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Colonial America Outdoor Lanterns

Updated on December 30, 2014

Timeless American Colonial Light Fixture on Post

Royal Barry Wills Post Lantern:  This colonial copper post lantern is a true early American lighting fixture design.
Royal Barry Wills Post Lantern: This colonial copper post lantern is a true early American lighting fixture design. | Source

American Colonial Lighting

Outdoor lighting has played a pivotal role in American architecture. Long before the American Revolution each new city defined itself by using local artisans and craftsmen. Many of these American colonialist ironed out the humble beginning stages for these new American cities. Through their handcrafted ingenuity, they defined many early American cities' infrastructure. Coinciding with America's rapid expansion, major urban developments needed new resources to provide certain public areas with light. Hand selected blacksmiths were given liberty and freewill to create truly spectacular carriage lanterns and outdoor lamp posts. That are still in existence today. Giving us the opportunity to see into the and just how the creative streamline processes flowed from the streets of Williamsburg, Virginia to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In highlighting some of the early American architectures one must take an adventure into the Colonial period. Some of the best known Colonial architecture is found in Williamsburg, Virginia. In 2007 the city of Williamsburg, Virginia was approached Troy Lighting and Hudson Valley Lighting companies. Their goal was to seek permission from the city Williamsburg to development and manufacture an exclusive new Williamsburg lighting collection. In order to complete that task, Troy Lighting and Hudson Valley Lighting contracted with the city of Williamsburg, and created whole new selection of lighting based off of Williamsburg's outdoor lanterns and indoor lighting fixtures. This remarkable new outdoor lighting line showcases Williamsburg's slim, strict classical lines. They truly mastered Williamsburg's perfectly mastered Colonial period.

Collection of American Exterior Lanterns

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Wonderful Black and White Print for sale of a Philadelphia Street Lamp.  Truly a classic American Beauty!!  America's first gas lantern, made of Copper found in Baltimore, Maryland.
Wonderful Black and White Print for sale of a Philadelphia Street Lamp.  Truly a classic American Beauty!!
Wonderful Black and White Print for sale of a Philadelphia Street Lamp. Truly a classic American Beauty!! | Source
America's first gas lantern, made of Copper found in Baltimore, Maryland.
America's first gas lantern, made of Copper found in Baltimore, Maryland. | Source

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The Federal Architectural Period

The Colonial period is better known as the Federal architectural period. This period extended through the late 1600's to the early 1800's. It's classic styling and feasibility made it immensely popular. Blacksmith's sought new ways to forged the smooth edges together. The final invention was sleek and classical decorative lighting techniques based off of using the most simplistic details. Whilst popularly today is quite prevalent, the Federal period cease to be overwhelmingly popular sometime after the War of 1812. As a Christmas tradition, Williamsburg, Virginia still hosts an old fashion lighting event each year.

Another fashionable period for exterior lighting came far across the Atlantic. The Victorian period of 1840 that lasted until 1901. The Victorian age is named after the then monarch of England, Queen Victoria. Its' period is marked by large, ornately decorated , wrap around porches. Tall steeplechases were richly detailed with the finest gingerbread carvings. It was an era defined by matching up stark contrasting details and combining them together. Bold vertical lines were placed opposite alongside large floral and filigree designs.

One of the most lovely aspects of the Victorian period was their use of metals, quartz, crystal and smoked colored glass. In many of the historical pieces in existence today, one can clearly see their love of rich patinas and frosted glass. They were able to create elegant coach lanterns, lamp posts and dramatically complicated chandeliers and pendants. Their style for outdoor lanterns was truly effective and remarkable. Beautiful old carriage lanterns have been found, with copper tops and brass structural details. They used the finest Austrian crystal to create prisms and glistening light styles for an adventurous evening out by carriage ride. It truly was a magical period. However, what proceeded next was an explosion of creativity. The Art Deco period.

The Art Deco period continued to use contrasting details for architectural design projects. The movement began somewhere near the French and German borders. The transformation of art and architecture quickly swept like wildfire all across Eastern and Western Europe. Craftsmen were hired for their abilities to merged together large sweeping curves and zeal when put together they formed an incredible masterpiece of iron and steel. Craftsmen were now thought of as artisan's because of their enormous talents and abilities to make metals flow like a river or stream. Nothing showcases this creatively more than its' period lighting details. It is an amazing time in history, where using heavy casts of gold, bronze, pewter and iron were gilded to produce large outdoor lighting fixtures. This style turned American Italianate architecture into modern day castles and ordinary homes, office buildings, skyscrapers and hotels into lavish luxuries. It clearly is the most modest yet sophisticated, American time period.


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