Antique Lighting, Chandeliers, and Sconces


antique lighting Prior to the industrial age, the lighting of homes and businesses relied on candles, open flame, or kerosene lamps. Antique lighting as we call it today however – refers to what was the new era of lights that came around when lighting by gas was made possible in the early- to mid-1800s. These early gas lights for indoor use were based around existing kerosene lamp designs, but many new designs quickly flourished, and can still be seen among vintage or antique lights to this day.

Antique Lighting, 1850-1890

The first proper 'period' of antique lighting is often referred to as the Neo-Rococo or Victorian period. Starting in the middle of the 19th century – antique lights in the Rococo (or Neo-Rococo) style often featured romanticized motifs, intricate details, and themes often borrowed from classic European architecture. Here in the US, one of the first official buildings to take full use of such lighting was the White House and Capitol Buildings in  Washington D.C. In fact, many of these types of antique lights can be seen in the movie Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg – depicting what these buildings looked like around 1865. Vintage Hardware & Lighting in Port Townsend, WA was asked to provide these detailed recreations for the movie, and they also sell the same antique lighting on their website.

Antique Lighting, 1890-1910

As new design and architecture trends changed, so did the design of the classic vintage lighting styles. Around the turn of the century, newer and styles like Craftsman, Mission, and Arts & Crafts entered the scene – with a cleaner and more refined look. This style of antique lights most predominantly feature straight lines, triangles or squares, and almost never any figural or mythical themes like you would find on the vintage lights from the 1800s. These styles are still very popular today, and has seen a revival in recent years of rustic looking Arts & Crafts chandeliers, sconces, and even hardware such as hammered copper door plates and hinges.

Antique Lighting, 1910-1930

The years before and into the Great Depression were dominated by the Art Deco movement in design. Whenever you see antique lighting labeled Art Deco, you can be sure that it is glamorous and sometimes ornate – blended with a mix of elegant lines and curves. Genuine antique Art Deco lighting can sometimes be found at flea markets or vintage shops, but has by far the largest selection of both genuine antique lights and recreated Art Deco lights, slip shades, hardware, and more.

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