Auction Archive

 About this site
 Wanted to buy

bulb gallery

drawn tungsten
coiled tungsten
mini tungsten
pressed tung.
figural bulbs
christmas sets

neon lamps
argon lamps
xenon lamps
special mercury

plugs & fittings

tube gallery

 Box art

museum pics

 Dr. Hugh Hicks
Fort Myers, FL.


 Related links
 Submit a link


Author Topic: Large Matchless Star  (Read 39548 times)

Offline Tim

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 831
Large Matchless Star
« on: December 07, 2002, 06:39:00 pm »
Since it's near Christmas I thought I would post pictures of this Matchless Star that just found its way into my collection. ?I don't typically collect Christmas figurals and this is my first Matchless Wonder Star. ?I can now see why these are so highly collected: the cut glass prisms and the beautiful colors they were made in look absolutely stunning when lit up. ?This one is slightly unique since it is so large. ?It has a standard medium base and was meant to be used in a regular lamp socket - not on a light string that you would see on a Christmas tree...

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Kilokat's Antique Light Bulb Site
Mountain Dew Collectibles, Volume I
« Last Edit: November 14, 2004, 03:44:51 pm by tim »

Offline Chris W. Millinship

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 384
Large Matchless Star
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2002, 06:48:00 pm »
Hey thanks for posting that photo Tim, that lamp looks stunning! I have one of the little C6 - based Wonder Stars and that one`s pretty, but yours is just wonderful. Love that combination of clear crystal points and the blue center.

Musta set you back a few $$$ - I hear those big ones are very valuable!


visit my world of electrical things that glow!

Offline zozman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Re: Large Matchless Star
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2010, 09:42:35 pm »
Hello. This is my first post.

I have an extensive collection of original Matchless Stars. The original versions are the best. The glass versions were available for about six years from 1935-1941. After the war, the plastic prism (C-7) versions appeared until the mid-1950s. Adolph Hitler invaded and took control of Czechoslovakia in March, 1939. The Matchless Company obtained prism crystal as much as they could until occupied Czechoslovakia reduced civil consumption for war production. Hitler believed in state control of private companies. The Czechoslovakian glass works, renowned the world for fine prism detail, went into war time production for several years. Not too much, if any crystal made it out of the country.

In examining the drawings made by the Matchless Company with corresponding patent dates, the smaller C-6s came first while the larger intermediate base C-9s and C-15 medium base next. It is estimated that they ran for about one year, 1938.  Therefore, the larger series appears more rare. The Matchless Company imported all the crystal from Czechoslovakia that they could prior to occupation until their supplies ran out.

While the smaller C-6 series 500 ($.25, 1935) and larger C-6 series 700 ($.40) were popular, the most overwhelming stars were the medium base series 900 3-1/8" diameter ($1.00) and intermediate (C-9) series 910 ($1.00).  You haven't seen color so spectacular as illuminated through a 15-watt bulb like any thing you have ever seen before until you have seen one of those. The medium base bulbs were lamp socket size. Doubtful any of those were on trees at Christmas. The larger stars are heavy in an of themselves not including a medium base socket attached to anything.

The most displayable large stars are the intermediate C-9s. These can be lit inside on a regular outdoor Christmas light cord on a Christmas tree. But they get hot--really hot fully illuminated. I display mine on a mid 50s Noma outdoor metal wire star on my fireplace with rheostat stepped-down power.  Simply magnificent!

If you have one of these larger Matchless Stars and the lamp burns out, you have very few choices in what to do with it. Keep it dark or light it up again. The original Matchless stars were bulb replaceable but those original replacements have ceased to exist. The original glass lamp was soldered between a Bakelite base and brass base as one piece. When replaced, the owner threw the old one away. The original Matchless replacement bulb was $.25.

Through years of searching for replacement bulbs, soldering this and that, I have developed a candelabra bulb replacement procedure modification which does not affect the external appearance of the star but ensures easy bulb replacement so that these stars will remain lit for enjoyment for many years.

If you have any issues with your Matchless Stars or any other information to add to this post, feel free to comment.

Randy Pozzi

Offline Chris Kocsis

  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 84
Re: Large Matchless Star
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2010, 02:15:13 pm »
Thanks for that great information, Randy.  I have two beautiful medium-base stars, one in frosted red, white, and blue.  They are spectacular and I've been reluctant to light them for fear of burning out.

Does relamping them lower their value?


Offline zozman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Re: Large Matchless Star
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2010, 07:00:38 pm »
Hi Chris. If you restore a 1957 Corvette, does it cease to be a original Corvette and does it have less worth? The answer is no. Matchless Stars go for good money--less if they are burned out--but not significantly so. They were designed to be lit and enjoyed. So once your medium base stars burn out--and if used they all will burn out sometime--you will have that choice. Look at them dark or re-bulb them and have light, beautiful light. I bought seven purple Matchless Stars only to discover they had the medium bases. I was ready to send them back until some sense came to me. "Why would you return these with the rarest color for just the base?" So. I removed the base, cracked the bulbs, and re-bulbed them in my manner with the C-9 common base. They look OEM original. They are displayed prominently at Christmas in my home. My advice to you is light them and enjoy. If they burn out, I would re-bulb them and convert them to C-9 and go on enjoying them.  :wink:


