “gallows” humor. Please dont take offense…we don’t really mean it. Not usually anyway. :)

  236. KO says:

    Well, while there probably is some merit to Roger’s “thinning the herd” theory, perhaps he is being a bit harsh. I’m more concerned about his appropriation of the term “sheeple”, which I suspect he picked up from some right-wing radio zealot like Limbaugh. That would account for the tenor of his post. If so, Roger, please consider getting your information from less obnoxious and more objective sources.

    On the more germane front, I wanted to update anyone who may have been curious about the Full Spectrum Solutions lamp I had referenced earlier. I have had the lamp for a few months now. For the past few weeks, it has been in my apartment (instead of in my office). In this environment, it has proven to have a much different effect. In the office, it didn’t seem very bright, and seemed rather yellowish, compared to the fluorescent tube ceiling lights. But at home, it illuminates the entire living room, similar to the way I remember my halogen doing. And the incandescent bulbs in my table lamps are much more yellow, and not nearly as bright. And, I don’t sense that flicker effect as I do with conventional tubes. Again, this lamp has what Full Spectrum calls their Sunset bulb, which produces more of a yellow-white color (but whiter than incandescent) than their standard bulb, which produces a somewhat strange bluish-white color – more like an overcast day effect. Anyway, not having been able to find a halogen torchiere, this lamp has been a good substitute. I would still be curious to compare it to a halogen. But it is bright, and much cooler than both halogen and incandescent bulbs. So it will not snuff me out of the gene pool. (Sorry, Roger.) If you can’t find a halogen, you may want to try this product. It has a 60-day return policy.

    Having said all that, if anyone finds a source for a well-constructed 300 (or better, 500) watt halogen lamp, please post. Thanks.


  237. Rich T says:

    Roger said:

    “you will die in the fire also, thus providing an overall increase in the number of intelligent beings on the planet.”

    Well, speaking of intelligence, in your scenario the number of intelligent beings on the planet stays the same. The percentage may go up slightly, but not the number of them.

  238. Rich T says:

    I may have stated this earlier, but I think the Full Spectrum lights are a little brighter than the 300W halogen. But I think others here have said the halogens lose some of their brightness over the years, and maybe the contacts need to be cleaned to restore them to their former glory.

    I do know that the a couple of the halogens I have that still give off light are broken at the base so they can’t stand up straight on their own (I really hate the cheapness of their construction). I have them leaning against other things like where a bookcase is against a wall.

    Am I inviting a fire with this?

    Is anyone rooting for me to get out of the gene pool?

  239. Mike D. says:

    If wonder if people who don’t know how to spell “manner” should also be thinned. A manor is a house.

    Seriously though, even if there is merit to what Roger is saying, your house can burn down your neighbor’s house too, so that’s clearly not fair and in line with the argument about natural selection.

  240. wib says:

    this debate on natural selection is intriguing (sp?). No, no one is rooting for you to get out of the gene pool….just add a little clorox maybe. :) Clorox meaning common sense. Yes, if you ask me, and you sort of did, you are asking for trouble. These lights get really hot, and not only that, but when tilted over, can tend to roll. Seems like you ought to be able to fix those bases….I dunno, bucket of cement or something? Maybe a large weight lifting weight? Painted black with orange lightening bolts? Sad to report, but my aunt that I looked so diligently for a light for due to her failing eyesight passed away. :( I inherited said lamps…so now I have an emergency stash. This makes me happy. If my house burned down, and burned my neighbors house down….the whole block would celebrate. But it would be a strike for each side…so no leveling of the field. :)

  241. Rich T says:

    “If wonder if people who don’t know how to spell “manner” should also be thinned. A manor is a house.”

    Actually Roger’s mistake may have been a pun.

  242. Rich T says:

    “I inherited said lamps…so now I have an emergency stash.”

    Did your aunt specifically leave you the halogens in her will? That would be impressive.

  243. wib says:

    Naw…..we were cleaning out her apartment and her siblings told me I should take them, since I had gotten them for her. :)

  244. KO says:

    “Actually Roger’s mistake may have been a pun.”

    That is an interesting observation, and it’s possible, I suppose. But in the context in which the term was used, it seems more likely that it was the result of a small synapse misfire or neural wire crossing. (I think it was “dumb luck”, as it were, that the misapplied term happened to reference a house. Uh oh, Roger. That doesn’t;t bode well for you…) To be fair, though. that can happen to the best of us.

  245. Tom W says:

    This blog has been great — I read through every single post this evening (even though my wife says I’m acting obsessed!). We have two classic halogen torchieres from the early to mid-90’s that I absolutely love. We had no idea they were so hard to find these days until I was unable to find any local store carrying a replacement lamp yesterday. An online search led me to this blog. Seems like repairing our existing lamps is the way to go!

    On one of our lamps the dimmer switch is getting flaky (the lamp flickers if you turn it all the way to the top), but we have it plugged into a socket controlled by a wall switch to avoid excess wear and tear. The other one has the (apparently well-known) problem with dirty or corroded contacts. I have sanded them in the past and it seems to last for only a couple weeks before the light quits again. Now that I see I can’t just buy a whole new lamp, I ordered a new set of contacts online from Harrington Lights based on advice in previous comments — hopefully that will fix the problem.

    Both lamps have a sticker saying “Max 300W bulb”, but we have used 500W bulbs in the one in the living room for years with no problems. In addition to the increased brightness that this provides, the 500W bulbs seem to “hum” or “buzz” less when they are dimmed. Has anyone else found this to be true? At any rate, I think I’ll stop by my local Ace Hardware tomorrow and stock up on spare bulbs, before they disappear too!

    I don’t normally post comments online, but this blog has been great fun and a terrific source of useful information, so I had to jump in to say thanks! Viva la torchiere!

  246. wib says:

    Viva La Torchiere! :) lol

  247. Don says:

    I have owned 2 of the 300W lamps since 1995 and a few days ago I smelled a burning smell in our living room. Upon investigation, I found the switch was burning inside the lamp post. I took the lamp apart to verify it was the switch and was correct. I personally will not replace it with the same kind.

  248. Jason says:

    Is Ogglebog still building lamps?? I’m a buyer…

  249. M says:

    So the base of my six-year-old torchiere broke off today and I don’t see a way to fix it (it seems to have been attached inside as a ring with one piece, if that makes sense–I thought my really old ones just had a screwable ring on the bottom but this is like, die-cast or something cheap and breakable).

    And I remember how hard it was to find one even then (IIRC I found it at a SuperK)!

    Target: No, Home Depot: No, Sears: No

    I looked at the Full Spectrum stuff but based on reviews it isn’t that great for the money and you’re forever tied to them for replacement bulbs (and the Sunrise or whatever bulb costs extra).

    Any ideas for a substitute? I’ve never tried a 150w incandescent but I imagine I’d be disappointed.

    Help me Mike Industries readers, you’re my only hope.

    [Typed under the poor light of a ceiling fan.]

  250. Rich T says:

    Which reviews knocked the Full Spectrum lights? It’s all relative, but I don’t think 100 bucks is a lot for a very well constructed lamp with a bulb that’s supposed to last for ten years.

  251. wib says:

    Can it be glued? There’s some pretty strong stuff out there, that dries to the consistency (sp?) of metal. Can’t hurt to try….and I know how painful it is to lose your beloved light. The ones that come in two tubes that you mix together seem to be the strongest.

  252. KO says:

    Also regarding the Full Spectrum lamps –

    The Sunset bulb does not cost more than their main bulb. You can just order the lamop with Sunset bulb instead of the other – no extra cost.

    I did get the lamp with their main bulb, and then had to pay the additional cost of buying the alternate version, but I was content with that decision, as the frequency seems closer that ptoduced by the Halogens.

  253. M says:

    Thanks guys.

    I think my earlier description is wrong, and there was a bottom screw attached to the base but that’s the part that broke off (either way it’s broken and part remains in the tube).

    I e-mailed Full Spectrum today and the response I got says they can’t substitute the sunset bulb for the daylight bulb, but they offered a slight discount for the second bulb. I’m going to think about it but having to pay for two bulbs only to use one seems like a bad deal.

  254. KO says:

    That’s frustrating, and seems ridiculous, really. The bulbs are interchangeable. The only reason I can think that they wouldn’t want to make the substitution is that the lampsa are already packaged and saeald, and they would have to open a box and tear open the packaging inside. But you would have to do al that anyway, and they have a return policy, so if the customer requests a different bulb, I don;t see the problem.

    The bulbs are supposed to last a lng time, so it aeemed a worthwhile investment to me. But since the bulbs are expensive, I think Full Spectrum could be more accommodating.

  255. M says:


    Thanks, it could be as you described. It’s up to them how they want to do things so I’ll see what else I can come up with.

    Some of the floor lamps I was looking at in Target and Home Depot said they used 150W traditional incandescent bulbs–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 150W bulb in action before (you can’t at the store) so I’m wondering if I got one bright and clear enough how it might compare.

    I called my local hardware/general store today and they don’t carry the old torchieres either (and the few I read about on Amazon had bad reviews, such as arriving damaged).

    Should good lighting really be this difficult in the year 2009? ;)

    P.S.: Thanks to our host Mike for giving us a place to commiserate!

  256. KO says:

    You may find that a bright incandescent bulb provides ample light. Even a 100 watt bulb is quite bright, if not too heavily muted by a shade or globe. You can get 150 watt bulbs at various stores. I have had them as 3-way configurations (50 – 100 – 150).

    A floor lamp with a 150 watt incandescent bulb would likely provide quite a bit of light. Three issue occur to me when considering that option –

    1. Frequency – Is it an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable light? Does it it illuminate the environment adequately – not just brightness, but the range – so that it provides satisfactory color contrast of objects in the room? This combination of brightness and pleasing ambience is the magic allure of the Halogen bulb for those of us chiming in on this site. How close an incandescent bulb could come to that standard is the question.

    I’m not sure if they are available in 150 watt versions, but a couple of companies offer comparatively natural-looking incandescent bulbs. Sylvania sells a “Daylight” model, which I use. A 100 watt Daylight bulb in my kitchen overhead fixture is very bright and pleasing. (The bottom of the globe fixture is open, so direct light emanates through there.)

    GE makes a “Reveal” model. also a more natural and illuminating bulb.

