February 21, 2018

Design by Decade – 1900s

Welcome to the first in our Design by Decade series, where we explore the evolution of design trends and lighting technology over time. Looking for period pieces that perfectly capture the vintage feel of turn-of-the-century lighting? Check out some of our favorite selections that embody lighting from the first decade of the 1900s.

Vintage Bulbs

Carbon-filament light bulbs debuted in the 1890s and lit the way until 1912, when bright and powerful tungsten-filament bulbs transformed the industry. At a time when LED technology is advancing at the speed of light, replicas of vintage, turn-of-the-century bulbs have made a modern resurgence. Although notably energy-inefficient, these bulbs have an undeniable charm that hearkens back to a simpler time.

Today’s nostalgia for simplicity in a mile-a-minute world, coupled with the cozy glow that Edison and Squirrel Cage bulbs provide, explain the current popularity of this whimsical illumination trend. Pair with rustic finishes in exposed-bulb fixtures to really let these bulbs shine. We love the Nostalgic Bulb collection from Bulbrite, the Roost Filament Collection, and Retro Tube Filament bulbs from Stone Lighting.

Keep your eye out for filament-style LEDs bulbs. Finally, the historic charm and warm glow of an Edison is also eco-friendly, thanks to brands like Tala.

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Fortuny Moda Lamp by Pallucco Italia

Surprisingly contemporary in its profile, the Fortuny Moda Lamp was originally designed in 1907 by Mariano Fortuny as stage lighting equipment that revolutionized theatrical lighting. The domed cloth shade diffuses and reflects light to create the soft, indirect illumination still favored by photographers and cinematographers today. Reproductions of the original design take center stage as striking and alluring contemporary floor lamps at the height of interior fashion.

The Pallucco Italia replica is available in plain or printed cotton, while brands like Flos take the Fortuny concept to an incredibly minimalist and contemporary place.

This lamp stands alone as a striking conversation piece.

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Heirloom MS2 by Hudson Valley Lighting

This saucer-shaped shade houses a squirrel cage bulb hanging from a simple, sleek cord. The Old Bronze and Aged Brass finishes replicate the look of materials used in early 20th century lighting. This design-forward period piece perfectly captures the spirit of turn-of-the-century industrial décor, with clean lines and a primitive minimalist aesthetic that blends well with a variety of interior styles and schemes.

Pair with a nostalgic bulb for the most authentic look and embrace the popular vintage industrial design trend seen everywhere today.

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Edison Table Lamp by Roost

Taking the vintage industrial trend a step farther, this Edison Table Lamp from Roost delivers an authentic dose of early 1900s style. Many desk lamps of the era employed a wire or glass cage to protect costly bulbs from damage. What was once a highly practical form-follows-function design feature is now a highly fashionable nod to the design climate of yesteryear.

Pair with a nostalgic bulb for best results. Think of it as decoration, and don’t expect it to work effectively as a desk lamp or reading light.

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Heirloom WG by Hudson Valley Lighting

Hudson Valley’s Heirloom WG Semi-Flush also features the traditional cage protecting its vintage Edison-style carbon filament bulb, this time in a more industrial wire form. Available in gorgeous finishes from aged brass (pictured) to polished nickel and old bronze, the Heirloom Semi-Flush will make any space feel steeped in history and Gilded Age charm.

Pair with a nostalgic bulb for best results. Think of it as decoration, and don’t expect it to work effectively as a desk lamp or reading light.

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Fortuny Floor Lamp
by Pallucco Italia