History of Chandeliers
History of Chandeliers
Chandeliers have been around a lot longer than many people think; it can be argued that they have been around for 5000 years originating in Egypt. There is speculation that the first chandelier stems from the butter lamps that were used during Pharaoh’s time to light up his tomb.
What doesn’t need any speculation however is that original chandeliers are very humble in comparison to what they are now. The word chandelier originates from the French “chandelle” which translates as candle holder which is literally what they were.
At the time, chandeliers were so important because they provided a good source of light as there was no electricity and the only other sources of light were small tallows which they carried around, wall sconces which only lit up a small section of a room and fireplaces. During this period, in the 14th century, the design of chandeliers was very simple – a wooden cross with a spike at each end holding a candle. A chandelier is a symbol of wealth and class, especially at this time because only the wealthy could afford to have and maintain a chandelier. Other than that, chandeliers were only really seen in churches.
The 16th and 17th century was when it began to become more common seeing chandeliers in the homes of the prosperous. The very wealthy homes has chandeliers made from brass which looked and cost more expensive, those with less wealth has chandeliers made from wood, wrought iron or tin sheets. Today however, they can be manufactured from a variety of different materials such as, wood, glass, iron, brass, copper, plastic, ceramics, steel, stainless steel, wrought iron, deer antlers and many more!
Glass became a major material of what chandeliers were made from; it is believed that glass has been around for thousands of years, and that for a similar amount of time it has also been used in chandeliers. The most noticeable date is 1676 when glass was properly introduced into chandeliers.
Chandeliers have been adapted over the years to suit the different advances in technology as they have developed and progressed. From butter lamps to candles, oil to electricity, and you can even find solar energy or fluorescent material in some chandeliers. The materials that made them have also advanced as did their reception by potential buyers, they became a symbol of art and status measured by design, presence and intricacy.
The introduction of gas to chandeliers came in the 18th century, at this time many chandeliers were converted so that they use gas instead of candles which happened until the introduction of electricity where the chandeliers were then converted to work with electricity. The way that chandeliers have been regularly updated to keep with the changing times has helped extend the life of chandeliers and ultimately making them timeless.
The history of chandeliers is a long one, and they have been around for much longer than many realise but they are a part of our history, and undoubtedly a part of our future as well. They advance and progress with the times. Their looks have also changed over the years, with the introduction of Drop Crystal Chandeliers being the pinnacle moment in the 18th century when the design was undoubtedly changed for the better – we have Louis XIV to thank for that. The perception of chandeliers has changed as they have grown in extravagance, size and their purpose shifted to being more for aesthetic purposes rather than for functionality.