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  • History of Gas Lighting

    Lamplighter Lighting Gas Street Light Courtesy of LurganAncestry.com

    Today, the nostalgic glow of gas lanterns has a decorative appeal that is rapidly growing in popularity, but few are familiar with the significant place gas lighting holds in history. In the 1790s William Murdoch, an Englishman, was the first person to harness the flammability of gas and use it for the practical purpose of lighting. His discovery was celebrated and the technology quickly spread, arriving on Paris streets in 1820. As gas streetlights flickered across Europe, towns became safer for nighttime travelers; factories and businesses stayed open longer and production increased; people were able to read long into the evening hours with better lighting, and rising literacy rates pushed civilization into the second Industrial Revolution. Eventually theaters adopted gas lighting and witnessed a shift in audience behavior. Without the bright light of gas lamps, audiences were unable to see the actors on the stage and often socialized among themselves, but with the stage properly lit attention was better focused on the stage drama. This new technology resulted in greater respect for theater, and thus within a hundred years gas lighting facilitated the growth of industry, education, and leisure.

     

    French Market Lanterns-- Gas Lamp French Market Lanterns Gas Lamp

    Before the electrical era, in the 1700s, lanterns were fueled by olive oil, beeswax, and fish oil and a lack of convenient light switches meant all lanterns were lit by hand—a somewhat tedious but necessary task. The lanterns that forever changed the course of history were much cheaper than oil lamps and candles in addition to providing brighter light. By 1850, gaslights populated cities and suburbs all across Europe and the United States. Baltimore was the first American city with gas streetlights in 1816, and William Henry, a humble coppersmith from Philadelphia, was the first person to outfit a private residence with gas lanterns.

     

    The History of the Gas Lantern The History of the Gas Lantern

    In Modern times, gas lamps are popular for camping, preserving historic authenticity, and not surprisingly they adorn countless outdoor spaces, both public and private. Historic districts in Boston boast over 2,800 gaslights, and Cincinnati has more than 1,100, but Berlin has the largest gas lighting network in the world with 44,000 lamps. No other light can replicate the warm flickering atmosphere created by gas lanterns, and they are now flooding the luxury home market for good reason. No patio, driveway, or gate is complete without a gas lantern and a respectful nod to their place in history.

  • How to Use Lanterns in Wedding Decor?

    Centerpieces Courtesy of InvitesWeddings.com Centerpieces Courtesy of InvitesWeddings.com

    As Pinterest users already know, incorporating lanterns into wedding décor is completely trendy, and the uses for them go beyond what you would think. Brides-and-grooms-to-be are planning their wedding themes around these ornamental, and sometimes real, lanterns. Purposed as a centerpiece for the reception dinner, as lighting hung from above the dance floor, or as containers for gifts, these historic light fixtures have their work cut out for them. Long past are the days when lanterns were used strictly as street lights. They have found their way into our home décor and it seems like they will be sticking around for a while; they might even become a permanent fixture for the big day.

    Wedding Decor Wedding Decor

    One of the coolest ideas I’ve seen involves placing a typical glass lantern—painted wood or metal, your call—on the gift table as a receptacle for notes from wedding guests. The lantern becomes your guestbook! Your friends will wonder why no one had ever thought to do that before! As centerpieces, try tying ribbons that match your wedding colors to the top handle of the lantern and attach the table number. A word of caution: when using metal lanterns, be aware that the top metal can become very hot when containing a lit candle.

    Romantic Mood Lighting Romantic Mood Lighting

    If your wedding/reception space has a pergola you are practically obligated to utilize it for lantern hanging! Out with the Christmas tree string lights! For this, I recommend tea candles because they are cheaper, and from below the guest won’t be able to see the actual candle, just the warm flickering glow. Lanterns on hooks lining any key walkways or even the bar area can be a great touch. That’s lighting and décor—two birds, one stone. Get creative with it.

  • What Style of Lantern Should I Choose?

    Is your front porch a little lackluster? Consider lighting it with lanterns. Returning to popularity, these light fixtures come in a slew of styles you’ll have to read (or, you know, see) to believe. If you want to make the best impression on your house guests, here’s our guide to picking the perfect style of lanterns for your front door.

    Classic French: This is most likely what comes to mind when you think of outdoor lanterns. The bronze metal and curved, curling details are straight out of New Orleans. You can’t really go wrong with two of these classic pieces on your porch…but don’t make any decisions just yet.

    Traditional: Don’t let “traditional” fool you into thinking these are boring or average. Traditional lanterns, typically beveled glass panels in timeless metal frames, have clean lines and shapes. Most lanterns are crafted in this style. Explore the different metals and wall mounts. You may even want a hanging lantern for above your door. That will probably fall in the traditional style.

    Mason Jar Lanterns Courtesy of Blog.HGTV.com Mason Jar Lanterns Courtesy of Blog.HGTV.com

    Southern Charm: Would you believe that they actually make really nice lanterns out of …mason jars? They do. Southern style lanterns use punched tin and other rustic materials that conjure thoughts of the countryside. If you live in the South, or just wish you did, these creative lanterns may be just what you’re looking for.

    Beach Vibes Courtesy of HomeStoriesAtOZ.com Beach Vibes Courtesy of HomeStoriesAtOZ.com

    Beach Vibes: It’s common for someone to decorate their home like a beach condo, and certain lanterns contribute to this theme perfectly! White metals, rope detailing, driftwood, seashells, and sand are incorporated in some beach style lanterns. If you feel at home by the sea, let your guests know with one of the many ocean inspired lanterns.

