Hanging lamps, which include everything from single pendants to elaborate chandeliers, have illuminated interior spaces for thousands of years. The earliest examples were made of clay and fueled by animal fat. Later, oil was used to fire bronze or glass fixtures.

By the Middle Ages, metal chandelier-like fixtures called polycandelons were hung from the ceilings of churches and other public structures. Some held bowls filled with oil and wicks while others were designed for candles. In fact, the word “chandelier” has its roots in the Latin word for “candle.” Early chandeliers and polycandelons were usually attached to a rope or cable that was looped through a pulley so they could be lowered to be lit, raised into position, then lowered again so candles and wicks could be snuffed.

Gas lamps, which were introduced in the early 1800s, are normally associated with sconces, but hanging gas lamps, called gasoliers, were also used in homes that could afford this newfangled technology. Next came kerosene in 1857. Again, even though we associate kerosene lamps with the chimney-style table lamps made by Aladdin and others, the fuel was also used in hanging Victorian Era lamps.

Because of the heat generated by kerosene and gas lamps, flames were contained by etched glass of various colors—from frosted white to ruby red to multicolored slag—while the lamp’s hardware was typically made of brass. There must have been concerns at the time about the safety of kerosene lamps since they were often advertised as being “non-explosive,” but kerosene lamps burned brighter than gas, so for many the risk was worth it.

While some 19th-century kerosene lamps hung from chains, others were suspended by decorative rods that, in turn, supported a pair, or pairs, of arms. Because kerosene chandeliers required daily maintenance, a pulley was often secreted inside the decorative plate that also hid the lamp’s connection to the ceiling.

As the 20th century dawned and electricity became ubiquitous, many gasoliers and chandeliers were retrofitted. Other types of new hanging lamps included the so-called pan chandeliers, whose light sources were placed at the ends their multiple arms. Then there were hanging lamps that featured Tiffany-like shades over their lights, or clear prismatic glass shades that sent light streaming throughout a room.

The advantage of new hanging lamps, as opposed to retrofitted ones, was that their designs weren't constrained by the presence of fire. Thus, Art Nouveau lamps could be as naturalistic and free-flowing as their designers demanded, while Art Deco fixtures in brushed metal could be accented by shades shaped like bongo drums. By the 1950s and ’60s, the space-age look of Mid-century Modern lamps suggested starbursts and flying saucers, which would hover benignly over nuclear families enjoying meals at their Danish modern dining tables.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Lampworks

The Lampworks

Lamp collector and dealer Dan Edminster has put together an incredible reference site on antique lamps and related … [read review or visit site]

Texans Incorporated: The History of a Lamp Company

Texans Incorporated: The History of a Lamp Company

Mark Stevens has created an impressive living memorial to Texans Inc., a 20th century Texas manufacturer of ceramic… [read review or visit site]

The Lamps of H. G. McFaddin

The Lamps of H. G. McFaddin

Bruce Bleier's tribute to the Emeralite and Bellova lampshades made from Czech glass and popularized and distribute… [read review or visit site]

Fairy Lamp Club

Fairy Lamp Club

This incredible site is a stunning showcase for Victorian and contemporary fairy lamps, a style of lamp with a glas… [read review or visit site]

