Posted at Saturday, March 04 2017 08:12:57 by Nichole Aragon for Lighting Fixtures
In the mid-19th century, as gas lighting caught on, branched ceiling fixtures called gasoliers (a portmanteau of gas and chandelier) were produced, and many candle chandeliers were converted. By the 1890s, with the appearance of electric light, some chandeliers used both gas and electricity. As distribution of electricity widened, and supplies became dependable, electric-only chandeliers became standard. Another portmanteau word, electrolier, was formed for these, but nowadays they are most commonly called chandeliers. Some are fitted with bulbs shaped to imitate candle flames, for example those shown below in Epsom and Chatsworth, or with bulbs containing a shimmering gas discharge. The world's largest English Glass chandelier,(Hancock Rixon & Dunt and probably F. & C. Osler) is located in the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul. It has 750 lamps and weighs 4.5 tons. Dolmabahçe has the largest collection of British and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and one of the great staircases has balusters of Baccarat crystal. More complex and elaborate chandeliers continued to be developed throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but the widespread introduction of gas and electricity had devalued the chandelier's appeal as a status symbol.
Pendant lights are fixed to the ceiling with a pole or chain that allows the bulb and shade to hang down. The chain or pole will tend to be silver in color but can also be bronze or even black. This type of contemporary lighting can be found in a single light fixture or one that includes many bulbs.
Major reductions in the cost of lighting occurred with the discovery of whale oil and kerosene. The potential of electric light as a new building material was recognized in the 1920s and became a useful design tool by the mid-century. Skillful lighting allowed for theatricality, narrative, and a new emphasis on structure and space. Gas lighting was economical enough to power street lights in major cities starting in the early 1800s, and was also used in some commercial buildings and in the homes of wealthy people. The gas mantle boosted the luminosity of utility lighting and of kerosene lanterns.