    Both of these are available at the usual retail stores,

    2. Incandescent bulbs are under assault by promoters of energy efficiency, who include legislators. There is a movement to mandate the replacement of incandescent bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent light) bulbs. So it is conceivable that you would not be able to buy incandescent replacement bulbs after a couple of years. CFLs are a lot better than they used to be, but I still prefer incandescent to them.

    3. Bulb life. You will probably have to replace your 150 watt incandescent bulbs pretty often.

    If you do get such a lamp, please post with your observations.

  257. Warren Dew says:

    A 150 watt incandescent will not be nearly as bright as a 150 watt halogen, let alone a 300w. It may have adequate light for some purposes, but it will not light up the substantial room brightly the way a high wattage halogen will.

    I don’t think 300w halogens are available any more, but there still appear to be 180w ones, which would be about twice as bright as a 150w incandescent:


  258. KO says:

    Agreed – an incandescent of that wattage would be no match for a Halogen of twice the power. But factors such as direct/diffuse and muted/uncovered. as well as perceived brightness vs.. measurable output, would make a big difference. An uncovered 150 watt incandescent with a wide-dispersing reflective collar or basin behind it would produce a considerable amount of light. For that mater, if you put a 150 watt bulb in a table lamp, and removed the shade. you would light up an entire room. You just wouldn’t want to look directly at the bulb. So if a floor lamp were designed to distribute as much of that light unfiltered into the room while still obscuring the bulb from direct view, it could be pretty bright. Definitely an alternative to a halogen, not a replication, but possibly brighter than one might think.

    The accounts I have read from users of the 180 watt Halogens indicate that they are a waste – just not very bright. I wonder if a 150 watt would be only half as bright. Perhaps you are correct. But I have not heard anyone endorse the 180 watt Halogens. I guess once you’ve had 300 or better. 500 watts, 180 just doesn’t cut it.

  259. M says:

    Yeah I wouldn’t think a 180W halogen would be that great. I might try one of the Target or Home Depot standards with a carefully selected bulb.

    I’ll let you guys know how it goes, probably in a week or so (I’m waiting to hear back on a potential job offer before making any new purchases).

    For now I’m under the ceiling fan light, very dull and hazy even with four bulbs!

    Just looking at Home Depot’s site, I see a couple of EcoSmart “Daylight” CFL options. Anybody try those?

  260. Rich T says:

    I just got a new apartment on very short notice and needed to get some lights for it (keeping all my other stuff in my main place). I ordered 3 more Full Spectrum lights which will arrive today, but I needed some lights to hold me for the first few days of this week. I went to Target to get “furniture” (a folding bridge table with 4 chairs for $39, a GREAT deal), and 3 lamp bases that are rated for 100 watts (about $40 each, not such a great deal especially since they’re largely obsolete when the torchieres arrive today). Anyway, I went to the supermarket to get 100 watt bulbs (really the cfl equivalent) and I was surprised to see this other alternative: a 200 watt halogen that looks like an incandescent bulb and screws into the same size base as the 100 w I was getting. I didn’t try it, though I was tempted, because it cost more and I only had a temporary need (I mean, I had already wasted enough money on the Target lamps), and I wasn’t sure if it created a fire hazard in a 100 watt base. But I wonder if anyone else has experience with these things?

  261. M says:

    Update: I ended up with two bulbs: a GE Energy Smart 3-way CFL (12/23/29W) and a GE Reveal 3-way traditional incandescent (50/100/150W).

    I’ve tried both and their light is nearly identical–I even took a (non-flash) picture of each to compare and can’t tell the two apart.

    I was surprised that both are actually tolerable, because the last time I tried a conventional lamp in the office the results were poor. They’re noticeably dimmer than my old halogen lamp but just bright enough (at the highest setting) for work.

    So it’s darker but I won’t have to feel like some kind of illicit drug user hustling to buy a new halogen lamp (yet everyone still sells the bulbs–hmm). ;)

    Too bad it had to end up like this. Why would people put flammable material on any kind of heat source?

    Ah well, go with the flow. It’s better to have a sense of humor about these things.

  262. DS says:

    Ogglebog, are you still making lamps? I am interested in buying one.


  263. x says:

    After the x and i decided to call it quits, my son and i moved into a 2br apartment. Being a single father, money is always tight. So i went to the local Goodwill and found one of these lamps. plugged it in and it lit up. If nothing else, i could use the bulb for my shop light. Got it home and realized why it was $5, the dimmer switch was not wired, well…it was cut. So i wired the switch and realized why it was bypassed, it was dead. So i just bypassed it and it has been working fine for over a year now..on the same bulb. granted, i’ve known the care for halogen bulbs since they were introduced in cars. and like i said, i have a halogen shop light as well.

    Dont know if i would ever buy one of these brand new..not very attractive looking, IMO. But i feel i have gotten my $5 worth out of this lamp!

  264. Alexis says:

    Viva La Torchiere!

    Many thanks to Mike and all you dedicated halogen lovers for this cache of information.

    My two halogen torchieres (500w and 300w) are failing after an unusually cold winter here in Florida, which is probably just a coincidence, but still saddens me as I could have used the extra heat. I am especially up a creek as I rely on them for full-room lighting. No room in my house has overhead lighting because of the radiant heat wires running through my ceiling.

    I appreciate all the suggestions – they’ve given me hope that I may emerge from my dark, dark winter :)

  265. wib57 says:

    I know what you mean…I use mine for light and love it….and the heat is a much loved added bonus! Yes, they kinda use a lot of electricity…but so does a portable heater. :) It’s like the best of both worlds. Anyway, good luck with your lamps…hope you are able to get them going again. Spring is around the corner….

  266. Larry Brown says:

    Hi everyone…Hi Janet.

    A first for me. I went to throw trash in the dumpster and I saw the base of a Torchiere staring at me. Thinking “parts,” I pulled it out. A nice looking white thinline model, ~$30 list price. Halogen bulb looks good and entire lamps looks nice and straight. The base of the white bowl is a translucent green shadow thrower supported by a gold ball, just like on my expensive Torchieres. Deluxe! Take it home and get to it later. Later that night another trip to the dumpster netted the box! Holy moly these people kept the box. Pulling out the box I was horrified to see that it was from an incandescent model. Poor people. They are going to be in for a rude shock when they see the anemic light of that incandescent model, and even ruder when they go to try and buy a replacement halogen and find there are none to be had. Oh well, not every one can be handy like all of us here. Go back inside, plug in whitey for testing and ! He lights up! The dimmer is a little flakey but it still works fine. The bulb was even good! Bonus!

  267. Larry Brown says:

    Moral of the story: If you have a working Halogen with a good bulb and slightly flakey dimmer, do not trash it for a replacement incandescent model and then go back and try to find a replacement halogen when there are none to be had. To do so is utter folly.

  268. A solution no one seems to have mentioned so far: halogen shop lights. These are ugly but cheap, high-power, and halogen spectrum. I got the “Cooper/Regent TQS1000” from Amazon — two 500W halogen lamps on a stand, for $33. A few of these in your living room will chase most of the shadows into the corners. Caveat: it has all the hazards of the now-illegal torchieres, only more so. However, for SAD, in my experience, nothing less than kilowatts of halogen light does the job, so this is a big win.

  269. Josie says:

    David Chapman is right. It is the only alternative left to us. I have one of those double 500 watt lights on a stand. They also come as single (500 watt halogen) lamps encased in a box that will sit flat on a hard surface – floor or table.

  270. Josie says:

    The two 500w halogen lamps on a stand is, or at least used to be, available from Lowe’s.

  271. Josie says:

    The Designers Edge L-18 Home Light One-Light 500-Watt Halogen Portable Work Light is also available from Amazon, currently in stock, for $12.80.

  272. Josie says:

    Oh, this is so great, too! Designers Edge L-15 Bulb Buddy JR. Halogen Bulb Storage Case with Six 500-Watt Halogen Bulbs. Available at Amazon, in stock, for $14.23.

  273. Timothy says:

    Wow, I can’t get over how many comments are here and long how this discussion has gone on.

    I had a great 300 watt halogen torchiere that I was dumb enough to leave at my old apartment. Didn’t figure I needed it anymore and it was one less thing to have to move. What a mistake that was.

    Now I find myself needing one. Brought home one of the CFL variants and was NOT impressed. Took it back the next day. I’ve looked at 180 watt ones but almost every single one of them has bad reviews.

    Few questions for you halogen gurus:

    1) Do they still sell real (300 or 500 watt) lamps in Canada? Somebody told me you can get them in the EU still. As it happens I’m taking a trip to Canada in a few weeks and if I could get one up there it would solve my problem.

    2) Failing that, are the 180 watt ones as bad as all the reviews say they are? I never had to kick my 300 watt up to full power. I think the 180 watt would be enough light for me. I’m just concerned that the reviews all have them failing early or blowing bulbs like crazy.

    3) Failing both of the above, is there ANY alternative besides the expensive Estiluz (which looks great but is completely out of my budget) or the 250 Watt one? I almost bought the 250 watt model but again it came back to the bad reviews.

  274. Larry Brown says:

    Reply to #273(Timothy):
    #1: I have no knowledge of Canada. Try looking at Canada stores online.
    #2: 180 Watts, bulbs & lamps failing: see below.
    #3: 250 watt: see below.
    People like these halogens lamps because they are bright. Of all floor standing lamps, only the 300W halogens give enough light to where people think they are nice and bright. Anything less (incandescent, fluorescent, less watts) and people complain that they are dim and hate them. That’s why we’re all here. I personally *never* run mine on anything less than full power and I even have two in my large room. In (ahem) light of all that, I don’t think anyone that likes these lamps would be happy with 180 watts. 250W might be worth a try in a smallish room. Regarding the lamps & bulbs failing, it seems that sadly we all need to be prepared to deal with that, no matter what lamp we have. I’ve clocked my lamps at 6 months between failures and they usually need a rebuild every time. I’ve just started using new heavy duty bulbs that I hope will help (see my earlier post). I’ve got a stock of spare parts and I’ve modified my lamps to make the rebuild quicker. That would totally frustrate any normal consumer, but those of us that can’t live without these nice lights just have to deal with it. So, my advice to you is halogen only, 300 watts min, and be prepared to rebuild them regularly. Anything less probably just won’t do. These lamps are a great lighting solution, but nothing’s perfect in this world!

