Light Fixtures


Perhaps more than any other part of a home, light fixtures communicate the style of the day. Since the advent of electricity, the concept has remained pretty much the same, but the styles have changed to fit the tastes of the day-- and this was certainly true in the Modern era.

It's a rare treat to see original light fixtures in a vintage home. Changing fixtures is one of the easiest DYI projects, so lights are often changed by owners who want to update the character of their homes. Lots of great old fixtures have been lost that way.  Fortunately for those of us who own modem houses that have suffered inappropriate updates, today there is a wealth of old fixtures to be found on eBay.

In 1957 the Soviets rocked the world with the first ever man-made Earth orbit satellite, Sputnik, and ushered in the Space Age.  Product designers were quick to capitalize on the public's fascination with space.  Among the first popular space age designs was the sputnik light fixture, which closely mimicked the appearance of its namesake.  No other light fixture represents the era better than this one.

B The light bulbs used on Sputniks have a glass covering that gives them the frosty, spiky look. The bulb underneath is a regular clear candelabra base bulb.  

C  Globe lights were far less flamboyant and arguably in better and certainly more enduring taste. Lights like this have been continuously available since the early 1950's and look right in any contemporary setting.  I particularly like this one by Prescolite.  It has a robust ball joint at the canopy to allow for angled ceilings, and a metal down tube.

D  Pendants of more imaginative shape were also very popular.  Here are two different styles by Moe Lighting.  They have rather thick glass with a satin surface.  Note the clean sophisticated appearance that lacks any sort of metal trim or superfluous doo-dads.  These are each individual fixtures, though were often used in multiples.

Pendants with multiple lights were also very common, often with two or three drops.  This particular one from a custom home is cut above the norm.  The glass shades are hand blown and very fancy.

Do you have a home with an especially interesting light fixture?  Contact me.  Iíll take a photo and include it on this page.