What Is a Washer-Style Lampshade?

Written by noelle carver
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What Is a Washer-Style Lampshade?
Most fabric and paper lampshades use washer fitters. (lamp image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

A washer style, or washer fit, lampshade is a lampshade that uses a small ring to connect the shade to the lamp base. The ring is called a washer and usually has a 7/16 inch diameter hole.


The washer fitter, also known as a spider fitter, fits over a lampshade harp, which is the cup-shaped vertical metal wire that mounts below the lamp socket to support the lampshade. The harp locks into place with a finial, which is a simple or decorative cap to the lamp pole.


Most fabric and paper shades have a washer fitter in the lampshade, which marks its unique, bell-shaped style. Tall floor lamps most often have washer fitter lampshades.


The washer-fitter ring is located in the centre of the metal tripod "spider"---the three pronged metal part of the lampshade which radiates outward, like bicycle spokes---in the top of the shade.

Alternative Fitters

Washer-style lampshades can work with more than just washer fitters. The "spider" washer is often the most common, but a lampshade can fit with other fitters, like the standard bulb clip. This looks like a wire vice that slips around a bulb. Small reading or table lamps primarily use bulb clips. Oftentimes, a company that makes a washer-style lampshade can modify it to fit a clip fitter instead.

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