What is A UNO Lamp Shade?

I know. We know. Do UNO?

Lamp Shade Fitter Styles

Over the last couple years I have noticed a geometric increase in the number of requests that we receive for a certain UNO type lamp shade.

The UNO lamp shade has been around for a long time but due to the overwhelming influence of low priced Chinese imports, this shade type is like a cold virus and is unfortunately spreading very rapidly.

First it is important to define a couple of terms. The spider is the wire structure near the top rim of the shade frame which radiate outwards from the center. The fitter is the very center section of the spider that fits onto the lamp or lamp hardware. There are different fitter types and each will be addressed in detail below.

The harp fitter is the most secure method used to attach a shade onto a lamp. It is a metal wire and somewhat “u” shaped hardware piece that comes in many different lengths to accommodate different shade lengths. The harp fits into a saddle which is another smaller (3″) metal hardware piece which is built onto the lamp immediately beneath the electrical socket. When the harp is snapped into the saddle, it creates a very secure and long lasting mount for the lamp shade. Most harps have a swivel feature near the top which allows the shade to be tilted at an angle so you can aim the light for better reading and work projects.

The clip fitter method is a wire assembly that simply clips onto the bulb. It is normally built onto and is an integral part of the lamp shade. The clip adapter is also available as a separate component and can be attached to any shade to convert any shade to a clip on shade. This lamp shade fitter is recommended for smaller lamp shades only because it becomes very unstable when used with larger shades.

The chimney fitter shade has a very large fitter hole in the center so that it can slip down over a glass chimney commonly found on oil lamps.

The uno fitter is the last type of lamp shade fitter although there are some other specialty fitters which you are unlikely to encounter. The uno shade is similar to the chimney fitter shade in that the center hole is large enough to slip down over the electrical socket or is threaded so it screws onto the rim of the electrical socket.

The uno shade has some serious issues to consider. First, it can be an electrical hazard if disturbed because it rests directly on the electrical assembly. Second, when you need to replace the uno shade you are forced to use another uno shade. Replacement uno shades are simply not available except at a very few full service lamp shops. Even then you are lucky to find even a single size available. Third, the uno shade is very unstable and when it becomes unstable you are not only ready for a new lamp shade but probably a lamp repair.

A genuine antique lamp with a uno fitter shade is a very special and separate consideration that can only be addressed on an individual basis. Do not change anything on an antique lamp without first consulting an experienced antique lamp professional.

Summary: If you have a uno lamp shade we recommend that you change it to a harp fitter lamp shade (excluding antique lamps). Simply add a saddle ($.50) underneath the socket then select your favorite replacement shade. You will need a harp ($ 2) of the correct size which is usually (3″) shorter than your shade. A lamp and shade shop will fit the shade and harp for you. You will have a much sturdier and safer lamp and shade plus changing shades in the future will be easy.

– Jim Hoyle