Gas Pressure Lanterns, Lamps and Stoves

Gas Pressure Lanterns, Lamps and Stoves

Terry Marsh’s beautiful showcase of gas-pressure lanterns, lamps, stoves, irons, and heaters from the 1920s o… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Industrial Pendant Light - Brass Search Light-hanging Lamp-glass LensVintage George Nelson Hanging Lamp Pendant Light Fixture Mid Century Modern Orig4 Vtg 14" White Porcelain Factory Hanging Lamp Light Shades Industrial FixturesVintage Orig Hanging Lamp Pendant Light Fixture Mid Century Modern George NelsonFabulous Vintage Aladdin Model 12 Hanging Kerosene LampAntique Brass Ornate Embossed Hanging Library Banquet Oil Lamp 5" Fonts Antique 1877 Bradley Hubbard Hanging Oil Lamp - Cast IronAntique Vintage Brass Hanging Oil Lamp Frame Finial Lamp Part Victorian Hanging Parlor Oil Lamp With Colorful Floral Shade ~no Rsrv~Antique Brass Font For Banquet Or Hanging Oil Lamp2 Antique Ornate Embossed Brass Hanging Library Banquet Oil Lamp Fonts Antique Victorian Art Glass Cranberry Bulls Eye Optic 14" Hanging Lamp ShadeAntique Ornate Brass Hanging Oil Lamp Parts, Pulley, Chain, Frame, Smoke BellGeorge Nelson Hanging Lamp Shade (shade Only)Dietz No 3 Globe Tubular Hanging Lamp With Matching Globe 1888-1914Vtg Light Hanging Lamp Mid Century Danish Modern Wood Swag Atomic 60's/70'sCute Little Miniature Hanging Counter Weight Oil Lamp Blue Cased Shade 25 Prisms1960s Space Age Danish Modern Ufo Hanging Pendant Lamp Genuine VintageAntique Hanging Oil Lamp Brass Ceiling Extension Winder With Leveler ~1886Antique Oil Kerosene Hanging Lamp With 3 Burners **nr**Antique Kerosene Hanging Oil Hall Lamp W/ Cranberry Flash Glass ShadeVintage Ship Wheel Hanging Lantern Ceiling Light Fixture LampOriginal Aladdin 616 Hanging Lamp Shade, Not Repro, Very Nice ConditionAladdin Kerosene Oil Lamp 8 Flame Spreader Or Generator For Table Or Hanging1 Vintage Glass Ruby Red Pendant Brass Hanging Lamp Chandelier Crystal Prism60’s Vintage Spun Lucite Spaghetti Walnut Mid-century Modern Retro Hanging LampAntique Rochester Heavily Embossed Brass Hanging Oil Lamp Fancy Vtg VictorianLarge Antique Odd Fellows Fraternal Hanging Milk Glass Light Fixture Shade LampVintage White Lucite Spaghetti Hanging Oval Ball Swag Electric Lamp WorkingAntique Jewel Hanging Miniature Oil Lamp Lantern Candle Holder ChandelierVtg Arts & Crafts, Nouveau Leaded Glass Swag Pendant Hanging Lamp Mission StyleAladdin #3 Ceiling Extension Hanger For Hanging Lamps, Model 9 Thru B Needs BoltAntique Hanging Victorian Milk Glass Basket..match Holder..hangs From Oil Lamp !Victorian Brass Hanging Oil/gas Light Lamp W/ Chains And Original FontAntique 14 Inch Painted Hanging Oil Lamp ShadeVintage Gold Hanging Swag Lamp Mid Century Amber Glass Hollywood RegencyVintage Ship Brass Oil Lantern Lamp Hanging SolidLot Of 12 Antique Crystal Spear Chandelier Luster Lustre Lamp Hanging Prisms VtgVintage Hanging Swag Multi-colored Glass Panel Lamp 14" Hanging Oil Lamp Shade, Painted Peaches, Dome ShapeClear Angle Lamp Company Chimney Elbow For Angle Kerosene Oil Hanging Table LampRare Mackenzie Childs Hanging Fluted Pendant Lamp Keukenhof Pattern Taylor LineAntique Brass Hanging Pan Light Chandelier 2 Lite Ceiling Lamp Fixture RestoreVintage Griffin Hanging Oil LampVintage Large Oil Rain Swag Hanging Lamp Light Grist Mill WaterwheelVintage Hanging Swag Lamp Clear Frosted Pineapple Diamond Retro Mid Century #2Big Box Lot C.1890s Hanging Oil Lamp Parts Shade Crown Top Leveler Rings Brass Tiffany Style Stained Resin Hanging Kitchen Light/lamp Fruit- Grapes -pears-applAntique Hand Painted Hanging Oil Lamp Glass Shade Flowres Vintage Johnson Industries Oil Drip Rain Nude Goddess Hanging Motion Lamp Light1969 Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant Dining Room Hanging Ceiling LampEx Rare 17-18th.c Large Antique Hanging Gods Sanctuary LampAladdin Model N0. 11 Kerosene Oil Lamp Hanging Lamp Font Nickel PlatedAntique 14 Inch Painted Hanging Oil Lamp Shade (white Floral Scene)Fine 6 Lights - Crystal Chandelier Light Pendant Lamp Hanging Suspension 110vVintage Industrial Factory Hanging Lamp Light Steampunk With Green Tin ShadeAladdin Brass Colored Ceiling Hanging Bracket For Kerosene Lamp W/ Smoke BellAntique Hanging Adjustable Oil Lamp Ruby Red Swirl Glass GlobeHandlan Railroad Signal Lamp ,hanging Lantern Antique OrigVintage Hanging Swag Lamp Clear Frosted Pineapple Diamond Retro Mid Century #1

Recent News: Hanging Lamps

Source: Google News

Shedding a little light on the subject
The Province, September 16th

At the same time, the staging details take on a more circular shape, as table settings reflect the shapes of a display on a white built-in unit, which in turn mirror the circular hanging lamp that resembles a strobe light. Nordin says the effect with...Read more

D.Light Solar: Making the World a Brighter Place
Nanalyze, September 16th

Social responsible investing (SRI) is any investing strategy that looks to maximize financial return and social good. Maximizing social good often involves targeting the less fortunate in this world and can be very lucrative. “Sell to the poor and live...Read more

Light through the rubble
Visayan Daily Star, September 11th

The traditional pattern of the fabric offers a welcome contrast to the contemporary silhouette of the hanging lamp. The Tubigon Lamp comes in two sizes, large and small. Fabric colors and patterns vary making the lamps rare if not unique finds. La...Read more

Art exhibit showcases sculpture, lighting inspired by Nature
Coast Weekend, September 10th

"Hanging Lamp" by Lâm Qu?ng and Kestrel Gates at RiverSea Gallery, is made of abaca paper over wire armature and inspired by Korean joomchi. Art exhibit showcases sculpture, lighting inspired by Nature. Submitted photo ...Read more

House of the Day
Curbed National, September 9th

I'd buy the place just for the pale pink hanging-lamp thing. It's precious! Like a little newborn baby hat for your ceiling. By Kate683. 09/11/14 04:09 AM. Too industrial looking. Doesn't fit the area at all. Might be nice in a more urban location...Read more

Huggable Lamps Crush to Customized Shapes
PSFK, August 27th

The unique shape created out of the hanging lamp helps add an ethereal quality to the space the lamp occupies. The way the Proplamp is crushed or crumpled also helps vary the lighting effect that each lamp provides. The owners of the Proplamp are ...Read more

Bethesda business helps inspire art students
Gazette.Net: Maryland Community News Online, August 20th

On Monday, the children discussed the relative comfort of different mid-century modern seating options, saw a table designed by the architect of Dulles International Airport and talked about how one designer had made a hanging lamp shade by spinning ...Read more