A lampshade is a fixture that covers the lightbulb on a lamp to diffuse the light it emits. Conical, cylindrical and other forms on floor-, desk- or table top-mounted as well as suspended lamp models are the most common and are made in a wide range of materials. The term can also apply to the glass hung under many designs of ceiling lamp. Beyond its practical purpose, significant emphasis is also usually given to decorative and aesthetic features.
In the late 17th-century in Paris the first public lanterns made their appearance in the centre of the streets. They lit the road during the night. In 1763, the réverbères made their appearance. These were oil lamps with reflectors which were hung above the center of streets. The first public oil lamps in Milan, financed by revenues from a lottery, date from 1785. These were lanterns containing an oil lamp with a number of wicks. A semi-spherical reflector above the flame projected the light downwards, while another reflector, slightly concave and near the flame, served to direct the light latterly.
Friedrich Albert Winsor first had the idea of industrializing lighting by producing gas in a factory and distributing it through a pipeline. In the first decades of the 19th century, competing gas companies laid the first gas mains in major cities. But there were fears of explosion and toxicity.
The flame fed by the gas coming out of the nozzle was intense, uniform and adjustable, white and brilliant instead of the reddish or orange of oil lamps or candles.
The drawbacks of gas lighting were overheating of the air and extremely high oxygen consumption, making it necessary to ventilate the room or isolate the flame by separating the room where the combustion took place from the room being lit. Theatre audiences regularly suffered from headaches and the sulphur and ammonia formed during combustion of the gas ruined furniture.
Gas light had to be filtered by opal glass or light fabric shades. Lampshades were no longer used to direct the light but to attenuate it.
In 1879, Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison independently developed—combining and perfecting existing elements deriving from the research of Humphry Davy, De Moleyn and Göbel—the incandescent filament electric light bulb.
To disguise the intense electric light, lampshades were used. Some were made by Tiffany in colored glass. The great advantage of the electric light bulb was the absence of flame and traces of combustion, thus avoiding all risks of intoxication, explosion or fire. In the beginning, the filament was made of carbonised vegetable fibres, then bamboo fibres and finally metal alloys until, in the early 20th century, the tungsten filament invented in 1904 became established.
Modern lampshades can be classified by shape, by material, by fitter, or by function
Shades by shape
Lampshades are classified in four basic shapes: drum, empire, bell or coolie depending on their shape. Beyond the basics, lampshade shapes also include square, cut-corner, hexagon, gallery, oval, or scalloped shapes.
Lampshades by material
Lampshades are made of fabric, parchment, glass, Tiffany glass, or plastic. Common fabric materials include silk, linen, cotton, or even paper. Fabric shades are reinforced by metal frames to give the lampshades their shape, while paper shades can hold their shape without support. For this reason, paper shades can be more fragile than fabric shades. Darker shades sometimes add a reflective liner such as gold or silver in order to maximize light output.
A “fitter” describes how the lampshade connects to the lamp base.
The most common lampshade fitter is a Spider fitter. Spider fitters are set on top of a lamp harp (A lamp harp is the component of a lamp to which the lamp shade is attached. It typically comes in two separate parts, a saddle which is fastened under the lamp socket, and the harp itself which consist of a lightweight frame attached to the saddle at its lower end and extending upwards to a point above the bulb. At the top of the harp is a threaded rod. The shade’s internal frame (known as a spider) mounts on this rod and is secured in place by a lamp finial. Common materials for harps include brass and nickel. The most common thread size is 1/4-27),and secured with a finial (A finial or hip-knob is an element marking the top or end of some object, often formed to be a decorative feature. In architecture it is a decorative device, typically carved in stone, employed decoratively to emphasize the apex of a dome, spire, tower, roof, or gable or any of various distinctive ornaments at the top, end, or corner of a building or structure. Where there are several such elements they may be called pinnacles. Smaller finials in materials such as metal or wood are used as a decorative ornament on the tops or ends of poles or rods such as tent-poles or curtain rods or any object such as a piece of furniture. These are frequently seen on top of bed posts or clocks. Decorative finials are also commonly used to fasten lampshades, and as an ornamental element at the end of the handles of souvenir spoons. The charm at the end of a pull chain (such as for a ceiling fan or a lamp) is also known as a finial
Other fitters include clip-on (for either regular bulbs or candelabra bulbs), Uno, and notched-bowl fitter.
SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA 2017