Since the early part of the 20th century lighting designers have created lamps and fixtures to captivate our senses. Much like the tranquility one feels staring at a warming fire or the excitement one feels staring at the spectacle of a lightening storm, accent lamps – those with colorful stained glass patterns, mythical figures, pastoral scenes or action, evoke our emotions.
While illumination is a function of lighting, many of the lamps of the sensory ilk, including lava lamps of the 50’s and 60’s, and animated action lamps of the 20’s and again in the 1950’s, favor more the sense of accent, entertainment and decoration than the practical function of task lighting.
Static yet colorful stained glass lighting appeals as eye candy. Beautiful patterns of Wisteria, Iris, and nature captivate, whether lit or not. Not much has changed since pioneer Louis Comfort Tiffany introduced his first stained glass art lamps more than 100 years ago. Vintage original Tiffany fixtures can be bought for more than the cost of a down payment for a San Francisco home.
Motion lamps, like the animated lamps of the 1920’s, feature popular scenes such as water cascading over Niagra Falls or flames burning around a log. It’s no wonder why advertisers sought to reintroduce action lamps again in the 1950’s. In the 50’s these moving lamps were brought back to life featuring Cole Swimwear models or popular snacks and drinks such as popcorn or coke and would rest upon the counter of a bar for all to enjoy!
Lava lamps also captured our fascination with colorful lighting and movement. Today, these, and the above mentioned vintage lamps, continue to be popular. Collectors may seek higher valued originals, whereas the homeowner may be just as happy with a modern day reproduction. Adding to the feel of a place, these kinds of fixtures are here to stay!