In a time when the “Made in America” aisle at your local Wal-Mart is smaller than the Festivus greeting card section, there are a few businesses who endeavor to do things the old fashion way and actually make something.
One such business is Old California Lantern Company.
Old California Lantern Company is a company that specializes in hand-crafted, historically accurate lighting fixtures made of solid brass and high-quality glass.
They’re located in Orange, and they source 99% of their materials locally. Their craftsmanship is top quality, with exquisitely detailed metal cutouts and custom glass. The die cut of the trees on the lamp on the right is one continuous piece of metal which is especially impressive in person.
Their fixtures are authentic and perfect for period restorations that predate the fluorescent light (1941). To use a lamp from Home Depot, manufactured abroad and crafted in aluminum wouldn’t do proper period restorations justice. Old California Lantern Company, “where history and architecture come to light,” makes authentic light pieces for clients nation-wide who desire genuine replications of historical pieces.
They have lines of products to fit Craftsman, Bungalow and Old West applications, and can create custom pieces and finishes for your particular theme; Each piece is individually hand crafted on site from fabrication to finish.
You’ve seen Old California Lantern’s work in places like the Orange County Mining Company, Claim Jumper restaurants, and you may have even seen an iteration of this Monarch Butterfly Lamp as well as others at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel. The butterflies on this piece are not painted glass, they are individual glass pieces cutout into the separate metal frames. It’s really intricate work, that again, begs to be seen up close, which is convenient because they have a showroom on site and are happy to schedule tours like the one I had.
Some of best representations of Old California Lantern Company’s custom work is at the Lodge at Torrey Pines, a one-of a kind lodge and home to the legendary golf course that’s hosted several U.S. Open Golf Tournaments. OCL’s custom, large-scale installs can be found throughout exterior, as well as the lobby, halls and meeting areas.
They stand behind their products too. While I was on a tour, I saw a column mounted fixture that had obviously oxidized. It was a brass fixture ordered for an ocean-front property. Craig, the company’s vice president and general manager, told me they were redoing the fixture in copper for the customer at no cost even though the it was the customer’s error on choosing the finish.
They have some other great products as well, including their mailbox and street number lines that really add some pop to your property. They happened to have my street number sign with my digits on their showroom floor, just the sort of cosmic kismet that told I had to have it.
One of their newest product lines is the tissue boxes. I saw this one go from computer model to finished product.
The U.S. economy is increasingly more service-based, which is to say that we consume more than we make and outsource (i.e., import) most of what we buy. It’s refreshing to see a business employing Americans and making a difference… and a great product.
To schedule a tour, just call them at (800) 577-6679 or visit their showroom/shop at 975 N. Enterprise Street in Orange, CA 92867. They also have a pretty robust website, www.oldcalifornia.com, where you can find a full product catalog, pricing and examples of some of their custom work.
Oh, and if you’re intent on celebrating the holidays in a truly Seinfeldian manner, they could probably fashion you a proper Festivus pole.