DESIGN COMES TO THE LIGHTING FIELD BY ARTHUR HIROSE Fifty five years ago the electric light was invented and yet today the home lighting industry is making its first real progress toward design and styling. But don't be harsh with the portable lamp and lighting fixture peo ple. They've come out of the dark ages against heavy obstacles. They had custom and tradition to overcome. Their wares followed directly the gas age and the kero sene era. People were accustomed to the rigid inflexi bility of light sources like wicks and burners which could burn only in a vertical position. It took years to realize that electricity, thru the lamp bulb, offered a wide variety of lighting. Remember, too, even the crudest electric lamps and fixtures were so far superior to other older light sources that the consumer was in effably grateful. And nothing slows down initiative in an industry so much as customer complacency. Considered abstractly the designs of lighting fixtures and portable lamps have been dreadful. Even today in better class homes the lighting equipment draws shudders from the impersonal observer. Bare, cheer less fixtures or over-ornamented designs have been the rule in the majority of homes. But these meaning less and atrocious designs, with their polychrome ef fects and their gaudy glass, silks and parchment, were passively accepted by the public. Lighting fixtures were put into the home to stay. Their wires were soldered "for keeps." No one thought of changing lighting equipment any more than they would think of changing the bricks and the mortar that made up the house. Builders and contractors did nothing to promote better fixtures for the home. On the contrary their con stant emphasis on price drove down the profit in the lighting fixture business and fostered the growth of sectional assemblers rather than national manufac- 35 mm. mtB J Lamp by Kurt Verssen. Photograph by Ruth Bernhard ©- f*

Advertising Arts en | 1935 | | page 49