The Gaslight Era began in 1792 in England. It was in rapid development and expansion within a few years and lasted until electricity became available and reliable, around the beginning of the 20th century. Lighting gas, made, purified and piped to us by a local manufacturing and supply company, allowed us to have a light that we could turn on and off when we wanted to. It was brighter and safer than the candles and oil lamps we'd had to rely on before, in addition to being more convenient. This completely revolutionized the way we light our homes, offices, businesses, factories and public spaces.
By the time gas lighting was invented, chandeliers had been in use for a few centuries. Those earlier chandeliers, of course, did just what their name suggests -- they held a lot of candles. With the change to gas, manufacturers did some design and engineering work and developed chandeliers that held gas burners, and could deliver and control the gas to those burners from the supply pipe. With updated designs, these new lighting fixtures remained popular for the Neoclassical, Federalist, Idealist, Greek Revival and Victorian homes that were built during that century.
01 of 06
This is a high-style chandelier from House of Antique Hardware. They call this fixture "classic. To me, it looks likes style that would fit well in one of the Italianate homes that became popular after the Civil War.
Notice the plain downrod and the small key, or handle, under each burner. Then there are the shades, opening -- almost flowering -- upward. This is a well-done reproduction.
02 of 06
Fifteen light bulbs can put out a lot of lumens. A chandelier this size isn't for every space, but it might look just right in a large entry hall or stairwell.
The shades are classic Victorian-era bowls with a pattern etched into each one that is intended to refract and enhance the light. The gas keys (Southfork calls them gas locks in their text) are at the bottom of the curve of each arm, and the fixture appears to be hanging from a downrod.
03 of 06
The people at Rejuvenation Lighting & House Parts didn't specify, but it looks to me like this chandelier has 13 globes or shades. When you consider that each of those shades is 7" tall you start to get a sense of the scale of this beauty. It's big. At 5' tall and a little more than 3' across, this chandelier needs a tall, open space to hang in.
Gas keys, a downrod and piping, and open, etched -- frosted -- bowls for shades. Late Victorian all the way. If you don't want something this big, don't worry, they have smaller fixtures.
04 of 06
When you see a fixture name this plain and descriptive, you can almost bet you're looking at something from Southfork Lighting. Yep. This one is a chandelier with a downrod and five candlesticks. A chandelier that would have burned gas while looking like it was just a candleholder.
This fixture, and others like it, can appear at home in less formal parts of the house, such as the kitchen or family dining areas, or in a house that is from the period but isn't all that fancy or grand.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
This elegant chandelier from House of Antique Hardware only has six arms (only six?), but each arm can take up to a 100-watt light bulb. That's one of the advantages of the open gas shades: They let the heat from a light bulb out as effective as the heat from a gas mantle.
So, 600 watts. That's a lot of light. And, at 3' tall and 2' across, this one can fit over your dining table.
06 of 06
Plain, simple and elegant, without a lot of fancy decoration. A classic from Rejuvenation Lighting and House Parts.