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    

Antique Victorian Hanging Oil Parlor Lamp Original Red ShadeAntique Art Nouveau Filigree Urn Old Slag Glass Hanging Pendant Lamp ChandelierVintage Crouse Hinds Hanging Traffic Signal Lamp Light Automotive Street SignAntique Victorian Hanging Parlor Lamp Original Custard Shade Clarks PatentAntique 1870s Bradley Hubbard Hanging Oil Lamp - Cast Iron W/hand Painted ShadeVictorian Slag Glass Hanging Lamp Light Ceiling Shade Chandelier Handel Era NrAntique Art Nouveau Solid Bronze Hanging Oil Lamp Kerosene Electric OptionAladdin No. 12 Hanging Lamp No. 620s Shade Beautiful ConditionAntique Hanging Oil Lamp Light Painted Glass Shade W Windmill Scenes 13 3/4"Beautiful Five Arm Ceiling/hanging Lamp W/ Leaded Slag Stained Glass Shades Vintage 30" Oil Rain Hanging Swag Lamp With GoddessVintage 30" Rain Oil Motion Lamp Lady & Dog Hanging Swag LightVintage Green Diamond Quilted Glass Swag Hanging Light/lamp Antique" Royal" Hanging Oil LampRare Monax Macbeth Evans Pattern Glass American Sweetheart Hanging Lamp Shade NrAntique Hanging Kerosene Oil Lamp Ornate Brass Ceiling Pulley Canopy And Chain Steampunk Cast Iron Pulley Industrial Chandelier~primitive Light~hanging Lamp!!Vtg. 1960's Light Lucite Acrylic Swag Rock Hanging Lamp Mid Century Eames NelsonVintage Mid Century Eames Era Optic Art Clear Quilted Glass Hanging Swag Lamp10 Vintage Hanging French Large Drop Crystal Glass Prism Lamp Chandelier Part1kmb Japanese Buddhist Set Bronze Lantern Temple Toro Hanging Candle Lamp DragonAntique Hanging Hall Kerosene Oil Lamp Ornate Frame Vintage French Original Vintners Olympe Oil Lamp Wall Hanging Table Top Antique 19th.c Islamic Silver And Cooper Inlaid Hanging LampVintage French Original Vintners Olympe Pigeon Type Wall Hanging Lamp Very RareAntique Brass Copper Hanging Light Chandelier Vintage Lamp Sconse Electric Mini Small Hanging Lily Lamp Chandelier Crystal Prism Brass Tole Hanging FixtureVintage Hanging Lamp Wagon Wheel Chandelier With 4 Lights Copper ShadeAntique Ornate Hanging Oil Lamp Chains Hook Leveller Pull Down 1890s VictorianAntique 32" Art Nouveau Hanging Chandelier Ceiling 3 Larm Lamp Light FixtureVintage Mid-century Mod Avocado Colored Velvet Hanging Swag Lamp Neat!!10 Vintage Hanging French Large Drop Crystal Glass Prisms Lamp Chandelier PartsVintage Floor Lamp Two Hanging Shades Mid Century Brass & Teak Look Tiki RetroVintage Hanging Goddess Oil Rain LampAntique Rochester Hanging Lamp 1886,w/ceiling Mount Chain,vintage Lighting Tool20 Lot Clear Crystal Glass Prisms 1.5'' Chandelier Lamp Parts Hanging Drop-02Antique Large Iron Hanging Store Lamp Frame Miller, B&h Oil Kerosene Lamp Frame10 Vintage Hanging French U-drop Crystal Glass Prism Lamp Part Kerosene Oil RepaVintage Retro Groovy Swag Hanging Light Lamp Teal Blue Swirl Brass Crackle GlassKerosene Oil Flower Decorated China Font Holder Hanging Library Lamp No TankAntique Victorian Blue Glass Shade For Table Hanging Oil Lamp Circles FitterHanging Oil Lamp Vintage Stained Glass Style Swag Hand Made Orb Hanging Lamps Pendant LightVtg Glass Chandelier Swag Hanging Lamp Orange Amber Plug InAntique Font For Bracket Or Hanging Kerosene Oil Lamp Clear Glass Mid-century Blue & Clear Lucite Crystals Hanging Slag Lamp Light Fixture 1960'sAntique Hanging Oil Lamp Ceiling Motor / Holder Retractor Lot Of 3 Beautiful Vintage Art Deco Gwtw Hanging Lamp ~ Fenton?? Bradley & Hubbard??.Antique Hanging Light Electrified Oil Juno Lamp Lantern Mascot Flint Glass Flute Kerosene Oil Hanging Banquet Lamp Font--28w 450 Led Blue + Red Plant Grow Light Panels / Lamps With Hanging KitMid Century Modern Black Wrought Iron Hanging Basket Cage Light Lamp FrameLed 12v Rechargeable Work Lamp Trouble Work Light Hanging Cordless Fishing TorchArt Deco C I Center Lamp Column Hanging Chandelier Light Slip Shade PartVintage Chrysler Marine Hanging Light Fixture, Tavern Light Fixture, Lamp1950's Lucite Plastic Fiber Hanging Lamp, Atomic Eames Era Swag, Tiki Vintage Mid Century Eames Era Optic Art Amber Crackle Glass Hanging Swag LampDanish Modern Swag Hanging Wood Globe Lamp Mid Century ModernAntique Victorian Frosted Etched Glass Hanging Ceiling Hall Light Lamp 19" Vintage Ceramic Christmas Ornament Hanging Swag Lamp Light Red White Gold