    Modern: These are all about the geometric shapes and burnished metals. If you live in a traditional home these might not be for you, but this sleek style of lantern looks great by most front doors. On one end of the modern spectrum, the designs can be extremely simplistic, statement pieces. On the other end, the lanterns can be as complex as art sculptures. There is certainly something that will appeal to you in the modern style of lanterns.

    What matters most when selecting lanterns for your home is the house itself. Depending on its design you may be limited to a certain style, but get a second opinion. If you really like a certain style of lantern there’s probably a way to make it work. Lanterns are statement pieces. What kind of statement do you want your lighting to say to your guests?

  • How do I Decorate for a Backyard Bash?

    Summer is here! That likely means you’re planning some sort of dinner party, girl’s night, backyard bonfire, or barbeque. It is the prime season for hosting outdoor events, day and night, so it’s important that your home is ready for guests. The lighting is a key factor—the first thing your friends notice. French Market Lanterns enhance the curb appeal of your home 100 fold, but you may consider ditching your old pole lanterns for something more modern. Hanging lanterns flanking the entryway to your front door will cast a warm glow and give a comforting vibe from the get-go. Hanging lanterns provide a cleaner look to your home, while lanterns on poles can actually distract the eye.

    Backyard Mood Lighting Courtesy of Qominet.com Backyard Mood Lighting Courtesy of Qominet.com

    In the backyard, picture the patio lit with lanterns hanging from your pergola. It’s a creative way to create light, whether you use real candles or electric lights, and it’s a relatively hassle free project. Forget the expensive models that come already wired. Instead, buy lanterns fit for candles; they are much cheaper and better suited for this project. (There are even lanterns that look like mason jars on the market if you are aiming for a southern themed outdoor area.) I promise, you can’t even fathom the endless styles that are available for purchase. If your pergola is white wood, there are white wood options. If you’ve got a dark stained pergola, we’ve got black lanterns, brass lanterns, and pewter lanterns. The good news is you don’t need 15 lanterns because just a few strategically placed pieces will bring new charm to your outdoor area. You could also hang four lanterns, one near each post, if you prefer symmetry like I do.

    Garden Lantern Courtesy of Houzz.com

    If you already display lanterns on poles, I don’t need to convince you of their timeless charm. However, hanging lanterns accomplish everything the pole lanterns do but in an easy, carefree way. You can buy these things for less than ten dollars and completely transform your outdoor seating areas. It’s such a cheap do-it-yourself project, and you will love the results! The best part is your friends will be shocked when you tell them the lanterns were your pet project and not the work of a designer.

    So let’s recap. You’re looking for a summer project, and here it is. Give your yard, front and back, a serious reassessment. Is your patio unlit? Is your pergola void of hanging lanterns? Get to the hardware store and get yourself some hanging lanterns. Use candles and your electric bill won’t even spike! Lanterns may be trendy, but they are also stylish and style never goes out of fashion.

  • How are Lanterns used for Indoor Decorating?

    Candle Arrangements Candle Arrangements Courtesy of InteriorDesignArticle.com

    When you hear the word lantern I’ll bet your mind goes straight to the historic metal hanging lanterns that lit the streets before electricity. However, lanterns for décor purposes are back and they are more than just a passing trend—specifically used as table decorations. With a multitude of ways to display these wood and metal lanterns inside and outside your home, it’s a wonder they aren’t deemed ‘the new candelabra.’ While perfect for holding candles of all varieties— full sized pillar candles or tiny tea candles in different colors— these lanterns make great centerpieces for your table. Picture your formal dining room table; it most likely has a vase of flowers at its center, a truly timeless look, but also common. Replacing the bouquet with a glowing lantern, flanked by an array of candles brings a glow to the room and a charm to dinner parties. In addition to candles, these lanterns can hold seashells for a beach themed room or try filling it with sand or potpourri! You can even put that same bouquet inside the glass door and find your table completely transformed.

    Decorating the outside of the lanterns is another easy way to update your home with this decorative device. Twine roped around the base and handle provides great contrast to white wooden lanterns. Painting your standard black metal lantern silver or burnishing it until it gleams are quick alterations that make a lasting impression on guests.

    End tables are all too often neglected. They are treated as a place for your coffee cup and the remote control and not much else. Yet, they are a great place for a thin lantern with a colored tea candle. A candle spruces up any room, and a lantern takes a candle to the next level.

    Sometimes it’s not what’s inside the lantern, but rather what surrounds it that makes the difference. Nothing looks quite as nice as a circle of flowers at the base of your glass lantern. Experiment with lanterns on tables, and don’t think that because they were made to hang that they are pigeonholed to that display technique. A beautiful wintery look can be created by resting real mistletoe or clipped evergreen against the base of the lantern and filling it with fake snow piled around a cinnamon spice candle. For fall, try small gourds around the outside and reuse that same cinnamon spice candle.

    Fall Lanterns Courtesy of ImpartingGrace.com Fall Lanterns Courtesy of ImpartingGrace.com

    It’s all about the way you accessorize the lantern. Dried leaves are a wonderful touch (just avoid the open flame!). The wonderful thing about these lanterns is their versatility. They’re easy to move, hang, or place on a table, and if we’re considering their longevity, well, let’s just say they have some serious staying power.

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