here to begin? You might say it all began back when I was a wee lad and first saw Caractacus Potts' workshop and marvelled at his abillity to create the things he needed by reusing items from around his
ramshackeled house. Throughout my youth I was a tinkerer, taking things apart and rebuilding an entirely different object altogether. Sometimes things worked out fine, other times, not so much. This was
my education, these failures and successes, and I kept gaining different skills as each scenario worked themselves through. As a young adult I hopped from job to job involving small engine repair, auto mechanics, goldsmithing, hardware sales, etc. I watched and learned from farmers, teachers, parents, and employers, picking up different and useful skills a craftsperson might need to make a go at a business. Time spent watching and learning became my tuition.
hen I was working for a specialty hardware store in Portland, Maine during the early 1980s, I became frustrated with how much people were throwing away to purchace the latest fad for their homes. These short-lived imports
The earliest known photograph of my first workspace in the hallway of an Irving Street home in Portland, Maine. The birthplace of Irving Repair & Metalwork. I am restoring a vintage picnic basket for a customer.
My first business card from 1986!
y the mid 1990s I was working the business full time, having picked up quite the following as more and more people
brought in their unusual repairs. I now had a 400 square foot workshop on Main Street in South Portland offering antique lighting restoration and antique hardware polishing on the second floor, plus I opened my first retail store on the ground floor offering my new line of unique, one-of-a-kind lighting and restored antiques.
Shortly after several local papers ran stories about Irving Repair, expounding upon the fact that someone was not only restoring vintage lighting and hardware locally but also upcycling junk into beautiful lighting, business picked way up. I was facing a months long waiting list, and I quickly found the need for an even bigger space. Fortunately for me, the Willard Square building was available and I moved right in, where the business continued to grow for several more years, albeit with a few changes.
By 1999 the workload had become too much for one person, yet I still hesitated to hire help. So I spun off the metal restoration business and handed that over to a gentleman looking to be gainfully self employed (My lower back eagerly said good riddance to the buffing machine). I, however, kept the lamp repair and custom lighting businss going under a new name: The Lamp Repir Shop, which seemed an appropriate name for what I did.
Putting the final touches on the finish of a figural lamp in my Main Street studio, 1994. The pony tail has gotten quite long!
n 2002 I moved my business to its current -and hopefully final- location at 105 Ocean Street in South Portland. This 2,500 square foot space offered plenty of flat, easily accessable work space which has allowed both the repair shop and the retail studio to flurish, even
during the great recession. Today, after more than 43,000 repairs, The Lamp Repair Shop still takes in more and more repairs, both simple and complex, and the studio is simply brimming with unique, one-of-a-kind lighting, restored antiques, and artwork.
All the lighting offered for sale is fully restored, fully tested, usually made better than the original, and 100% guaranteed. This is what sets The Lamp Repair Shop apart from other second hand stores. If you purchase a lamp from here, you can:
TAKE IT HOME...
PLUG IT IN...
Metallic brass business card from 1994
The Willard Square building was a wonderful place to do business. High on a hill over the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, a few hundred feet from a great hardware store, easy to park right in front, and most importantly, within walking distance of my home.
Sadly, there were serious complications with the building, the city, and the property owner, so after seven years I needed to move out to a more stable location.
were replacing vintage, well made fixtures that would last for generations more with a little help. A lot of these old lights, door knob sets, and even plumbing were being brought to local scrap yards or landfills, such a complete waste!
There was a really nice workshop attached to the business I worked at, and they did a terrific job restoring a lot of antiques. Still, so much work was being turned away as un-repairable or not worth it. Seeing so many dissapointed faces prompted me to step up to the plate and offer my own services. It took one simple repair of a pewter ashtray said by many to be impossible to repair, and word spread like wildfire. A small business was born: Irving Repair & Metalwork.