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What are the features of restoration lighting fixtures?

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Quick Answer

Restoration lighting fixtures feature sleek industrial lines, shiny or distressed finishes, and unshaded bulbs. The style reflects the forms developed in the beginning stages of electrical lighting from the 1890s and early twentieth century. It also incorporates elements of 1920s decor and mid-century modern.

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Restoration lighting emphasizes function -- it is all about the bulbs. Designs often replace standard glass bulbs with unique materials or use glass shades over bare lighting filaments. Bulbs that represent the style tend toward shapes that are long and straight or those that resemble inverted pears. Filament configurations include squirrel cages, candelabras, loops, flames and simple Edison reproductions. Tungsten or carbon filaments and bronze-tinted glass provide a warm light.

While restoration light fixtures take a back seat to the bulbs, the fittings add to the characteristic industrial or modern feel. Pendant lamps and sconces feature conical or angular metal shades if any at all. Some shades terminate in riveted metal cages, duplicating a commercial look. Table lamps approximate the antique farmhouse lights seen in barns or goose-necked library versions. Floor lamps tend to have tall, spare silhouettes.

Steampunk is a sub-category of restoration style featuring a Victorian look. The decor uses the Edison-type bulbs but incorporates machine parts from factory boilers, vintage airplanes and ships. While restoration tends toward silvered metal, steampunk highlights brass.

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