Window Shade Restoration
Starting in the early 1920's, most, if not all, sedans and coupes had a shade at the rear window. Some sedans also had shades on the rear quarter windows. Shades were coordinated to the surrounding upholstered body panels with the fabric being a silk or plain cloth. In order to keep the shade intact while the car was in motion, cords ran alongside the length of the shade from the base of the brackets to buttons or head tacks at the bottom of the window. Most standard vehicles had a pull tab at the bottom of the shade; de luxe models may have had a tassel. Later shades of the 1930's may have a "Lift-the-Dot" fastener on or near the pull tab. These are usually found on shades that roll up from the rear seat package tray.
If you have original rollers, I can recover your shades to as near authentic as possible, depending on fabric pattern availability. Most original shade fabrics were intentionally-loomed in the desired narrow widths, so edges were the natural selvedge created when the fabric was woven. Today's available silks and fabrics are wider, so they must be cut down to fit the rollers. Most edges are hemmed; an overlocked edge is available. The majority of my shade restorations are with pure silk fabric, correct for the era. Silk was much more common then than today and was not considered a luxury fabric as it is now. A diamond-style weave* and a criss-cross-style weave in cotton/rayon are also available. See "Gallery" for photos. These patterns are similar to original Ford Model A fabrics, but have slight variations in weave and weight from the originals due to modern loom capabilities.
I usually work with neutral fabrics since colors currently-available are not as authentic as originals. I custom-dye fabric so the color coordinates with the surrounding upholstery. Tabs, curtain cords and fabric-covered head tacks are also included. I may or may not be able to duplicate or replace original style tassels; however, I do offer a bell-shaped pom-pom tassel as used on Ford Model A De Luxe window shades. See "TASSELS" page for ordering.
If you have your original shade or a fragment of it, I will use it as a guide for duplicating the fabric, color and pattern. Your original rollers must be in useable condition, free of dents and corrosion, with functional internal springs. I am unable to repair rollers or replace springs or parts. Original rollers are cleaned of rust and sealed, but otherwise are accepted as-is. Original rollers are usually 3/4" diameter zinc or cadmium-plated metal tubes, smaller in diameter than modern wood or cardboard reproduction rollers. Original Ford Model A rollers are 3/4" diameter. Shades can be made for any manufacturer or model.
For restorers who do not have original rollers, a reproduction rigid spring-loaded cardboard roller is available. These are 1" in diameter and will work with original or reproduction mounting brackets. A reproduction narrow wood slat for the bottom hem pocket is also included.
Please contact me for more details and provide the year, make and model of your antique automobile. Photographs of your shade will be helpful when included with your inquiry. Click to Shade Questionnaire
*UPDATE: JANUARY 2024: Please note: the diamond pattern fabric is no longer available. I have some small pieces so I may or may not be able to fill your order. Please contact me for further information.
A restored shade (bottom) with the original fragment (top).
Above: Restored shade installed on 1929 Model A Ford Coupe rear window.