  275. Timothy says:

    @ #274:

    That surprises me on the rebuilding. I had my old one for six years and I only had to change the lightbulb on it once. Never had to muck around with the internal circuitry or anything like that. I rarely ran it on full power — it was in an 12×12 apartment living room. With the white walls half power was usually all I needed to light up the place. When I was watching TV or wanted some ‘mood’ lighting I’d lower it even further.

    Perhaps running it at low power contributed to my bulb longevity? The thing was generally on whenever it was dark and I was home — 4-5 hours a day minimum — so it’s not like it was sitting idle most of the time.

    I put it on my “Watts up?” meter one time to see just how much power I was using. I typically had it around 120-180 watts. Closer to 60 when I was trying to do “mood” lighting.

    Where could I get my hands on a 300 watt one? I’ve looked everywhere. They seem to be hard to come by even on eBay and Craigslist. My girlfriend has one left in her basement that the base broke off — it’s held to the wall with zip ties and hasn’t been used in years. Maybe I could use that as the foundation to rebuild one — I would need to find or build a base for it though.

  276. Timothy says:

    One other thing I’ll say, but it really annoys me that these have been largely pulled off the market because of a handful of people that couldn’t be bothered to exercise some common sense.

    I always knew what halogen bulbs were capable of. That’s why I kept mine away from the curtains and kept it turned off when I wasn’t at home. Common sense people. My research has turned up a few hundred fires started by these things — out of the MILLIONS of them that were on the market.

    It just kills me when a few idiots ruin things for the rest of us.

  277. Warren Dew says:

    Timothy, I’ve had mine for I think about two decades and never had to rebuild it. Apparently some of the earlier ones had better construction. My current bulb has lasted for years now, probably because I normally run it at half power or less. I do like being able to turn the brightness up all the way occasionally, but I only use that feature rarely.

    I had a 180w one in my office for a while; the office was maybe 10 or 12 feet square. It was fine for my needs there.

    Completely agreed about a few nitwits ruining things for the rest of us.

  278. Timothy says:

    Do you think the 180 watt would work for a 14×14 room with white walls? I tend to think it would based on my prior experience with running the 300 watt one at low power. If it lights up the place at 140-150 watts it will still be running below capacity and will hopefully have a decent bulb life.

    How is the safety shield/cage on them? Does that put shadows in your room? My old one was just a piece of glass covering the bulb. No issues with it. Can the safety shield be removed or have they taken that choice away from us as well?

  279. Warren Dew says:

    A 180w lamp would certainly provide at least as much light as a 300w lamp running at 180w, and probably a bit more because light production is more efficient at the higher end of a bulb’s range. If you were happy with that, I’m sure it would be fine. You might have to replace the bulb more often, but I don’t think it would be terrile.

    The safety cage didn’t bother me any. I didn’t notice any shadows, but I don’t remember explicitly looking at the ceiling and checking. There certainly weren’t any ambient shadows, due to the diffuse reflection from the indirect lighting.

    In the worst case, the safety shield can be removed. Either a screwdriver or wire cutters would have worked on the model I had. I doubt it will be necessary, though.

  280. Larry Brown says:

    To Timothy re: #278:

    The glass shield and the safety cage serve two different purposes, and this is a point of confusion that I hear sometimes. The glass shield must always be present, regardless of the presence of the safety cage, and you must not remove the glass shield, it must always be present when the lamp is in operation. The halogen bulb emits harmful radiation (I forget what type, ultra-violet or some such) and passing the light through the glass shield filters out the harmful component.

    The safety cage keeps any nearby curtains from coming in contact with the bulb, or actually the glass shield, which will also be plenty hot I guess. My lamps that have a dome shaped safety cage do not cast shadows, but the domed cage is visible and that might be unsightly to some. My lamps that have a flat safety cage does cast a grid shadow and I don’t like that, but I live with it. The flat cage has the advantage of not being visible. You can remove the cage no problem, you have to do that to replace the bulb. If it’s attached to the lamp with a chain, you can unscrew the chain anchor or cut the flimsy chain.

  281. Timothy says:

    Thanks for the quick responses everyone.

    I did know about the glass shield and UV. It also keeps dust off the halogen bulb, which as I understand it is very sensitive. I remember wearing rubber gloves when I changed the bulb on my old one so as not to get any finger oils on it.

    I guess my question with the safety cage was whether or not I could take it off without disabling the light. Didn’t know if the modern ones had a kill switch for this scenario. I’d leave it on if it doesn’t cast any unsightly shadows but if it does I’d like the option of removing it.

    I guess I’ll try and find a 180w model and see how well it works. I’ve given up on finding a 300 watt one :(

  282. Timothy says:

    I found one!

    Found a 300 watt model without the safety cage at a garage sale. The dimmer switch in it was broken — so I bypassed it and bought a 500 watt foot dimmer. Works like a charm now.

    I put a 130V “heavy duty” bulb in it. It only gets up to 280 watts on my 120V power supply but that’s all the light I need. I’m running it around 200 watts according to my “Watts up?” meter. I bet the combination of lower power and a 130V bulb will give me good bulb life — time will tell though.

    Glad I found this instead of buying a 180 watt model. That _might_ have been enough light but now I have some extra power when I need it.

  283. alt_bob says:

    Google for halogen torch lamp seeking source, parts after finding fcom local lamp store can’t get em’.
    More than this old guy can get through in once sitting. Did figure that are lots of stupid people coming out of our educational system as I suspected. I sort of figured each winter as news tells me of people running gas generators inside the house. As one who grew-u with candles for power-outages it seems simple, but guess not.How anyone did not know these bulbs are really hot and could not read the simple directions not touch bulb is honesly amazing.
    I have long know the none of the damn switches ae worth damn and straight wire soon as they break. Have always run most of a wall switch anyway. Did buy some more a few years ago as with the damn black keyboards and cpu’s really need the light now-a-days. Take the cfl’s back to china, worthless. But, these last two lamps appear to be spot-welded at the switch coupling. So now to find spare coupling parts after I cut off today which got me here. Wish I had know of it earlier. I need these to read or do any fine work by today. I use a two lamp 500 watt work lamp in shop to most things today – only way to get relective light around the band-saw to really see the blade anymore. So, just makes me angry so many fools caused fires!

  284. alt_bob says:

    Well, found this great, useful discussion to late it appears. Mr. Ogglebog appears had radom success with this 500w flamethrower as could not find it 26 Apr 2010 – went as soon as got down to his mentioning it. Knew I should have gotten back to the site sooner! Did talk directly with local lamp store repairman and he had a coupling(nipple)to attach the lamp pole wands together and aftr four days removed the threaded cut-off out of lamp and have put back in operation. Extracted some good stuff form all and save some tech stuff from Ogglebog, Tim and Brown for future repairs of the other four in the house. Now to get out and find parts and stuff before they are gone entirely. Someone said, “You can’t fix stupid.” That’s true, but at one time it usually fixted itself, but seems now it is just being kept going and going like the engerizer bunny.

    Thanks to all for invaluable assitance, support and information.

  285. Calvin English says:

    Just replaced the bulb on my post-safety, wire-grid, heat-sensor two-speed model ‘cos it was getting pretty dim. anyone know the difference ‘twixt T1 & J1? Mine calls for 300w J1, but there aren’t any…Some history: my first had a glass shield over the bulb…that’s it! On-off only. Switch went bad, replaced it. Went bad again, replaced w/ a dimmer. Sweet! Base broke, had it leaning in a corner. Mind you, owned this lamp for like 15 years! Found current one in a thrift store in town. Have since redone family room, so it looks a bit out of place, but…so much white light! Gotta find a white one I guess. (This one is black) Thanks for this-guess I’m not alone in my halotorch enthusiasm!

  286. Matt says:

    I’m reading these stories, and most of these “accidents” can be attributed to stupidity. Throwing a shirt over a lamp isn’t a good idea any time, much less with a high powered bulb, and I can’t imagine why someone would throw a shirt on a lamp that is over 6 feet tall… I love mine, have used it for 10 years, and will use them a long as I can get them. The light is better and they can light up a very large rooms. As long as you take the proper precautions, you’re safe.

  287. Mike R says:

    I had 2 500 watt from the 1990’s and one went bad. I used them all the time, if I want to see, I want to see. The socket went bad one on. I could not find one at 500 watt. I was not about to give up, found 2 more at a local thrift shop, bought both. Just for backup. Another instance when government is sticking it’s nose in peoples business.

  288. Dean says:

    I have several of these lamps, the satin black ones with gold couplings, which have stripped the threads of the coupler at the base…I just read this entire post hoping someone would have an idea where to get a replacement mounting, and other than one heckuva great crying laugh from the ad for the special design lamps (lost a contact lens!) I am still looking. Does anyone know where to get this part or have any ideas of alternate means of securely attaching lampost to base? Thanks!

  289. Dean says:


    I am also looking for the perfect three-way bulb…anyone know where to find one with wattages of 3, 30, and 300? 5, 50, 150 perhaps more likely in this litiguous world, still improbable? :(

  290. alt_bob says:

    It is my firm belief there are no good much less perfect three-way bulb.

    As for mounting-base, have not yet had that problem with my five lamps. But, was able to find a coupling at a good lamp store as I moaned about how useless the new “idiot-proofed” lamps are. Their repair tech still had some in a cubby-hole and gave me one. Color did not match, but we agreed function was purpose not looks – I need LIGHT! Anyway just had to remove last factory switch and another heat sensor and back to real light. All now on wall switches.
    Good luck with mount and best-of-luck for a 3-way:).

  291. Larry Brown says:

    Timothy: #281: The dimmer may confuse your watts-up meter. I’ve never seen any lamp with a safety cage kill switch. The safety cages were a retrofit. All I’ve ever seen is just a simple chain.

    I never use my dimmers, I always burn at full power, so I just tell people to cut them out and wire straight through. My lamps seems to burn the contacts with each bulb replacement, so I was surprised when my mom’s bulb burned and the contacts were in good shape. That lamp has no dimmer. Coincidence? The dimmer pulses the juice…that may stress the contacts.

    Calvin English #285: T1/J1: If it fits, it’s it.

    Dean #288: Try lamp repair stores in your area. Otherwise try ebay and Google. The best way is to collect all lamps you find and save spare parts.

    Dean : 289: I’m going to go out on a limb here and flatly state: there is no such thing as a 3 way halogen bulb of this type. 3 way bulbs work with 3 filaments, there’s no room for that in these bulbs. The 3 way lamps work by having the rotary switch control the current to the bulb. I don’t understand why you would ask for a 3, 30, 300. 3 watts would be utterly useless and probably not even light the bulb. On a 300 watt lamp it might be 100/200/300.


