Arts and Crafts Lighting

At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the traditional furniture craftsmen soon saw their trades become mechanized further and further. Many decided to go back into the traditional methods of furniture design, though a simplified version. This became the Arts and Crafts movement, and soon companies would start producing Arts and Crafts lighting and furniture in mass quantities.

Though the original intention was to be free of machines, the style was soon translated into machine producible pieces. Several large factories started production on Arts and Crafts lighting and furniture. With mass-production, the prices dropped and the popular style of the day slowly changed from Victorian to Arts and Crafts.

The design of Arts and Crafts lighting is meant to have a simple style with features that look handmade, whether or not they actually are handmade. The form is often stretched vertically, giving the piece an elongated effect. The finishes are usually rough or look aged and unadorned. The metals, usually brass or wrought iron, have a hand-beaten and formed look to them, with a dull antique finish. The riveted joints are often left revealed. Glass, mica, and stained glass are often found in the shades of lamps.

Today Arts and Crafts lighting has come back into style in a grand fashion. Many of the pieces found in today’s big-box retail stores have obvious parallels in design to the original pieces. In high-end stores and catalogs, the Arts and Crafts style is very dominant. In antique shows and auctions, some of the original pieces and their earlier reproductions can go for hefty sums of money. There are still a great many original pieces in existence, due to their long lasting and well-built nature.

In the world of style, history often repeats itself. Inherited from England, America made Arts and Crafts lighting its own during the late 1800's. Now, more than a hundred years later, the pieces adorn the living rooms of many Americans again.

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