Lampshades - Card Model Download

Informations about the lampshade models

In 1855 the American professor of chemistry Benjamin Silliman jr. (1816–1885) designed the first paraffin lamp (a. k. a. kerosene lamp). From about 1870 onwards kerosene (paraffin, lamp oil) was used to illuminate indoor rooms on a broad scale. Since the cheap, basic (shadeless) lamps were blinding, resourceful people thought about possible remedies they could sell. Consequently, almost all printers of card models and similar paperware, always looking for new sales opportunities, took up the idea to produce lampshade construction sets. Of course the shades were printed with fashionable and popular motifs that might enhance sales. What would have been easier than making them into exhibitions of an ideal world or far-off countries? Thus, from the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century, lampshades became a popular way to satisfy one's yearning for "beautiful places". Constant favorites were images of exoctic regions, in particular if they were way out of reach for the buyer; common examples (for US citizens) were Switzerland, India and Turkey. A very popular additional effect were "night images" – transparent sections that produced, when back-lit by the lamp, an illusion of seeing a night view of a town or landscape. If you are interested to read more about lampshades we recommend the corresponding chapter by Dieter Nievergelt in our book „Von der zweiten in die dritte Dimension – 500 Jahre Bauen mit Karton“ (p. 217), Möckmühl 2015.

At the "modell-hobby-spiel" fair 2016 in Leipzig the AGK had, among other things, 11 such lampshades on display. Because of a strong public demand we offer selected historical lampshades for download so you can print and build your own. All models shown are from the collection of Dieter Nievergelt who has also built the models and provided the images.

Notes about building these models

These models were sold without assembly instructions as we know them today, but generally one was expected to proceed in the order of the part numbers. To add "night image" effects you should cut out the black window and door spaces and glue colored transparent paper to their innside. To adapt the shade to the lamp it may be necessary to glue a cardboard disc into the top hole of the lampshade; cut out a hole that fits your lamp. Zur Befestigung auf einem Lampenzylinder muss ggf. innen am oberen Rand eine Pappscheibe eingeklebt werden, welche ein passendes Loch für den Lampenzylinder aufweist.

Please use the links provided with the shade examples to download the model sheets. We recommend to use stable cardboard of at least 160 - 220 g/cm2. Alternatively you can print the shades on standard paper and glue that paper to 300 g/m2 card stock (for example you could use wallpaper glue). This is a bit tricky as you must consider the grain direction of cardboard and paper (they should be parallel), or you will experience terrible warping. The sheet sizes given are the original sizes; please adapt them to your printing capabilities.

Security Notice: Lampshades may start fires if used on hot lamps! Please take care not to use lampshades in a way that could be dangerous. Never leave a paper lampshade unattended while the lamp could be in operation!


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16 Constructions Abat-Jour pour Lampes 'Vue de Constantinople'
[Lampshade constructions for lamps 'Views of Constantinople' (today called Istanbul)],
Lithographic print, stencil-colored in 6 colors,
1 sheet 38,5 x 49 cm,
Olivier-Pinot, Epinal (France) 1875
Download model sheet (JPEG file)

5162/5163 Italienische Nacht. Lampenschirm.
[Italian night - Lampshade]
Lithographic print, stencil-colored in 7 colors,
2 sheets 34,5 x 42,5 cm,
Eduard Robrahn & Co., D-Magdeburg, later than 1876.
Download model sheet 1 (JPEG file)
Download model sheet 2 (JPEG file)

25 Constructions, Abat-Jour pour lampes. n.T.
[Swiss mountain landscape lampshade],
Lithographic print, stencil-colored in 6 colors,
1 sheet 39 x 49,5 cm,
Olivier-Pinot, Epinal (France), since 1879.
Download model sheet (JPEG file)
4731 Lampenschirm. Kamerun
[Lampshade - Cameroon, Africa]
Lithographic print, stencil-colored in 6 colors,
1 sheet 33,5 x 40,5 cm,
Eduard Robrahn & Co., Magdeburg (Germany), 1884
Download model sheet (JPEG file)

16 Chinesische Landschaft. Lampenschirm,
[Chinese landscape - Lampshade]
Zinc-plate print, 4 colors
2 sheets 35,5 x 44 cm,
publisher, location and date unknown, probably Germany around 1905
Download model sheet 1 (JPEG file)
Download model sheet 2 (JPEG file)



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