The first decorative lampshades appeared in the 1800's. The Victorian and Edwardian periods provided lampshades that were very romantic. The decorative printed cloth and use of beads, lace, and fringe provided a wide array of colourful and ornate designs. The use of glass and plastic paper for decorative lampshades followed.
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Victorian and Edwardian Periods
Miller and Sherwood were two companies that sold exquisite decorated lampshades during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The fabric motifs included a Japanese, floral or animal print. The lamps were adorned with such items as beads, fringes and lace. Many of the lampshades were pleated.
Miller and Sherwood also produced glass decorative lampshades. Although these lampshades did not have as much character as the cloth, many can still be found today.
1920's and 1930's
Art Nouveau and Art Deco lampshades dominated the period between 1920 and 1930. The emphasis went from fabric lampshades to glass. Tiffany glass was very popular during this time. Several companies that sold decorative lampshades during the 1920's and 1930's include Lightolier, Handel and Crucet. Fabric lampshades could still be purchased but were not as ornate as the glass.
1940's to 1960's
Paper plastic lampshades became popular between 1940 and 1960. Decorate lampshades were replaced with an easier to clean and cheaper version. Lamps and lampshades went into mass production during this period. Lamps were purchased for use in multiple rooms in the house. Lamps stood on the floor, were used on tables and placed on shelves. Miniature lamps were created. The new paper plastic lampshades appeared on porcelain, onyx, glass, alabaster, jade and pressed metal bases.
Saving the Past
Over the past decade, creating beautiful lampshades has become a hobby. Old frames are covered with new material. Fabric, photos, plastic sheeting, poster board and many other mediums are now used to create unique personalised lampshades. Adornments are added to the homemade lampshade to create an individualised piece. Beads, sequence, lace, ribbon, fringe, photographs, drawings, and glue are some of the items used.
The basic construction of a lampshade is completed by measuring the diameter and the circumference of the lampshade frame. The measurements are used to determine the amount of material needed to cover the outside of the frame. The lampshade frame is wrapped with seam binding, ribbon, cording or tape to cover the bare wire and used to attach the material for the lampshade. The material is cut and attached to the frame using thread, glue, hot glue, wire and/or soldering. Adornments are added to the lampshade after the cover has been added to the frame.
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