Vintage and Antique Holophane lights.
When looking at Vintage and Antique lighting the term “Holophane” is generally associated with the wonderful glass lampshades produced by the Holophane company at the end of the 19th century and up to the mid part of the 20th Century.
These fabulous Holophane glass lampshades were made with a prismatic design with deep parallel vertical ridges or crosscut prisms. Old and original vintage an antique holophane shades were made from high quality pressed glass with a high lead content. This high lead content in conjunction with the crisp and sharp detailing of the prismatic glass affords these old Holophane lampshades a distinctive, attractive and highly effective illumination effect.
The ongoing popularity of the Holophane concept has lead to the prismatic design being honestly reproduced over many decades. These reproductions vary greatly in quality and design, to be honest even the very best reproductions although good never offer the same lighting effect as an original high lead content Holophane lampshade.
Here are a few things to consider when looking for a “Holophane” or Holophane style light or lampshade.
Original Holophane Lights.
99% of the time original Holophane lights will be marked. Early shades were manufactured in the USA, France and England. If you find a Holophane shade there are a few areas to pay attention to and to inspect closely.
Let’s have a look at an original Holophane ceiling light that i recently acquired.
Glass Clarity and Quality.
Here is the old holophane as found at the Antique Fair. This lovely old light dates from the early 20th Century period. The image above shows the light uncleaned, the light is actually quite grubby in this photo. Notice how the glass is picking up the light from my photography lamp and is shining and sparkling, this is despite the dust and dirt on its surface, this is the high lead content Holophane clarity.
When holding an original Holophane shade in your hands you are immediately struck with an air of top build quality, these old shades are crisp, sharp and somehow feel engineered as if they have been machined from a solid block. The glass ridges are uniform and manufactured to very fine tolerances. If you gently tap the rim of an old Holophane you will hear it ring.
Gallery and Fittings.
If you find an Antique Holophane that has its original gallery and fittings then it’s a huge bonus as these old fittings hold many clues to the age of your find. Original Galleries and fittings will have signs of age and use including tarnish, wear and possibly splits in the brass. The fitting shown in this image is original to the shade, it is made from Brass with a pressed Art Nouveau design.
The all important rim.
The gallery fitting rim is where Holophane placed the makers stamp. This shade is marked with the Holophane name, the patent and model number and also is marked as made in England. Notice in the image above the quality and crispness of the ridges which are still sharp despite being around 100 years old.
Cleaned, polished and ready for use.
Here is the light properly cleaned, polished, rewired and ready for use. The glass is now sparkling.
Hung and unlit.
Notice how when hung the Holophane glass lampshade has an even shimmer and sparkle, again this is the shade picking up light purely from my photography lamp.
Here we see the light lit with a modern low energy white bulb, now the shade really comes to life with an even glowing sparkle and the iconic Holophane glowing frilled rim.
The frilled rim of the old Holophane glass casts an attractive shadow pattern to nearby surfaces.
More examples of Original Vintage Holophane Lights
A Pair of Antique Holophane glass shades with original fittings salvaged from a Church refurbishment.
A wide rimmed Antique Holophane and fitting with a matt graduated coating made for a specialist application.
An Antique flush mounting cross-cut prismatic Holophane ceiling light.
Quality Reproduction Holophane Lighting.
The popularity of the Holophane design has lead the Holophane style being reproduced over many decades. There are some excellent Antique Holophane copies available that are made from quality glass and have great looking fittings.
There are also many more modern reproductions on the market which vary greatly in quality and lighting effect.
Most of todays best quality manufacturers have “prismatic” style glass lampshades available as part of their catalogue.
This Antique Style “Holophane” light is one of a number salvaged from a High Street Restaurant Chain.
Age is approx 10 Years Old.
A Vintage Holophane Reproduction light with Aged fittings.
Age around 1970s
A Vintage Art Deco styled Holophane reproduction with Chromed fittings.
Age is approx 2005
A Top Quality Holophane style light by Christopher Wray of London.
Note how the Holophane illumination effect has been reproduced really well – This light dates from the 1980s.
As you can see from the examples above the Holophane/Prismatic design has been copied over many decades and is still really popular today. These old designs offer a great fit into many styles of period settings.
Please have a look at my eBay shop as i often have a range of Antique and Reproduction Holophane lighting in stock.
My eBay shop can be found here – Hertfordshire Lighting
New Holophane Style Lighting.
There is a wide range of new Holophane Style lighting available on todays market.
Although the lighting effect will not be as sharp as the original Vintage and Antique prismatic shades some of this new lighting fits well into antique and period styled interiors.
Graham and Green offer a fine range of affordable, simple and elegant pendants with Holophane inspired designs. The Brass fittings on these modern Holophane interpretations are nicely Antiqued and allow these modern lights to fit well into a period setting.
Please see here for the Holophane style range of lighting and other quality home interior pieces by – Graham and Green
The magnificent Globe ceiling light by Timothy Oulton.
There are some great Holophane bargains to be had on auction sites, Antique shops and in flea markets.
Remember, the key to finding an original Antique or early Vintage Holophane shade is the pressed marking in the glass and the type and condition of the fittings.
If you have a restored Holophane I would love to see an image of the light and to hear your restoration story.
As always if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me and I will always do my best to help.