  292. Warren Dew says:

    On 3 way bulbs, you aren’t likely to find a halogen, I agree. However, the normal incandescent 3 way bulbs have only two filaments. Either one filament is lit, or the other, or both, to get the lighting levels. Thus, the highest wattage has to be the sum of the other two wattages.

    You may be able to find a 50/100/150 incandescent. I doubt you’ll find one topping out at 300.

  293. Timothy says:


    The dimmer is my attraction to these lights. If I just wanted something to burn at full power for hours on end I’d go with CFLs. CFLs are fine in that role, they only suck when you place them somewhere that you need short bursts of light (bathroom or closet) or dimming capability.

    I like being able to dim it real low to watch TV, adjust it back up for reading, turn it to full power for cleaning/cooking/etc. I’ve not seen anything else that’s nearly as flexible as a good halogen lamp with a solid dimmer switch.

  294. Dean says:

    Larry 291:

    Saying “3 watts is utterly useless” is strange…I have night-light bulbs that are 4 watts and are often more than I need…and I don’t need halogen. The whole point of dimming and “mood” lighting is, well, dim and moody…?! Yes, my eyes are very sensitive; I often gaff tape over the led’s on my AV equipment if I nap in that room…the red rocker switches on the surge suppressors are all taped over so I can watch movies without the ambient red glow…

    Warren 292:

    Thanks for info about the filaments summing…unfortunately that means I’ll never be able to get any kind of real spread between the levels…which is why these bulbs are all so useless to me.

    Only reason I care is that the high-pitch hum of the dimmers kills me (I also have very sensitive hearing). Do stand alone dimmers cause less filament hum, or is there a dimming technology that doesn’t cause it?

    Anyone know what the part is called that couples the base to the pole?

  295. Warren Dew says:

    The dimmer hum is usually actually a hum from the bulb filaments caused by the dimmer. Sometimes changing the bulb helps.

    Variacs function as dimmers for incandescents but do so by changing the voltage rather than chopping the wave form; they should remove the hum. Unfortunately they are large, heavy, and expensive.

  296. Larry Brown says:

    Dean #294: I retract the “utterly useless” comment with apologies. You’re right, 3 watts might make a good nightlight. It’s just that these halogen torchieres appeal to people that need more, more, more, so the concept of halogen torchiere nightlight seems a little out of torchiere character.

  297. Warren Dew says:

    Certainly there are people that are primarily attracted to the high output of these lamps, but I think there are also a lot of people who like the fact that they provide as much or as little light as we want. That requires a high high end, but that doesn’t mean I use that high end all the time – I only turn it all the way up when I need the light for reading, for example.

  298. BTD says:

    I have one remaining 300w halogen torchiere lamp that, thankfully, is still working and even more thankfully hasn’t yet burned the house down. I would, however, like to replace this lamp, as it’s getting rather old.

    This lamp pretty much provides all the light for a 20×20 room with a ceiling that slopes from 8′ to about 25′ (think of half of an A-frame). Table lamps won’t cut it in this room – we need something that will light the entire room (as the halogen lamp now does). And we like the bright light that the halogen bulb outputs.

    I was thinking about some LED track lighting on the back wall (with the lights directed toward the ceiling, hoping for an overall room lighting solution).

    Does anyone have any experience with LED lighting as a replacement for halogen torchiere lighting?

  299. David Nowacek says:

    Post #298 by BTD raises exactly my question. I’ll look forward to any replies to it.

  300. Warren Dew says:

    I have a 300w halogen and I also have a number of LED bulbs of various types.

    Most LED bulbs do not have much light output, and are really designed more for mood lighting than for illumination. A few, such as the Geobulb series, do put out substantial illumination – the Geobulb is the equivalent of about a 60w bulb, in the same space, though much heavier, and there are specialty fixtures that put out more light than that – but these are quite expensive. They do save enough electricity to pay for themselves over their lifetimes, but that takes years.

    LED bulbs are not perfect. They tend to have a spike in the blue end of the spectrum that makes the color balance a bit weird – “greenish” in some cases. I find them better than fluorescents, but not as good as halogens or even regular incandescents.

    Also, LED bulbs are not dimmable with modern dimmer switches.

  301. Dean S. says:

    I have also found LED’s to have a weird color, and kind of a ghostly illumination…even the higher wattage ones leave me wanting to turn on a REAL light to make up for their lack of FULL illumination; they seem to light things up just enough so that you realize you need more light, or more spectrum, or something. And now as they are starting to approach practical wattages and spectrums, their energy usage and heat output is starting to approach that of incandescents anyway.

    BTD: interesting that you seem to have what you want in the torch lamp, but are looking for alternatives…? Why fix it if it isn’t broken? As for fire hazards, personally I feel that’s more an issue with fluorescents and LED’s because their excessive circuitry is a fire risk, and switching power supplies, if they fail, tend to fail catostrophically, burning electronic components and plastic around the elements, releasing smoke and gases into the area which could cause combustion or at least toxic exposure…such as the browning cooked plastic around the base of an older compact fluorescent or the cooked mylar capacitors underneath. Not to mention the excessive circuitry also has a whole life cycle of pollution and energy consumption in it’s manufacturing, so what is the real savings?

    LED’s may actually save enough electricity to perhaps make up for alot of these shortcomings, however as with fluorescents the switching power causes power factor issues…so energy savings aren’t really as good as your bill may say, if you care that the wasted energy at the utility company is slowly raising your rates…and the switching causes noise to be added to the overall power grid, resulting in a need for even more electronic circuitry on new electronic devices to filter out the noisy ripple, adding to the vicious circle of excess components manufacturing pollution and production waste and raw material usage and landfill mass and on and on…incandescents are very simple devices that are very safe by design, essentially a fuse, and strictly resistive so don’t change power factor or add noise. They may just be the greenest solution out there if you look at the big picture of the entire life cycle of each technology.

    Sorry to rant, it’s the electronics technician in me :)

  302. Dale S. says:

    I agree with most of the posters here. I loved my 300 watt halogen torchiere lamp. I used to get them from Menards (hardware store) for around $15-19. They quality wasn’t so good and they wouldn’t last too long (I have 5- 4 of them broken now) but for $15 you couldn’t beat it! What I’d give to find them again! I have occasionally searched for hours at a time online for the past year or so with no luck. I don’t really want the 175 or 190 watt lamps. Anyone have any idea where to get the 300 watt lamps??? I still have the broken ones around the house and will see what I can do to repair them.

  303. alt_bob says:

    Dale S, (11/3/2010), “Dintthem” is the only option I believe. And amazingly this Sept a friend alerted me to two lamps at the curb nearby. One of my unit’s bulb gave up, I must not have cleaned bulb properly. Anyway, took to shop and grabed one of the “found units” that looked in good shape that had a bulb in it. Plugged in, turned on & it worked! So lazy me took upstairs and put in place and then note unit is a 500 watt’er, wow!!
    Fixing your own seems to be the only option. Harrington Lights suggested above somewhere has be my best friend besides some great, knowledgable posters here. I have one unit I put a straight swich in pole for full power, otherwise all straight wired and wall switch controlled. I need & want light – mood is another issue and other ligting that works better than a halogin in my opinion.
    Fix-em, use-em and be able to see is my advice.

  304. John says:

    High-power halogens are still widely used as work lights, especially by interior painters. Lowes and Home Depot typically carry Bayco and similar brands.


    I’m not seeing any sockets available as spare parts, but these work lamps are not too expensive and could be taken apart.

    I actually tried a double-head work lamp a couple years ago but it was a bit too industrial for my study.

  305. John says:

    McMaster has a wide range of tubular halogen bulbs.


    But no lamp holders. Somebody is still making plenty of them, but it seems they are being manufactured into the work lights and not sold at retail. Need to trace the supply chain. But will probably only be available in lots of hundreds or thousands.

  306. Josie says:

    This vendor seems to have the halogen bulbs (300w and 500w), for cheap, and sockets too. Is it for real?


  307. alt_bob says:

    Thanks to all for the links and intended assistance. I have found most all parts at Harrington Lighting and I too have couple 500 work lamps, but not what one nor one’s spouse will accept for room lighting.

    Just finding a fully working (switch too) orginal was a surprise. The two were covered in dust, leafs as expected from shed or garage storage. Just blew the 500 unit off in driveway and took to basement to get at when needed or got to. Well, got to and it was a working unit!!
    Last night fixed the unit that bulb had failed in to find need grease on ends as will socket contacts slowly moving back and appears last bulbs all have contacts deeper into the bulb ends as changing bulb did not at first work. Did I mention how lazy I am and hate pulling out socket to re-align contacts?
    Great, contacting with fellow torchiere lovers and users. Again thanks for being here.

  308. BreakAtBase says:

    For anyone whose torchiere floor lamp breaks at the base (cheap white metal connectors), check out home depot for a cheap table lamp with same diameter tubing – I saved 4 such halogen floor lamps thanks to 2 hampton bay table lamps, which I bought at 39.95 each and pirated 2 cast iron connectors from each, sanded the thread a bit and snipped plug to run wiring of floor lamps through, then added new plugs. Better and stronger than new. Love my torchiere 300W halogens.

  309. Josie says:

    Does anyone know what to do about a 300W torchiere lamp that works only on dim and not on bright? Click once to dim, click next to what should be on bright, but it goes off, nothing. Next click puts it on dim again. This happens regardless of the age of the bulb. Same thing happens with a brand new 300W bulb installed.

  310. Josie says:

    I looked at Lowe’s online, thinking to buy some 300W bulbs for my remaining torchier and to buy a 500W halogen work lamp–the kind with two lamps on a tall stand, or just a single detached work lamp. They have both … but when you look at the reader reviews, they all say that these items are no good! That they burn out and die in just a day or two! The lamps, not just the bulbs! That’s really discouraging!

  311. Dale says:

    Did innumberable searches on Amazon over the past couple years for halogen Torchiere lamps. Amazon keeps tabs on what you search for and sends you updates from time to time. (Clever marketing!)

    I got a notification for Torchiere lamps today. They are only 190 watts, tho. Check it out. There is a cheaper one in white, too.


  312. Josie says:

    Thanks, Dale. That lamp got mixed reviews. Also, I noticed–and a reviewer mentioned–that 190 watt replacement bulbs are not available.

