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.

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Recent News: Hanging Lamps

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Bleeding Cool News, November 29th

If nothing else, you can say that Richard Benson knows how to make an entrance. The below process art for Justice Inc. The Avengers #6 by Ronilson Freire shows The Avenger busting into a room by kicking a guy into a hanging lamp. That's a pretty unique ...Read more

Review: Ballet Hispanico's 'If Walls Could Speak' Offers Vignettes of Urban Life
New York Times, November 24th

A man returns to his apartment after a hard day. He slumps into a chair by a table and turns on a hanging lamp. After a while, the light flickers and the man looks startled. Was that a ghost he just saw? Or was it merely his reflection in the mirrored...Read more

Antiques from rustic to elegant at Shabby Shack
The Laker/Lutz News, November 18th

Shop owner Laura Sanderson thinks it would make a perfect hanging lamp over a pool table. “I believe in Land O' Lakes,” she said. “I so badly want to see something happen along U.S. 41.” And, she's eager for Shabby Shack to be a part of that...Read more

Botcon 2016 Information Brochure Now Online
seibertron.com, November 12th

As they sat aboard their own personal space station orbiting Cybertron, the Tripredacus Council seemed to defy Maximal Intelligence in every way. Shrouded in mystery and shadows cast by a single hanging lamp, this trinity of high-ranking Predacons...Read more

25 Coolest Hanging Lights for Modern Rooms
Trendir, November 11th

There are no excuses when it comes to getting creative with your pendants or hanging lights - lighting up your home has never been as much fun or as easy to do. Just take a peek at some of these coolest, unique lighting styles we've found for you below...Read more

Green Ville Solutions Lights Up the Community
AllAfrica.com, November 3rd

from the sun, whilst protecting the LiFePo 3000 mAh battery the advantages of the smart stand are that it is easily attached and detached, and allows the light to be used as a desk lamp or hanging lamp, while the light itself can also be hand held...Read more

Lamp puts unique spin on pendant lighting
Duluth News Tribune, August 19th

To add to the Pinterest board, Amazon wish list, wedding registry or other "to buy" list: a Spokes hanging lamp from Foscarini. Inspired by antique Asian lanterns, birdcages and bicycle wheels, this contemporary-looking lighting fixture was designed by...Read more

Renewed Resources: Recycled-shade hanging lamp
LancasterOnline, February 4th

GREEN LIGHT: Which came first: The chicken, the egg — or the egg carton, or the lamp? Recycled paper that resembles the coarse cardboard egg cartons we're all familiar with forms the shade for this hanging lamp found at MoMA's online store...Read more