The word chandelier originated from “Chandelle” which is a French word that means “candle holder”. The word chandelier is synonymous with ornate decorative lights that hang from ceilings. Today they serve primarily as decorations in high ceiling rooms rather than an actual lighting fixture as it was originally intended to be many years ago. The ideas made in the making of chandeliers today has not changed much over the chandelier’s 500 year history even though modern technology contributed to some major changes in its construction.
Early chandeliers were used mainly in churches, abbeys and large gathering places. They are costly to make as such it is only natural that only the wealthy can afford it. The first chandeliers came into existence during the 14th century. The design was simple: two wooden beams are attached together to form a cross and then added with a spike at each end to hold the candle. Though the original chandeliers were not as ornate and intricate as today’s designs, the ideas and element of classiness were already present in the making of early chandeliers.
A Bit of History of the Chandelier
Over the course of the centuries, the materials and production techniques used in the construction of chandeliers have improved. As a result, chandeliers have become more ornate and intricate. From the original plain wood, chandelier designers experimented with metal, crystal and glass.
Thus in time, chandeliers have quickly evolved into a form of fine art. It is generally regarded by everyone as a symbol of status because of its commanding presence in large rooms and hallways, but also by their impressive design and intricacy as well.
During early 1800s, gas fuel has become the standard for lighting. This led designers to create the “gasoliers.” Though the intricate designs and lighting functions were still the same, the huge difference between gas and average candles at the time has led to the new name. During this time, many existing chandeliers were then converted to use gas as fuel instead of the normal candles. This was a trend that continued on until the invention of electricity which eventually replaced gas fuel.
In time, chandelier designs have continued to become bigger and more extravagant. In these designs, the purpose of illumination has become a secondary emphasis. However, many modern designs have returned to the more simplistic “function over form” mentality. Nevertheless, chandeliers continued to enthrall today’s rich and famous and they can always be seen in their homes as a form of centerpiece lighting art in their mansions.