  313. Mike says:

    I love that the original post is 4 years old and people are still actively discussing this. Just goes to show how popular these lamps were! It’s a shame that government regulations have made it impossible for us to buy them.

    Does anyone know whether any of the new crop of 190-watt halogen lamps can handle 300 watt bulbs? I’ve seen some websites that say they can’t and others that nicely ask you not to do it. But no official word.

  314. Wilson says:

    First of all, I have to say this thread has revived my 2 dead halogen torchiere. Much thanks to all the posts.

    And for those who are interested, I just came across Lowes clearing out this brand of floor dimmer called Touch & Glow Tabletop/Foot Dimmer in the lights section priced at only $2.50 a piece(compared to about $12.50 for a Lutron floor dimmer). This is a San Fran Bay Area Lowes, btw.

  315. Cathy says:

    Well, I got on line to find out where I can get a new halogen floor lamp and found this site. I received mine as a house warming present from my brother about 20 years ago and have loved it although it’s a bit tacky now. It’s gold, shiny, brass colored, nothing fancy about it but it has been lighting all my houses since it’s purchase. I have moved 3 times and it has survived each move without a scratch. Once you own one of these amazing light sources you will never be satisfied with the dull, sub-par light of any other type of lamp. I can light my entire kitchen and family room, which together are about 40ft x 25ft, with just this one lamp!! Not to mention the awesome dimmer feature which allows you to have subtle mood lighting at your finger tips. I just had to replace the bulb for the first time in 20 years this past fall and I got the replacement bulb right at my local Publix grocery store. Works like a charm. Unlike some of the other posters, I had no issues with oils from my fingers messing up the bulb, that sounds crazy to me. Maybe they should put the pizza down before changing out the bulb. Anyway, I’m very disappointed that you cant find a quality one now so I guess I’ll hang on to my old tacky gold one for as long as it lasts and keep searching. BTW As far as the fire hazard, seriously, if your going to have dirty clothes piled up in your house (gross) keep them in your closet or something not right next to your halogen lamp, you slobs have ruined it for the rest of us!!

  316. Bill H says:

    So, does anyone know where I can purchase a torch lamp with a 500w halogen lamp?


  317. Jason says:

    Bill, 500 watt halogens are for commercial use only. Put one in a residential Halogen Torchiere and more than a fire, the lamp will short circuit in no time.

    Does anyone know when the UV Glass Filters were required. I bought a Torchiere in the mid-90s and it didn’t have a filter.

  318. Larry Brown says:

    Jason: Your information is incorrect. 500 watt bulbs are not for commercial use only. You can buy them in any Home Depot or Walmart. At the auto parts store you can buy lamps on stands that take a 500 watt bulb, those lamps are not intended for commercial use. Putting a 500 watt lamp in a residential torchiere will work without problems, it will certainly not cause a fire. The only way it would short circuit would be if it actually melted the insulation on the lamps wiring, and it won’t do that.

    The UV glass filter has always been required. The light from the halogen lamp is harmful unless passed through this glass. Your lamp was defective if it didn’t include it.

  319. KO says:

    FYI – 50-watt bulbs –

    I used a 500-watt bulb in a torchiere for about a year (until the lamp base broke a couple of years ago). It worked fine, as Larry said, HOWEVER, the bulb was hotter than a 300-watter, and the heat caused the glass UV filter to break. (I continued to use the lamp without the filter – I don’t know what danger I may have been exposing myself to, but now I know better.)

    Anyway, if anyone has or is able to procure a 300-watt-rated torchiere, and wants to use a 500-watt bulb, be aware of the higher heat it will produce, and its potential effect on the glass filter, as well as any part of the bulb compartment/interior of the lamp bell. Likewise, anything flammable in the room – maybe allow a little more distance away from such things.

  320. Jason says:

    I’ve been running my torchier since about 1993 (I had it in college!) with a 500 watt bulb and no operating problems. Lately, though, the bulb has really begun to hum and buzz on any dimmed setting. Full power, no noise. The screws that hold the glass shield to the tin tray have become loose and stripped, and the tray itself does not appear to be as tight as it was when new. I believe the frequency of the bulb is transmitting through these parts and they are acting like a speaker. If I push on them in different directions, the noise get worse or better. Anyone know if replacements are available, or should I be hitting ebay and thrift shops? This is a bummer, because the light otherwise works fine but the noise kills me. Oh, the dimmer did fail years ago, but I direct wired and use a foot dimmer now, no problems.

  321. Yo-Yo says:

    I still have one of these lamps. Bought it, hmmm…, maybe 15+ years ago. Still works. Not long ago I replaced the dimmer switch. Odd, that you can buy the dimmer switch at Amazon (or other places) but not the lamp.

    Sadly, the problem is, that America is a big country. The bigger the country, the more stupid idiots you can find. Apparently, some brain dead Americans are notorious of throwing various flammable items on top of this lamp. Not sure why. Or, they place it next to curtains in such a way, that the curtain actually touches the top of the lamp. And then there is the fire.

    And now, because of a few morons, we can’t buy this lamp any more.

  322. amyf says:

    Used to use 300w lamps of this type – most recently I was only able to get a 150w one, which just died (of course, right after I purchased a new 150w bulb). Now what I’m finding online is lamps that want 190w bulbs – never heard of 190w. Can a 150w bulb be used in a lamp that’s supposed to use 190? Also, everything I’m seeing is $100 or more – these used to be $30-40 in stores! Does anything like that still exist?

  323. jason hunter says:

    i suppose it comes as no surprise that the last remaining torchieres in the first world would have to be burgundy.

  324. Josie says:

    Kathy, I wonder if this is for real. The company doesn’t sell anything else. Maybe someone came across a cache of lamps warehoused and forgotten. Wish I had the cash to order a couple of them immediately.

    Jason, burguny would be fine with me. Neon sky blue pink would be fine, too.

  325. jason hunter says:

    :) i suppose i’m lucky to have my brushed silver one, just like the one featured at the head of the blog. The plastic moth catcher of course hardened and cracked, but i had the local glass company furnish a replacement out of thick furnace glass for about $45. i’ve also replaced the dimmer with a quieter, 300W rated one. And i even replaced the knob with a custom chrome guitar knob. Love this lamp. And the two pole shorty beat-around i keep in the studio on the counter top in the corner.

    i wish i could see this lamp which you’ve imagined, Josie. It truly sounds awesome!

  326. amyf says:

    I’d love to get the burgundy lamp but the site does seem iffy. Seems to be the only product this company offers – click on the other items listed and they don’t exist. Does anyone know how to find out if this is legitimate?

  327. Kathy says:

    I tried to proceed to checkout, just to see how it would work, but I could find no way to do this. ???

  328. alt_bob says:

    Re: Josie & Kathy on Canada Web Site sales.
    I also went to check-out & found no way to submit an order and found some standard template notes indicating that site is in development and we will have to wait & see if real, a joke or some site wanting to infect our cpu’s.

    Has anyone else noted the seeming short life-cycle of the current 300W bulbs? From three different sources now my bulbs begin do dim after two months and burning out in 5 to 7 months! I have 5 lamps, 2 in constant use (8+ hrs /day). I have tried alcohol cleaning bulbs each time with no noticeable improvement. I have removed all dimmer’s and factory switches to just on/off’s. Been at this for years now. Just got this year 2 more lamps from street side trash, on still had a working bulb in it after just blowing off the dust!

    Lets keep up the call for real light and not mercury filled trash in our homes and bowing to the will of the ignorant and careless. Af “Forrest Gump” noted “stupid is as stupid does.”

  329. John says:

    While I appreciate the rebellious spirit of this group, let’s be a little realistic about consumer products.

    A consumer product needs to be reasonably safe when operated by the full population of consumers. This includes children, the elderly, and anyone else who has diminished capacity to, for example, keep the curtains away from the incendiary torchiere.

    The hazards of a torchiere are not obvious and are not generally known to society at large — unlike machine guns, chain saws, scuba gear and other high hazard items that are sold.

    So I fully support the CPSC even though I personally pine for a halogen tochiere. Flame me baby! -John

  330. alt_bob says:


    While I see that you mean well, I must say that I do no believe you are the realistic one. You cannot make laws nor everything “completely safe.” And as a scuba diver I cannot see listing scuba gear or the halogen torchie lamps has “high hazard items nor a chain saw. As they say you cannot fix stupid. Futher, I do not believe children, the diminished capacity and many elderly are consmerers, the consumbers would be their caregivers, thus they would be the ones in my stupid list that would make the torchies any hazard. I read the research by the two young ladies that made the items unsafe based on as I recall 296 reported incidients. Not much to go to deny the general population of potential consumbers in my view.

  331. Mark James says:

    Surfing and came across this Blog. I have found many of the comments interesting. I too had a Halogen Lamp and it was great. When it died I started looking for another one and could not find one anywhere. First of the year I started looking again and found one on line. I bought one and it has been a great replacement from the one I used to have. I just recently bought another one and would recommend it to any one who has not been able to find one to replace the old 300-Watt from years ago, this one definitely does!


  332. Josie says:

    Yes, I noticed that the last few 300 watt bulbs didn’t last long at all. I wonder if they deteriorate with age. I’ve heard that the ones you might still get from abroad (far east) are much worse. In some cases they last only weeks or even days. I was on my very last 300 w. bulb recently when my son found a couple he had kicking around in a drawer at home, and mailed them to me. So one’s in the lamp right now and I have one spare. After that, life will be dimmer.

  333. jason hunter says:

    They still make lightbulbs. The stick/double ended style we are talking about are quite prevalent in construction and other commercial use.

    Basically, if you’ve got the lamp posts, you can still buy all the other parts and pieces and put a lamp back together. You just can’t buy a new one all assembled in a box. Sometimes i think we forget that somebody had to put all those pieces together in the first place… And a lamp is incredibly simple to rebuild or repair. i’m sure you could google a walk through.

    Speaking of which, here is the result of my forty second search for “halogen light bulb”:


    As you can see there are numerous models of 300W bulbs to purchase.

  334. amyf says:

    Mark James – where did you find one recently?!?

  335. Cynthia says:

    OMG!!!! What a bunch of ninnies! I’ve used the “fire hazardous” halogen lamp in every version available since they first hit the market (1990’s). I’ve never had a problem with them, and know of no one else who has. It makes me furious that the government is regulating these lamps…because there isn’t another type of lamp with comparable light output.

