A softly tinted etched shade on a "Lindsey Light" inverted gas bracket, c1908.
Color has always played an important role in lighting, and nowhere more than in the glass shades that enhanced fixtures.
As we introduce our own new reproductions of classic colored glass shades, I thought it’d be fun to take a survey of lighting glass through the years. And because by “years” I mean about 100 of them, we’ll do it in two doses…
Rejuvenation's new Yellow Scalloped Reflector, in the straw opalescent color popular c1905.
SHADES OF COLOR, PART 1: 1875-1930
The images below are drawn from the pages of rare original lighting catalogues, accompanied by a little “color commentary.”
In the 1870s/1880s, hand-painted shades like these c1880 examples from the Meridian Flint Glass Company were common for higher-end gas fixtures. (Image courtesy of Paul Ivazes)
The 1880s and 1890s saw a shift from painted shades to colored and opalescent glass like these twist and hobnail patterns from United States Glass in 1893. (Courtesy of the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia)
The turn of the century brought with it a new and wider range of popular glass types, from the tinted treatements shown at left from Albert Sechrist in 1905, to a myriad of domestic and imported "art glass" types as sold by the Western Gas Fixture Company around 1910 on the right. (Rejuvenation Collection & Klemm Reflector Company)
In 1906, R. Williamson & Company showed this awesome range of glass among its offerings, including numerous pieces in Ruby, Pink, Blue, and Straw Opalescent - otherwise known as Vaseline by collectors today. (Rejuvenation Collection)
Macbeth-Evans Glass Company offered these bold shades at the height of the Arts & Crafts trend in 1912 as alternatives to the more expensive art glass shades of Tiffany, Steuben and Quezal. (Rejuvenation Collection)
While gas was disappearing by 1920, kerosene lamps remained quite common (especially in rural areas) and Pittsburgh Lamp Brass & Glass Company offered these stunning decorated examples. (Rejuvenation Collection)
The 1920s saw a return of the "decorated shade" - where color was less about the glass itself than hand-applied treatments on the surface of it. Brighter bulbs after 1910 made shades like these possible. (Rejuvenation Collection)
Many companies specialized in hand-painted decoration and delicately tinted etched treatments in the 1920s, and few did it better than Consolidated Lamp & Glass around 1925. (Rejuvenation Collection)
By 1930, when Moe-Bridges offered this line-up of wonderful painted shades, bold new color treatments and applied images were heralding the arrival of Art Deco. (Rejuvenation Collection)
Indeed, the spread of the Modernistic style (“Art Deco” was only coined around 1968) would serve to inject a new enthusiasm for color after 1930 – bolder, brighter, and more graphic. Stay tuned for the rest of the story in my next post, Shades of Color, Part 2: 1930-1975