Recent News: Hanging Lamps

Source: Google News

Lamps aglow with workmanship
The Hindu, November 22nd

One of the Malabar lamps weighs about 8 kg and is priced at Rs.14,000. The 'parrot hanging lamp' with multiple designs weighs about 10 kg and is priced at Rs.45,000. The parrot lamps are characteristic of their workmanship and are made in Nachiarkovil...Read more

Spaces: Andy and Tanya Rogers
San Antonio Express-News, November 21st

Unexpected furnishings, colors and accessories engage the eye throughout the bungalow. In the dining room, an ornately framed mirror reflects a vignette of plates and an antique hanging lamp. The mirror frame was gold when Tanya bought it for “$175...Read more

Two competing innovators join hands to light up the country's dark belt
Forbes India, November 16th

Greenlight's Sun King models range from the basic 'Eco' for Rs 650 to its newly launched Sun King 'Home' (Rs 4,900), a hanging lamp with three separate lights and multiple phone-charging ports. It is 10 times brighter than a kerosene lantern. An 'Eco' ...Read more

Edison bulb brings vintage look to DIY projects
St. Cloud Times, November 14th

Crafts Direct offers both tabletop and hanging lamp versions of the popular look. In addition, the store offers kits for do-it-yourself fanatics. That's where people can really personalize the look, White said. "It's a lot of repurposing, reusing...Read more

Mystery of SKINNED GOAT HEADS left hanging from lamp post
Daily Star, November 6th

THE BIZARRE and gruesome sight of a pair of skinned goat heads hanging from a lamp post has left New York residents baffled. By Andy Wells / Published 6th November 2014. The skinned goat heads were left hanging from a lamp post GRIM DISCOVERY: ...Read more

Estate Sale Roundup: October 31-November 2: Keeping it core: Allandale ...
Austin Chronicle, October 31st

This 2,348 sq. ft. home features a mid-century hanging lamp with crackle glass; all window treatments; antique oil lamps and other household items; antique horse hair sleigh blanket; vintage handmade American quilts; "Sunbonnet Sue" crib quilt and one ...Read more

Hanging Lamp Glows Blue Thanks to Bioluminescent Bacteria
PSFK, October 13th

During certain seasons, in some parts of the world, it's possible to witness ocean waves glowing a hypnotic shade of blue. Keen to share this experience with others, Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen has created a bioluminescent table lamp called Ambio...Read more

Numerouno: A sleek hanging lamp made from cardboard
Gizmag, November 17th

German designer Johannes Kiessler has created a sleek hanging lamp which is predominantly made from cardboard. Dubbed, Numerouno, the eco-friendly lamp weighs a mere 600 g (21 oz) and features a low consumption 21 W fluorescent tube that emits ...Read more