  336. John Phoenix says:

    The ladies house Did Not burn down because of the lamp itself. The house burned down because someone was careless with or around the lamp – I’d bet 100 dollars on it. You cannot blame the lamp itself. I use 3, 500 watt halogen work lights without a front grill with tissue paper (for a diffuser) no more than 12 inches away from the front glass for photography and video lighting. I have never had any problems with the tissue paper catching fire. There is plenty of distance at 12 inches to keep the heat well below a combustible stage. I do keep an eye on the lights and never leave them on too long. I have owned a few torchiere lamps in the past and never had a problem. They are safe as long as safety rules of common sense are followed.

  337. Peter Faulkner says:

    8 years ago, I renovated my basement in an Art Deco style, and I bought two amazing stainless steel/copper torchieres that used 300w bulbs. A couple of years ago, the dimmers died, and I went back to the store where I had purchased the lamps… only to be told that the lighting company that made the torchieres was no longer doing any manufacturing. They had no idea where I could get the lamp fixed, and were much more interested in selling me replacements.

    After reading this blog, I was motivated to do a little more research, and yesterday I found Lutron dimmers (http://www.lutron.com/Products/StandAloneControls/Dimmers-Switches/Pages/DimmersSwitches.aspx) at Home Depot.

    Two Attache lamp dimmers cost me a total of $32… and all I had to do was cut the cord from the original dimmer and insert it into the new lamp dimmer. I paid $19.99 for a pack of six industrial 300w bulbs in a padded case (also Home Depot), and now I’ve got these great lamps functioning again.

    Don’t give up hope, people. While it might be more energy efficient to use the little LED lamps, or the compact fluorescents, nothing beats the ambiance of a dimmed high-watt torchiere. Just don’t run it all the time, and be sane about placement.

  338. Kate says:

    Lamp Wiring Help

    Just found this site today, and I’m happy to see that there are so many others who are as attached to their beloved halogen lamps as I am to mine. I have a torchiere that I inherited from a former roommate (who states it’s at least 10 years old), and I’m having some trouble with it and am hoping that someone will have some advice. Basically, it’s a wiring issue.

    My floor lamp takes a 300w (max) halogen bulb, which is the bulb I always use with no problems. The other day, after having been on for a few hours, the lamp suddenly turned off. After replacing the bulb did nothing, I poked around and discovered that one of the 2 wires (there’s one from each end of the bulb) that eventually disappears into the center pole was severed, about *halfway* between the contact point for the bulb and the center pole exit. Once I recovered from the confusion of how that could have spontaneously happened (and why only now?), I began to worry about how (or whether) I could fix it.

    I have a very basic understanding of wires and conduction, but I have absolutely no experience with halogen bulbs (other than gingerly replacing the bulb twice in the three years I’ve had the lamp), and I’m unclear about how the high temperatures from the halogen bulb may potentially affect wiring (or my attempts at wiring repairs) that are only inches away from the bulb. The wire is covered in white cloth.

    These are the options I’m considering. I have no idea which would work better, or if either of them are even practical. This is where you come in.

    1. Attach the two severed ends of the wire with solder. I’m concerned about the temperature. Some websites claim that 300w halogens can exceed 900F, and most solder (I think) wouldn’t stand up to that.

    2. Bridge the gap with a similar gauge (and cloth-sheathed) wire, and solder the ends to the original wire. The original wire does *not* have much slack when the severed ends are placed together (I thought that was a strange manufacturing decision), so I briefly considered this idea. However, same concerns as above.

    I found lots of discussion about dimmers, bulbs, etc. on this page but didn’t see anything that sounded like the issue with my lamp. (I didn’t read every post so maybe I missed something.) Basically, I’m trying to repair a severed wire (replacing it would require dissecting the lamp), with the added twist of trying to avoid frying the wire from the high halogen temps. The lamp is about ten years old, but was rarely/never used for about five years, until I acquired it and started using it about 3 years ago. It has a low and high setting, controlled by the power knob. No crazy metal “cage” over the bulb, just a thin metal casing underneath it and a round glass casing over the bulb.

    Am I crazy for even considering solder? I’m totally in denial about needing a new lamp. Thanks for your input!


  339. Larry Brown says:

    Kate: This isn’t rocket surgery, any method will do. Probably most repairs are done with good old twist & tape. Solder will work fine, no question. My advice is to use a wire nut. Just twist the wires together & the wire nut screws on. Get thenuts at home depot. For replacement wire use anything approx the same guage or thicker. The cloth sheath is a heat resistant shield, needed because tho the heat will not come lose to melting solder, it may melt plastic insulation.

    It’s never too late to start learning, but it’s best to have teacher, so infringe upon the graces of a handy-man friend or neighbor to help you. Also any electrician could do the job in a half hour. A local TV repai shop or appliance repair shop could ls do it. Just offer them $10 & they’ll do it.

  340. Jay says:

    where can i get one of these 300watt torchiere? if someone can’t use it responsibly, then maybe they shouldn’t have a lot of many other things. i’ve had this type of light for at least 3 habitations and NONE of them have burned down even in the slightest.(insert rolling eyes)

  341. Ron says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned GE “Halogen Ultra” bulbs. These produce the same light using less power (225w instead of 300w) and last longer too. Unfortunately these have become hard to find. Here is one place that still has them: http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-GE-HALOGEN-ULTRA-DOUBLE-ENDED-LIGHT-BULBS-225-WATTS-/360435699261?_trksid=p4340.m185&_trkparms=algo%3DSIC.NPJS%26its%3DI%252BC%26itu%3DUA%26otn%3D5%26pmod%3D390389585724%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D6446056011464048562

  342. Ron says:

    I have also tried the NO-OX-ID grease that Ogglebog mentioned to deal with the contact oxidation problem with unfortunately the same result (it didn’t really help). I then tried using anti-seize grease. (Specifically Permatex “133A”. “This product is a highly refined blend of aluminum, copper and graphite lubricants. Use during assembly of metal parts to prevent galling, corrosion and seizing and to assure easier disassembly.”) It’s available at auto parts stores. I’ve had good results with this so far.

  343. amyf says:

    But has anyone actually found the LAMP itself recently?

  344. Kathy says:

    What do you think of this?


    The no return policy concerns me.

  345. Ron says:

    I love the form factor of the torchiere lamp and the amazing quality of the diffused bounced light. I hate the expensive-to-run halogen bulb.

    I was hoping there was a way to replace the halogen assembly with a fluorescent or LED assembly.

  346. Barbara says:

    I can’t believe the conversation on this topic has been going on for nearly six years. I suppose I’m not the only one who is interested in these lamps!

    Like Mike, I love them and have never had a problem in 25+ years of owning them. I continue the search for a replacement but I have one requirement that makes my search even more challenging: I want one with the clear or “smoked glass” top — not the metal ones that block the light.

    Ah well, the search continues. At least now I know I’m in good company!

  347. jason hunter says:

    Barbara, your best bet is to have one made for you by a local glass blower or some such artisan. You might even be able to find an old pyrex salad or serving bowl from Salvation Army or an antique joint which can be sand-blasted to “frost” it, then drilled with a special bit, or at a glass shop, to fit your lamp fixture.

    It might cost a little more, but it will be truly unique.

  348. John P. says:

    I ordered the torchiere from Amazon and it arrived on time.

    The assembly is straightforward. You don’t need directions. I used a little olive oil to help with the threading on the tubes. They’re aluminum tubes, so do not force the threading ! If you screw up the threads (and it’s easy to do), you are done unless you have access to a machine shop (which I don’t).

    Assembled, the lamp did not work. I wasn’t about to let that deter me, so I put new wiring in it. A pair of wire cutters/wire strippers is almost a must. I took the toy dimmer out, and threaded a new 16 gauge cord (15 feet) straight through the tubing, (from the bottom up). I removed the connections of the original wire (inside the reflector assembly), and twisted the new wires in place with wire connectors, duplicating the original wiring, then reassembled the reflector. I purchased (at Lowe’s) a new dimmer for about 8 bucks (it doesn’t go inside the lamp pole) for the cord to plug into. With the lamp, I had ordered a 300 watt halogen, and I (using light cotton gloves to avoid touching) inserted it into the fittings and placed the clear shield back over the bulb. The shield snaps on.

    I set the dimmer to off, then plugged the lamp in, and carefully eased the dimmer to full on. It works, and well; I really love the reflected light without glare and shadows. I feel since I bought a new lamp, I shouldn’t have had to spend the time and money to get the lamp in working order. However, if you get one, and know what you’re doing, (or perhaps know someone who does) you can make it better than it was originally.
    Years ago, I had a lamp almost identical to this new one. It served me well, but after a time, I replaced the dimmer with one purchased from a hardware store. It all worked well for even more years, but I finally junked the lamp because it was damaged in moving.

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. To be sure, the halogen produces heat – what electrical appliance doesn’t? More than a few fires have been started by electric irons. I see plenty of them on the shelves at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.. The use of any electrical appliance calls for the use of care and common sense.

  349. Mary Jo says:

    I love my 500W torchiere lamp, however today when I was taking the bulb out to replace it I broke the curved glass shield that goes over the bulb. My google search has come up zip, anyone know where I can get a replacement?

  350. Ms. M. says:

    I’m so happy that I found this site and WOW has it been going for a long time. Allow me to keep that up with this post. My favorite halogen torchiere that I have had since 1992 that does NOT have the metal ‘safety’ cage over the light has been going strong with only a dimmer switch replacement and 3 or 4 bulbs, I can’t remember, and never had any problems with fire…burned bugs attracted by the light maybe. :) However, recently the reducer that connects the base to the first section of the pole has weakened and broken. I am attempting to find a replacement part for this but it seems very difficult. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’m tempted to buy another torchiere from a seller on craigslist for $10 and use it for parts, but I would hate to destroy another perfectly good lamp (even if it isn’t a halogen!). Thanks so much!

  351. John says:

    Just a reminder, some halogen parts are here:


    500 watt halogens are still very popular as enclosed, rectangular work lights at places like Lowes and Home Depot so that is a source of sockets and bulbs. I tried a work light as a torchiere substitute and it was a bit too narrow angle and industrial for my tastes.

    Also a periodic reminder to not leave off the cover glass! That protects you from UV radiation. And I am still concerned about the amount of UV that leaks around the glass… have never gotten an answer on that.

