At Outside the Box, a new shop in St. Clair, customers may have noticed unusual looking lamps.

William Courtney started making lamps using antiques and historic diving materials about three years ago as a hobby.

“I was always attracted to the industrial look,” Courtney said. “The lamps I had seen that I really connected with had gauges, valves and black pipe.”

He decided to make his own industrial looking lamps, but with his own spin. Each piece he creates has a theme around it, Courtney said.

He likes to use brass and copper materials and old barn lamp pieces when constructing a lamp. For each lamp creation, he searches online for antique diving equipment.

One lamp creation he sold to a woman in Las Vegas featured a water meter gauge from 1910.

“I like the vintage, antique look that the lamps have. They’re neat conversation pieces,” he said.

To keep with the antique and industrial look, Courtney paints the lamp’s pipes and accents it with a wax and an enamel.

“It gives it a very dirty look and feel to it, although it’s not. It’s just paint and wax,” he said.

The clean look to his creations “don’t really speak to me,” he said.

He added there is a lot of manipulation and construction to parts and pieces to create the lamps.

“Nothing I put together actually is designed for lamps, so that’s a great part about it,” Courtney said.

“I have a very basic concept of what I want something to looking like and then it’s trial and error,” Courtney said.

No two lamps are the same, according to Courtney.

“I like each one to have its own look and feel to it, and it becomes your lamp.”

The inspiration for his lamps comes from his time spent on a submarine and as a diver while in the Navy. During his time on the submarine, Courtney said he was in charge of the communications gear.

“I learned a lot of electronic theory and how to troubleshoot electrical equipment,” he said.

His home in Washington was soon filled with his lamps and he said his wife suggested he sell them. Courtney starting selling online. After positive feedback, he developed his own company, Industrial Light Creations, LLC.

“The biggest challenge is that I can’t make a ton of (light creations) at a time,” Courtney said. “It’s a great hobby that I can do until I’m an old man.”

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