The Transition from Gas to Electric Lamps (1880-1920)

  • Thomas Edison didn't invent the incandescent bulb, but he did develop the entire integrated system of electric lighting that allowed the world to transition from gas lamps to electric lamps during the period from when the light bulb was invented in 1880 to about 1920, when Europe & the US had more or less buiilt out their grids. (Of course, this transition is still not complete in many parts of the world.) Substituting a light bulb for a gas bulb meant that the design of lamps changed radically during this period, and together with the technological changes, new styles emerged, as we moved from the Victorian era to Arts & Crafts/Art Nouveau to Art Deco. In Tuesday's show we'll look at examples made during this period and try to date the pieces, using technological changes & stylistic changes as guides. Many of the conversions from gas to electric lamps occurred when electric utilities were set up in a given area--you didn't have to buy a new lamp to go electric. Do you think that there are any Deco gas lamps? Did true Deco style in lamps only become possible after the transition? Please join us online (click Connect) at the top of the home page Tuesday at the usual time, 5PM PST, 6PM MST, 7PM CST, 8PM EST. Gary