  352. Alexis Moore says:

    Hi All,
    Does anyone here live in South Florida? I have two 300-watt halogen lamps available – one cream and one black. Both have the safety glass, neither has a safety cage. The in-line switches on both are broken, but following the great advice on this thread, you can fix them right up. I would offer them on Craig’s list or e-bay, but I wanted them to go first to the halogen lovers on this site. Free to a loving home.

  353. Kevin says:

    @Alexis Moore, thanks for your offer–how far south is South Fla? I’ve got friends in West Palm Beach. Otherwise, I’m in VA. I’d gladly purchase off of e-bay. Kevin

  354. Susan Dorey says:

    Six years! How fabulous that so many people are so passionate about these halogen torchieres.

    I bought my first three in 2001 when I moved into my current home, a rental. I needed good lighting in my living room, office, and bedroom. I paid $20 each at OSH. I replaced them one by one, all but one because of defective dimmer switches; the exception fell over after picking it up too many times. I just bought another fixture. But now there are no more.

    What to do? Several years ago I paid $600 to replace the living room torchiere with a sexy European model. Very nice, but can’t do that again. You all have inspired me to simply remove the faulty dimmer switch and plug the hardwired fixture into a floor switch. I will try this very soon!

    And, just gotta say, parts lamps? What a concept! Actually I have one in the garage because I could not bear to part with it. Thank you all!!

  355. Oscar says:

    I just bought a replacement dimmer for my 500W torchiere purchased back in 1988 (yes, 500W – read ’em and weep). And no, I never came close to burning anything down with this, although I did cause an awful mess with an out-of-control microwave oven one day…

    I was curious why it seems to be impossible to buy a new one of these today, which led me to some web searches and this blog post. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to be without one of these lamps.

    It’s been great reading through the comments with people’s recommendations on alternatives. I’d be happy to switch if someone came up with a better alternative.

  356. Bill says:

    I still have 2 500W lamps that I purchased in mid 90’s at K-Mart for $19.95. I treat them as gently as children cuz I’d be lost without them!

  357. Oscar says:

    I couldn’t stop reading the comments on this post until I was completely done. I’ve learned more about lighting, OCD behavior, and Everclear here than I had in decades of prior life experience.

    I do hope Ogglebog comes back some day to report on his mad scientist lighting experiments.

    And just as a data point, Larry Brown, I never once had to replace the bulb (or anything else) on my daily-use, 500W, 1988-vintage torchiere until the dimmer finally gave out (it had been a bit flaky for years). I usually ran it at half-power, however, and very rarely at full blast, as that seemed enough light to permanently blind anyone or anything in the room.

    In terms of why this thing is so desirable, it’s partly the quality of the light and partly the ability tune it anywhere from “mood lighting” to “curtain-igniting” at the mere turn of a dial.

    Hopefully the day will come when a suitable replacement arrives in the form of a simple, sub-300-dollar LED lamp, but until then, I’ll be keeping an eye out for any foolishly abandoned halogen scorchers.

  358. Oscar says:

    One more thought: is there a possible Kickstarter project here? If not a complete lamp, then what about one that came with everything rated for up to 500W, but didn’t include a bulb? Just a thought.

  359. TessM says:

    Wow! I knew I loved my god-only-knows-how-old shiny chrome halogen lamp, but I thought I was the only one. Have never had an issue with anything catching fire except maybe a few bugs here and there. Had to fix it with JB Weld, after the last move broke the threads between the pole and the top. Unfortunately it cured a little crooked and looks like hell, but still lights like a dream. (Dimmer works fine too so far!)

    We had it sitting in between the family room (vaulted ceiling) and kitchen (standard ceiling) and it lit up the under-served eating area nicely, while giving the family room a nice gentle light. However, since we are no longer college kids we thought maybe we should look for a nicer-looking (and not half-ass repaired) replacement. Of course, can’t find anything like a TRUE replacement, but we did buy this guy at Lamps Plus. It claims to hit the magic 500W number.


    I am no expert on lumens or anything else, and I think my halogen is only a 300W for comparison — but this thing *is* pretty darned bright. I notice that on their website, all the “Light Blaster” lights have the “MOST POPULAR” stamp on them, and I wonder if that means there are a lot of us light-starved people out there. Certainly, here in Oregon at the winter solstice, I am one of them.

    The big problem we have with this lamp is that the family room is two steps down from the kitchen, so if it sits on the family room floor, you can see the big ol’ CFLs from the kitchen. Urgh. I think my wonky halogen looks less bad! We have had it sitting on a box for a few days to see if we can live with it if we get some kind of pedestal… or maybe I will just point my DH with the Electronic Engineering degree in the direction of this page and all the great info here. This page in itself is a gold mine of information. Love it. Thanks to all who contributed.

  360. TessM says:

    @Alexis Moore, my husband’s in-laws live near Tampa and he visits them most every spring so he has a trip coming up, and he would not mind an assignment. :) I’d love to have those lamps for my studio if they are still available. How kind of you to offer them first to true connoisseurs!

  361. Sam says:

    I am one of those who loves their halogen dimmer standing floor lamp. I still have the one I used in college, 13 years ago. I’ve cleaned it and changed the bulb more than several times, and it still works great. I can’t find anything even remotely like it. If I had the wherewithal I would design something exactly like it, and replace the bulb with new and safe fluroescent bulb. WITH the dimmer switch, which IMO is the best feature. Thing would sell like hotcakes.

  362. jeff says:

    Hi Group,
    A note about fluorescents and why people don’t like them. I took a nuerofeedback workshop where they hook up EEG monitors to your head. The same way you use data like heart rate and breathing rate for bio feedback, you can use the EEG levels to learn to control brainwaves. We were learning how to teach people nuerofeedback at the workshop.
    Anyway, the guy leading the workshop who was an expert in the field explained we couldn’t have Fluorescent lights on because the fluorescent lights fluctuate at a different frequency than brainwaves, and the brainwaves start to entrain to the wavelength of the fluorescent lights. So simply put, fluorescents send your brainwaves into unhealthy fluctuations. I always really, really disliked fluorescents myself, but it was good to finally learn why I disliked them.
    The instructor of that workshop wouldn’t let fluorescent lights on at any time. Again, he specialized in working with the brain and brainwaves and saw the fluorescents as too destructive, even when we weren’t using the EEG and nuerofeedback equipment.

    Also, regarding 500 watt halogens, maybe we could sign a petition. If so many people have so much energy around this maybe we could do something about it. I agree with the previous post, we haven’t banned irons because their hot.

  363. JG says:

    I’m a little skeptical about this claim but did find a couple items



  364. Justine.J says:

    I’m so clumsy that I’d be afraid to have one in my house for fear that I would accidentally knock it over. Maybe put some more wight in the base to make it more stable?

  365. KO says:

    That is an obvious but still excellent observation, one that I don’t remember being made thus far in this now-classic discussion.

    Since there was such a concern about the high heat and subsequent fire hazard, why did the manufacturers insist on perpetuating the tiny base, high center-of-gravity design? That could have easily been improved, and if it had been, perhaps there would not have been so many conflagrations or other misadventures such that the product, as we knew and loved it, was abolished.

  366. Warren Dew says:

    Both the halogen torchieres I’ve owned had/have heavily weighted bases – the bases are nearly full of metal. I think any torchiere can be pulled over by a 3 year old if inadequately supervised – though my understanding is that most of the fires were due to people throwing clothing over the top of the lamp.

  367. shargirl says:

    I can’t believe that 7 years after this blog was written, people are still starved for the high wattage of the halogen torchiere!!! Our black torchiere’s dimmer/on/off switch just died after more than 10 years and now I see the issue that everyone else is seeing. Where can I find some equivalent??? I moved in a 3 way switch lamp (150W) and there is just no comparison. It’s still a dark corner! So, I have to buy 2 lamps to fill the darkness? I’ve enjoyed the smell of dead bugs over the years, but have never worried about fire hazards. We’ve had the lamp hooked up to a light switch, so we rarely have to use the dimmer switch. But we’ve always had problems such that the switch can’t be all the way on. But now the switch is loose and doesn’t click on and off. Can this part be fixed so that we can salvage it? P.S. the room that the 150W lamp is in is so dark it looks like a haunted house. :-)

  368. DBinSJ says:

    Does anyone happen to know anything about the “Illumine 1-Light Torchiere Lamp Polished Brass Finish,” sold at Home Depot? This is the URL: http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202696717?productId=202696717&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&MERCH=REC-_-SearchPLPHorizontal1-4-_-NA-_-202696717-_-N#.UXtc6bXvuSo

    It uses a “bi-pin” bulb. I haven’t found anything negative online about this bulb.

    I had a halogen torchiere for close to 20 years. The switch has again failed and I have decided to let go of the lamp, mostly because of safety concerns, as much as I liked the lighting.

    I have read things about CFL and LED lamps that concern me, so I was thinking that this bi-pin alternative might be a good option. It is listed online at $165.

    Any helpful feedback, before I make the purchase, would be most appreciated.

  369. Mark Piaskiewicz says:


    Just short the existing switch (bypassing it), plug the light into an power strip and use that switch to control it. These torchieres are getting to rare to abandon.

    One thing to consider is that these lamps, no matter how great they are, suck power like nobody’s business.

    Mark (in the dark)

  370. Larry Brown says:

    Mark (totally in the dark, j/k) “suck power like nobody’s business” is a little overly dramatic. It’s 300 watts. The 3 standard light bulbs. A two story house with 4 people living in it might be burning a dozen 100 watt lamps at the same time. These are worth the power they draw just as much as any other electric light in the house.

  371. JG says:

    You can also build a dimmer if you have basic wiring skills.

    Just put a wall dimmer in a metal receptacle box and wire it into the supply to the lamp. The box sits on the floor near the lamp.

    Make sure the dimmer is rated at the wattage of the lamp (typically 500 watts), and it is a good idea to use a grounded plug and ground the metal box.

  372. Mark Piaskiewicz says:

    Larry, it depends on your point of view. First off, I was talking about the much beloved 500 watt beauties. Two of these equal a microwave oven. And while I was an advocate back in the day and still miss these monsters, I’ve gone CFL & LED. LEDs are the future but still are too expensive, but even CFLs can do a great job if you think outside the box. Forget the supermarket CFLs, look to photography grade! A 10″ tall 85 watt CFL will put out roughly the same light as a 500 watt halogen!

