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What is a Vintage Holophane?

The term "Holophane" is used generically to describe clear molded glass or crystal shades and globes with parallel or crosscut prisms. Vintage Holophanes (circa 1890s-1950s) are outstanding examples of mid-twentieth century industrial art. The crisp clean lines create a beautiful glow when illuminated. Holophane glass was invented in the 1890s and was made in many shapes, sizes and patterns to provide specific types of illumination.  The term "Prismatic" is an alternative term for Holophane glass. Holophane glass is a beautiful choice for industrial lighting

The name Holophane was coined by French scientist Andre Bondel and Turkish born engineer, Spiridion Psaroudaki in the 1890s for their newly invented glass. They described the glass in the 1896 US patent #563,836 as having a "luminous appearance over its entire surface... entirely shining," and "having great beauty as well as illuminating power." According to the Holophane Company's website, the term was "derived from the Greek word 'Halos' meaning whole or entire and 'Phanein' meaning to appear or to seem. Thus the word 'Holophane' was defined as to appear completely luminous."

This highly engineered glass was initially made in France in the 1890s. The glass was designed with parallel prisms or ribs on the interior and exterior in order to refract and reflect light, thereby preventing the absorption of light. The engineering provided optimal illumination with little glare. The greater amount of lead used in older glass provided sparkle and life. The glass was originally made for both gas and electric illumination. During the dim gas/electric era in which Holophanes were invented, they were truly state-of-the-art performance lighting.

For the most part, the glass was made by companies under the name Holophane. The Holophane Company was founded by Otis Mygatt in 1896 in London to manufacture "illuminating appliances." At one point, there were three companies under Mygatt's majority ownership with the name "Holophane":  the Holophane Glass Company in the USA, Holophane Ltd. in Britain and Holophane Company in France. There is still a Holophane company in business in the USA today.

At Brass Light Gallery we sell only original vintage Holophanes, primarily circa 1920s - 1950s. These decades-old originals, salvaged from amphitheaters, naval yards and other industrial buildings, are increasingly hard to find. They provide great task lighting for kitchen islands, tables and lofts. Each of our industrial pendant lights are fully restored and rewired for modern use. View our Holophanes available for purchase at www.vintagebrasslight.com.

Sources:

"History of Holophane." Holophane.com. Holophane Company, 2007. Web. 18 May 2010. <http://www.holophane.com/company/history/index.asp>.

"Patent #563,836."Google.com/Patents. Blondel et al, 1896. Web. 18 May 2010. <https://patents.google.com/patent/US563836>.

 

Jun 30, 2021

Amy Joslin

Top rated Jeweler in Milwaukee 5 stars on Google
I have an older fixture no longer produced by Brass Light Gallery. Angie and the team were extremely helpful in identifying and producing the replacement (lost) parts to get my fixture up and functioning again. They did this all remotely and shipped the parts promptly. Highly recommend!
May 14, 2021

Will Heelan

Top rated Jeweler in Milwaukee 5 stars on Google
Brass Light Gallery is such an amazing resource: they can build your lighting dream. Angela in the sales room was just the best: listened carefully to what we were trying to accomplish and guided us through the process. She was a delight to work with and she persisted until she found EXACTLY what we were looking for: three sconces to match my Brass Light Gallery pendants from 20 years ago! We are so pleased!
Mar 17, 2021

Cathy Lindberg

Top rated Jeweler in Milwaukee 5 stars on Google
I loved Janel who assisted me. She was professional and friendly and super competent. Love my fixture! Perfect....and Made in the USA!
Feb 22, 2021

Trevor Santarius

Top rated Jeweler in Milwaukee 5 stars on Google
Always a fantastic experience with Brass Light Gallery. Their customer service goes above and beyond and their products are of the highest quality. It is great to support true artisans that create timeless and beautiful light fixtures that are made to last multiple generations. While certainly on the high end price-wise, their fixtures are well worth the investment.
Jan 22, 2021

JR R

Top rated Jeweler in Milwaukee 5 stars on Google
AMAZING!!! Breathtaking! Simply beautiful!! We are beyond impressed with the quality of these lovely fixtures and beyond impressed with the sales help from Janel. Janel was outstanding to work with! She took the time to understand that we wanted to modernize our 25 year old home with updated lighting. She asked about style, dimensions, pictures and layout information and helped us pick out coordinated fixtures for all rooms. Honest, very helpful but no pressure felt. We ordered 14 beautifully modern fixtures for the main level of our home. We live in MN and the lights came very well packaged and cared for. Our local electrician found installation easy and intuitive and commented many times on how high quality these fixtures were. "very well made, very very nice"!!! Am already planning the next lights we would like to update. We will definitely be ordering from brass light gallery again. HIGHLY recommend using this amazing company! Thank you Janel!!
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