We love looking through our old lighting catalogs here and often marvel at how things have changed in the lighting industry in the last 100 years. In the early 1900s, workers in factories, warehouses, and production plants often struggled with inadequate lighting offered by the bare bulb pendants of the day. The work was hard, slow, and often dangerous, simply because of the working environment.
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I know it’s July and the school bell will remain silent for six more weeks, but there’s no time like the present for a little education.
No groaning please. Education is information and information is key when you’re looking to invest in lighting. Let’s face it. You can go to your local big-box store and spend $20 on a look-alike wall sconce that came from China. But considering it only costs you $20 and it had to be shipped overseas, how much money do you think actually went into the materials? Not much. Which is why most “inexpensive” lights rust almost immediately or fall apart at the first hint of use.
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There was a time when warehouse pendant lighting was found, well, in warehouses! And also in factories where the wide bowl of these pendant lamps reflected light over a large area, a critical feature where heavy machinery and meticulous work was involved. These lights not only had to provide plenty of illumination, but had to be durable in an industrial setting. Manufacturers in the early 20th century would hand craft these light fixtures using only the finest commercial grade materials of the time.
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The hazard of being a Barn Light Electric employee is that when you take a vacation you often find yourself searching for interesting light fixtures instead of focusing on the scenery or historical sites. Lauren, our fabulous photographer, took a trip to Tennessee over the Thanksgiving holiday and was traveling the back roads when she happened upon this beautiful old gas station light still standing duty over the long-abandoned pumps. Gas was certainly less than fifty cents a gallon the last time this light helped a passing motorist see the tank, but it is a great example of a classic light from the early 20th century.... Read More
One expects to see many things in an airport — businessmen rushing to catch a last minute flight, tourists still wearing their Mickey Mouse hats, and families with carry-on luggage that will never ever fit under that seat. But we were a bit surprised during a stroll through the Orlando International Airport last week to discover vintage Crouse-Hinds fixtures lighting up the Oakley Store. Crouse-Hinds was founded in the late 1800s, and its lighting products were widely recognized as some of the most durable in the world. Crouse-Hinds was a major manufacturer of traffic signals and RLM warehouse lights that were commonly found around factories, auto shops, and gas... Read More
Making the most of small spaces is both a talent and an art form. As seen recently on Houzz, this tiny kitchen is part of a 250-square-foot, garage-turned-home near Seattle. The eclectic design honors the industrial history of the area with exposed shelving, salvaged boxes, reclaimed materials, and industrial lighting. Once used in factories and warehouses, industrial pendants such as this one are now popping up everywhere. Because of their wide span of light, many people choose this style of lighting for the kitchen where they are installed over countertops, kitchen tables, and islands. Not only do they provide plenty of light but they’re a focal point with a... Read More