    Now that incandescent lamps are being phased out we have to adapt.

  373. Warren Dew says:

    Mark, read above for the negative effects of fluorescents on the brain. For many of us, they cause migraines. Fluorescents have put out more light than halogens since before halogen torchieres were available; the problem is, it’s inferior light.

    LEDs have a strong spike in the blue part of the spectrum that meks their light problematic as well, albeit not as bad as fluorescents.

    Halogen torchieres can be as energy efficient as fluorescents if you generally keep them dimmed, as I do, using the full brightness only when needed. That also helps the bulbs last for many years.

  374. Mark Piaskiewicz says:

    Warren, we’re all different. I find the current generation of fluorescents tolerable except for their propensity to generate radio frequency interference. Being a shortwave listener I find that a problem. LEDs do have a problem with spectrum but white LED technology is fairly young and there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Incandescents, including halogens, produce the best visible spectrum but produce far more heat than light.

    BTW, dimming a halogen light won’t make it more efficient it’ll just make it dim (and stop the halogen cycle). Efficiency is just a ratio of Lumens over Watts, dimming just lowers both.

  375. Dale Stubitsch says:

    Being among the many that miss these excellent lamps I’d like to share how simple it is to repair these if you happen to have two or more hanging around.

    I bought 5 over the years. Only one remained working over time but I hung onto the others in the hopes they could be repaired. In all cases, the ends where the lightbulb makes contact burned out. I was able to scrape clean the contacts on a couple and was able to take the device apart and replace the contacts on a couple more. I ended up with four working halogen lamps and hope to keep them for a long while. I want to stock up on bulbs just in case.

  376. Mark Piaskiewicz says:

    I don’t recall the bulb number, but I believe it’s identical to one used in certain common work lights. Replacements should be available for the foreseeable future at any hardware store.

  377. Scott says:

    Jazz great Lionel Hampton lost a lot of memorabilia in a fire that injured 11 and needed 250 firefighters, due to a torchiere lamp tipping over…


  378. P F says:

    Wow! Ten years after the original post and here I am opining about the same thing: the tragic extinction of these amazingly versatile lamps way before their time. I only had two of these left, but ones a florescent model, so that doesn’t count…. And now my beloved halogen torchiere has finally gone kaput after about 15 years of dedicated service. In my desperate search for a replacement I stumbled upon this blog post from 2006!

    Apparently, there are NO replacements with a full range dimmer. I tried finding one of those Holmes models, but it looks like they stopped manufacturing those a few years back. Time to hit eBay and see if I can purchase one direct from Beijing. If that doesn’t work, I’m seriously considering breaking into my ex’s place and see if I can get one of the two back I gave to her. It didn’t end that badly for me to leave her without one….

  379. Jo Foster says:

    Help. I have no living room over head lights. and side table lamps even the three watt bulb (three way switch) does not put out enough light to see 3 ft. so no good for crafting or crocheting while watching T.V. I lost a working 500 watt torchlight, tried tho replace it but all I could find was a 150 watt. And it worked about 6 months and did not put out enough Light. If any one could tell me where to find a Replacement lamp,,, that put out as much light,,, as one of the 500 watt halogen torch-light. Please. Please let me know J. F. Hoping for something under $60.00 or lower as am on a fixed income. Thanks.

  380. Anonymous says:

    Lamps don’t wither.
    If you mean “to where”, the word is whither.

  381. C.D. says:

    2006 and I just now found this blog. I have been searching for 2-3 years for the glass dust cover for a friend’s lamp. They are nowhere to be found and I am not a glass worker.

    I have had my lamps since the 1990’s and every 3-5 years replace the bulb. Mine are still intact. And not one problem with them because I am intelligent and responsible.

    The way I see it, these are the same people who burn garages down because they don’t know how to use turkey fryers, have water heaters blow out of the house because they don’t know to have them checked/serviced/replaced, have house fires because they don’t clean out their dryer vents and have to replace their computers every 1-5 years because they don’t know to take them apart and get all the dust out. These are the same people who have caused the old metal fans with metal fans and wide wire cages to become obsolete.

    WHO in their RIGHT mind would throw a shirt or anything on one of these lamps?! Or stick their finger in the fan? Who in their sane mind would have these kinds of items in the reach of animals, children and impaired people?

    The government was not saving people from hazardous items, they were saving these people from themselves and their own stupidity.

    Don’t think the general population is 100% stupid? Go to YouTube and watch countless people and how they try to cut down trees with ladders resting on the part they were cutting down!!! Or someone trying to fly off a roof.

    Then tell me again!

  382. Leonard Pukrabek says:

    I am 85 yrs old, and as long as I can remember, things I’ve used most of my life with out any problems will all of a sudden be the focus of problems because idiots out there don’t know or understand how in the hell to do things, IT’S NOT THE PROBLEM OF THE UNIT, IT’S THE IDIOTS OF THIS WORLD.

  383. Kenny says:

    I am still using my original 71″ 300-Watt Halogen Torchiere lamp to this day which I purchased for $14 at an Asian mom & pop furniture store dating back to the mid ’90s – black lamp with a round greenish decorative glass underneath the black top shade. It’s got a very heavy base and came with a bulb but those did not last very long and melting at the tips from end to end, simply because they were very cheaply made – hence it was free. So I went to Home Depot and bought a 2-pk Feit Electric 300-watt quartz halogen bulbs for a mere few bucks, replaced it and the bulb is still going strong to this day (12/06/2017!!!) can you believe it? The other bulb left in the packaging will probably outlive me!

    Though they say the lamp is a fire-hazard, it can be, but I somewhat disagree. Everything is a ‘hazard’ from negligence, or for lack of a better phrase – under the hands of morons. I do keep up with the maintenance, this means cleaning out collected dusts from time to time, keeping the wattage lower than usual and never turned it up to max (only if I needed to for certain work). My torchiere is also situated away from items that are hazardous to flames. Speaking of which, I just finished cleaning the whole ‘head’ out tonight from the last cleaning of half a decade ago. Still using the same bulb, noise-free and dims fluidly and uniformly, in other words – smooth sailing. The lamp still retains its new look as we speak. Wish I can post a pick!

  384. Lee Job says:

    One of my 3 lamps (the one for my office) has finally hit the dust after 15+ years. I would really love to get another one, but have literally found nothing but the 150w.

    If anyone has found one, please let me know …. thanks so much!


  385. Chuck says:

    We’ve had a 1990s 300W halogen torchiere floor lamp for quite some time. Very handsome thing with a stack of glass rings and a stone base. Get the stray bug to get attracted to it and you’ll see a puff of smoke.

    I’ve been worried about this thing for years, but my wife likes it–and we have the usual “dark as a cave” house with vaulted ceilings. I don’t remember exactly where we bought it–it may have been Brighter Homes in Eugene.

    This year, I decided to bite the bullet–I got a 50W warm-white COB LED lamp, heatsink and the associated ballast and a small DC fan to cool the heatsink that the COB’s attached to. When running, the thing barely gets warm to the touch. There’s a 70C fusible link there, just in case.

    At least, it’s peace of mind–finally.

  386. Chuck says:

    One thing–halogen lamps are made to run at full brightness. With time, the filament evaporates and halogen (usually iodine or bromine) in the lamp scavenges the tungsten that would otherwise be deposited on the quartz envelope and instead deposits the tungsten back on the hot filament.

    If you dim these bulbs, the envelope will eventually darken and the filament will burn out.

    At least that’s what I’m told.

  387. James says:

    I believe Chuck is right.

    I go on long streaks (days or weeks) of leaving my light on at the same setting. I often use very-very-very-dimmed, not-so-bright full, and full. I can kind of keep mental track of how I used it over the course of a bulb and I can say my original bulb lasted for years of varied usage and all of my replacement bulbs (7+) lasted for about 4-11 months each.
    Most of the 4 monthers were when I used to leave it on very very very dimmed permanently for months at a time. The bulb would get dark dirty spots on the inside and die relatively quickly. When I left it on on the full or slightly less than full brightness levels, they tended to last much longer. I probably should stop handling them with my hands, but I dont really care enough.

  388. Jane says:

    I have three halogen torchieres. One of them just blew up last week. The bulb blew into smitherines and the glass shield that goes over it cracked. I called the Philips bulb company who is going to analyze whether the bulb was defective blowing at the 300 wattage it is supposed to handle or if it is my lamp. The one that blew is a little more decorative than the black one (has a cage over it) and gold (older with no cage) I also have. I found the shield online for about $20 but hesitate to spend almost as much as the lamp originally cost. I went to a few thrift shops and found two, but one was missing the shield and the other had a broken shield. These lamps should not be used without the glass shield in case of an explosion – otherwise my bedroom would have had slivers of glass all over. I was interested to read the comments on this site. I love the light I get from these lamps. I don’t know if my lamp is defective or if it overheated. Will check to see if any of you come up with a lighting solution as good as the halogen torchiere. Thanks!

  389. Cara M says:

    My very own beloved “death torch” with fully dimmability is starting to go on the fritz just last week. I bought this thing from Service Merchandise in the mid 90s and I refuse to give her up! I talked to my amazing neighbor who is a perfectionist contractor and he’s going to help me rewire it to make it LED with full dim range instead. MY BABY GIRL IS SAVED!
    Your story had me reminiscing and laughing my butt off.

    Thanks for the laugh Mike! :)

  390. Josh says:

    I still have one of these lamps with the original bulb. My grandmother bought it for me in the early 90’s. I’m typing this by the light of that very lamp. I’m incredibly surprised the bulb still works.

  391. Merzy Dotes says:

    Oh, we MUST keep this going!

    These halogen torchieres have ALWAYS been my favorite since the first time one was bought for me in the early 90’s.

    I have learned SO much from reading through this, and I hope I will be able to continue to do so through future entries.

    I have to replace my 300W bulb. I can’t wait for when it’s finally replaced and the world of my living room will be reborn with its special luminosity. I’m glad I’ve found others who understand.


  392. Cara M says:

    I’m hoping we’ll eventually have a community of folks who can help each other rewire our beloved torchiers to led from the flaming death bulbs. We’ll be trend setters! Long live the 90s!! Woo-hoo!

  393. Kenny says:

    Take care of them – making sure the top ‘bowl’ and its grill are free of dusts and debris (dead bugs, et al) and they should lasts a lifetime. Mine has and still working since the early-mid 90s!

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