Lamp Shades

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Lamp Shades - The Introduction:

Lamp Shades are structures used on lamps with the purpose of directing and/or attenuating the emitted light. Apart from the practical purpose they fulfil, lamp shades enhance the beauty of the lamps. When lamps were first introduced, they had many applications because they were the main source of lighting. Be it the living room or the study, lighting was done by lamps. And since different areas required different amount of light, different lamp shades were used. However, with time and technology advancement, lamps have been moved from the study and the bedrooms, and confined to the living rooms in households. The purpose of lamps has been changed from lighting to decoration.

Lamp Shades- Evolution since the 17th century:

The first lamp shades were used in the 17th century in the street lamps of Paris. The oil lamps hung above the streets and were used to light the roads during the night. The lamp shades served the purpose of directing the light to the roads. The candle lantern is also an old example of lamp shades. Later, when gas light was introduced, its brightness called for a modification in the purpose of the lamp shades. They were now also used to modulate the intensity of light. As time progressed, instead of modification of lamp shades, modification into the sources of light was observed. Thus, now in the modern times, the lamps have become redundant. Nowadays, lamps are used in few places, to set the theme and ambiance of the place – like in hotels- and different lamp shades are used for this. Lamp shades are now just an instrument of decoration.

And since decoration has many aspects, many different lamp shades are available in the market, and are classified on the following basis:

  • Shape: There are 4 basic shapes of lamp shades, namely drum, bell, empire and coolie. Apart from these, there are some other designs like the hexagon, oval, etc. The shape of the lamp shade is the most appealing thing when considering lamps as decorative pieces.
  • Material: Many materials are viable for the manufacture of lamp shades. These include fabric, parchment, glass, Tiffany glass and plastic. Fabric shades are built on a metal frame to give them the required shape. Other materials obviously do not require such frames.The material of the lamp shade defines its properties of directing light and attenuating light.
  • Fitters: This defines the method by which the lamp shade is connected to the lamp. The examples are spider fitter, uno, notched-bowl and clip-on fitter.

Lamp shades are an essential part of any lamp. Earlier, the beauty of the lamp shades was a low priority and properties of directing light and modulating light intensity were of utmost importance. Now the system is vice-versa and the beauty of the shade in terms of its shape and colour is the most important feature of any lamp shade.

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