Vintage barn lights have been around for nearly 100 years. It all started when large, open buildings were expanding into factories and warehouses. Tall ceilings and limited interior walls lead to new challenges when it came to lighting. One of the first solutions were small, cloth cord pendants. Cloth cords were inexpensive and could be easily customized to fit any ceiling height. Draping or swaging the cord also was an easy, portable solution should tables or work surfaces have to be moved or rearranged. Cloth cord pendants consisted of a bare socket, single bulb, and oftentimes a wire cage. This wire cage attached to the socket and became a useful feature to protect the light bulb should it get knocked around.
While these small wire cage pendants provided some lighting, it certainly wasn’t enough. It was clear that far more lighting was needed in order for workers to increase production – then came the warehouse shade. This new shade design had never been seen before; it came in the form of both pendants and gooseneck lights. Warehouse shades replaced the earlier small cloth cord pendants above work surfaces – practically doubling the amount of previous lighting used. Gooseneck barn lights were commonly found outdoors as their gooseneck arm needed to be mounted on walls and flat, vertical surfaces.
Not only were they providing more lighting, but they were also extremely durable. Why? Manufacturers like Goodrich and Benjamin were producing lighting with a porcelain enamel finish. What is porcelain enamel? Porcelain enamel is a style production where colored glass is heated at extremely high temperatures and is fused onto a steel shade. When these two elements were combined, they created the ultimate light fixture – dust and grime could be easily wiped clean, they had the ability to resist rust and corrosion, and unlike other lights, extreme weather and heat could not fade their color. Vintage barn lights were commonly found in three colors – green, white, or black. The majority of vintage barn lights had white shade interiors as to provide the ultimate amount of reflective light.
As many industrial areas and factories were phased out, they were often times later torn down or completely renovated into modern day lofts. These highly sought after pieces are not commonly found in good shape today as many were destroyed during demolition or were not properly cared for. Barn Light Electric offers authentic vintage barn lights within our Vintage Barn Lighting category online. Here, you will find multiple vintage styles that have been cleaned, rewired and are ready to ship to your home!
VintageBarnLight.com is your source for all vintage barn lighting! Follow along and learn early barn light history, how they were used, who manufactured them, and see what styles you can purchase for your home today!