“WIRING” hole on Hamilton type cabinets.

I am cleaning up a Hamilton font cabinet. Near the top of the cabinet are several holes with round, black covers with the word WIRING. Does anybody know the function of the holes?


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Those are covers for holes they can be popped out and replaced with wiring for outlets and work lamps.

Thanks miller021!

Maybe Steve Alt will see this and post few photos of the cabinets he has with both overhead and under cabinet work lights that were options when these cabinets were new.


I’ll post this one first since I have it handy. A nice look of lights on a double wide Hamilton cabinet from the late 1920’s. I’ll try and dig up a picture from above and how the piping is laid the cabinet to run the wires. Yes….it’s piping, 1/2” galvanized water pipe threaded on the ends, this is before today’s electrical conduit. I replace all the old wiring with new before I plug one of these in….just to be safe ya know!! Steve - Liberty Press

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cabinet lights.jpg

I THINK I have a mostly complete set of lights and shades somewhere around here…any interest?

Thank you for that nice photograph LibertyPress, it reminded me that my cabinets from the Amsterdam Typefoundry were equipped with lights as well, but that the previous owner(s) removed them. Seeing this picture makes me want to re-install my lights! The brackets etc. to hold the light fittings are still all there…

As promised I was able to dig up a view of how the pipes are run in a Hamilton cabinet. So if you wanted to upgrade to lights on your cabinet in the day you’d remove those “WIRING” covers and install the piping. There were already notches on the inside frame work to allow for the piping to be installed. There should also be covers over holes where the light are in the front of the cabinet. Having lighted cabinets that work are pretty nice, and does add a nice glow to the shop. The original bulbs are tube shaped and believe around a 60Watt bulb. The shield gets very hot of you leave them on for very long. I found an LED replacement bulb same size and everything with the nice warm glow look and NO heat!!!! Steve - Liberty Press

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Thanks to those who posted photos. Very cool.

bstuparyk: I’m interested in your lights and shades. Can you post a photo or two?

By the way, that does look like standard electrical conduit and fittings - so could easily be reproduced using current materials. For example:


The original conduit looks like thick-wall, with threaded ends - which still can be done, though thin-wall is more common, and requires fittings. It’s the light fixture that might be a bit harder to source these days.

Here’s a close up of the light fixture. You can see the threads on the mounting end and the pink arrow points to the set screw that you tighten onto the threads to keep the lamp in the correct horizontal position. Oh you can reproduce lots of stuff, I do this often. Just saying it’s not your normal stuff commonly sold at your big box stores. The best restoration advise I’ve ever got years ago.and is worth passing on….collect as much of the original pieces as you can!! Spend time/money restoring those pieces. It also never hurts to pick up other pieces for your future restorations or somebody else’s restoration. Once they are gone, they are gone. Steve — Liberty Press

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cabinet lamp.jpg