Offline cac

  • New Member!
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Large Matchless Star
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2010, 04:41:46 pm »
Hi zozman-

What size bulb did you use to re-lamp your #910 Matchless Stars?  Is there a c9 bulb available that will fit inside?  I wasted some some $$ on T7 bulbs that were too large (diameter) to fit. TIA


Offline zozman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Tech Tip #1 Re-Lamping the Large Series 910 Matchless Star
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 01:16:20 am »
?Good Morning, Mr. Phelps. The original large holiday Matchless Star, beautiful for its crystal appearance, eventually may require a replacement bulb.  Finding bulbs for these early 1937 decorative stars is impossible. Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to re-lamp a large Matchless Star. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck.?---Mission Impossible (1966)

The task of re-lamping the larger size Matchless Stars is very difficult because the bulbs have not been available for years. The Matchless Stars, first available in 1937, were unique because they were made with imported Czechoslovakian cut crystal in gorgeous colors and replaceable lamps. The 15-watt, 120 volt lamp was soldered between the Bakelite backing plate to the brass socket and held together to the glass star with clips. By bending back the clips, the bulb assembly could be removed and replaced.

Replacement bulbs are available for the smaller Matchless Stars, which use a C-6 size bulb. The larger stars use a 15-watt, 120-volt lamp with a C-9, E17 (17mm) intermediate base or E26, (26mm) medium Edison screw base.

I have found that the candelabra C-7, E12 (12mm) bulbs are readily available in the correct wattage. Why not convert the inside of the E17 size socket to have the smaller E12 bulb and make that replaceable?

Finding the correct size E12 bulb to fit inside the Matchless Star is the other problem. There is limited space inside the star?1.83 inches to be exact. But I found a bulb and the method to replace those burnt out bulbs.

Supplies needed:

1 socket intermediate to candelabra (, $1.00)
1 bulb, Westinghouse #03226, 15 watt, 120 volt, (15T4Q/CD/120/CD2. (Menards, $1.89)
Swab of glue.
Optional: 3? of 22 gauge copper wire, solder.

Quick and Easy Procedure #1

Bend back the six clips on the back of the Matchless Star and remove the bulb assembly. Break the glass bulb with pliers and twist off the brass socket. The octagon Bakelite backing plate will only be used.

Glue the socket to the backside hole of the Bakelite backing plate. Allow glue to dry. Insert bulb into backing plate. Reassemble Matchless Star in reverse order. Note: you also can use a C-9 outdoor gasket from the Mazda holiday lights to cover the glued area. Looks professionally done!

Time to complete: 10 minutes.

Difficult Professional Procedure #2

If you are handy with using a soldering iron, solder and copper wire and using a Dremmel tool, this procedure looks factory when done.

Bend back the six clips on the back of the Matchless Star and remove the bulb assembly. Break the glass bulb with pliers. Soak the backing plate with the old socket in hot water. This will loosen the glue and allow you and twist off the brass socket. The octagon brown Bakelite backing plate will only be used.

With a soldering iron, de-solder the E12 screw base from inside the E17 base of the replacement socket. The E12 socket is held with solder on two of the topsides and the bottom electrical connection. The inside E12 comes out of the E17 socket.

The E12 socket will have to fit through the inside of the backing plate. With your Dremmel tool, hone out the hole in the bottom of the Bakelite backing plate until the E12 socket fits through. Go slowly as not to chip the Bakelite. Glue the E12 socket into the backing plate from the inside.

It will be necessary to extend the electrical connection of the center outside of the E12 socket. Snip off a one-inch section of copper wire and solder it so that it extends from the bottom of the E12 socket. This will eventually be soldered into the inside through the E17 socket.

Solder a small piece of copper wire onto the outside top edge of the E12 socket directly under the triangle cutout opening on the Bakelite backing plate. Pull copper wire up out of the way. Place some glue onto the rim of the inside of the E17 socket and as you fit it onto the Bakelite backing plate, pull the center copper wire through the hole on the bottom of the E17 socket for later soldering. Line up the copper wire on the E12 socket with the triangle cutout on the backing plate and solder wire to outside of the E17 socket. Solder the wire pulled through bottom of the E17 socket. Trim excess copper wire.

Test the inside sides of the E12 socket with the outside sides of the E17 socket with a continuity tester. There should be continuity. Test the center solder of the E12 socket with the center E17 socket for continuity. There should be continuity. Test the sides of the E12 socket with the bottom of the E17 socket. There should be no continuity.

Reassemble matchless star and secure clips.

Time to complete: 2 hours.

Randy Pozzi (04/01/2010)

Offline cac

  • New Member!
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Large Matchless Star
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2010, 08:58:07 pm »
Thanks Bozman-

I ordered the sockets and bulbs today. I'll probably opt for the quick fix. Thanks again!


Offline zozman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 10
Re: Large Matchless Star
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2020, 03:53:09 pm »
Update 11/30/20

This is an update to previous information I posted regarding relamping the large 900 series Matchless Stars. I had the original bulbs reproduced in the exacting physical and electrical specifications. No one in the United States had anything remotely similar to the original Matchless Star bulb. I can sell you the bulbs with instructions how to do the bulb replacement or I can do it for you. The bulbs are sold on eBay under seller drfusion.

I have posted some pictures.