Our new Deco Drum Shade is yet another piece of lighting history we felt just had to be saved. This oversized shade debuted in 1935 as “The Wonder Unit” so called because it reflected the technological advances in lighting at the time.
Admittedly, we love the name. But mainly we were intrigued and impressed by this shade’s scientific pedigree, based on a three-part construction: a large, opaque glass drum connected by a brass ring to an etched glass bottom lens. Originally the lens was tinted blue to balance the light emitted by warm incandescent bulbs – an early version of color correcting that created the effect of daylight. (In a slight departure, Rejuvenation’s version of the Deco Drum Shade substitutes uncolored etched glass for the blue lens.)
The shade’s “scientific” design also produced an ambient glow and even, diffused downlight. Functionally speaking, this quality of light was highly desirable for commercial applications, including offices, schools, and stores. (We like to think that more than one engagement ring may have been examined under a light such as this.)
In today’s environments, this oversized shade makes a bold decorative statement, particularly when used to replace a more expected chandelier. (Above, a pair of Hollywoods outfitted with Deco drums light up a large kitchen island.) And no need to be intimidated by its technical attributes – this shade is user-friendly. The brass lens ring (which comes in 13 hand-applied finishes) is removable, along with the lens, making it easy to change the bulb.
We’re always happy when we preserve the best from the past, and in this case, that means preserving the wonders of The Wonder Unit, whose features are just as exciting today as they were in the 1930s.