Are you dreaming of a simpler time? Step into the past with Elsie Wolfe and explore our range of vintage lighting. We source our one-of-a-kind products from all corners of the globe – you won’t find any reproductions here!
Vintage lighting can finish a space like no other or become the focal point from which the rest of your design develops. Whether upgrading or starting from scratch, our lighting products can give any space a timeless old-world charm that never goes out of style.
Get spellbound by our vintage lighting collection below and continue reading to discover the history behind these well-travelled lighting items.
The Storied Past of Our Lighting
Long proceeding, our lovely lamps are their ancient predecessors, the candle. Thought to have been invited by the Romans during the medieval period, candles were seldom found outside churches or wealthy homes. Poorer people would make do with firelight, rushlights, or tallow.
Before lampshades and lighting fixtures, household fires were our primary light source. In medieval towns, fires had to be extinguished after a particular time due to the risk of spreading. The word for this time was ‘curfew’, derived from the Old French term, ‘couvre-feu,’ meaning ‘cover fire’.
Not until the 18th century did we start to see lighting resembling our products. In 1780, French chemist Ami Argand invented a new oil lamp that provided as much light as ten candles.
The first electric lights were developed in the late 1870s. In Britain, Joseph Swan led the charge. He installed his lights at Cragside House in Northumberland in 1878. A year later, Mosley Street in Newcastle was the first to have electric streetlights. Slowly but surely, our world was beginning to step into the light.
Only after the First World War did electricity begin to find its way into most of our homes. Lightbulbs improved, and the National Grid was established. For the first time in human history, we had clean, safe lighting at the flick of a switch.
Elsie Wolfe offers a certified treasure trove of one-of-a-kind, handpicked vintage lights from all over the world. Despite their storied pasts, we do not compromise on quality. All of our products are built to last, so they can continue their story with you for years to come.