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English Holophane Wall Lights Circa 1930s

Product code #OA2793

- Price is per light (8 available)
- Worldwide shipping
- All prices inc VAT
- All prices inc UK shipping
- Prismatic glass shades marked "Holophane England"
- Aluminium and copper shell
- Takes E27 fitting bulbs
- Wires directly into the wall feed
- English ~ 1930s
- 33cm tall x 26cm wide x 30cm deep


In 1893, the French engineer and physicist André-Eugène Blondel (1863-1938), with the help of a Greek engineer, Spyridon Psaroudaki, invented the prismatic lens lampshade, and started the Holophane Company of France, the word Holophane coming from the Greek 'holos' for whole, and 'phane' for light. The Holophane lampshade gave an even light by using the principle of a Fresnel lighthouse lens, the invention of which is credited to Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788-1827), a scientist and French commissioner for lighthouses, and was first used in 1823 at Cordouan in the Gironde estuary. Borosilicate glass was used, also known as Pyrex, which has a very low coefficient of thermal expansion making the lampshade very resistant to thermal shock and stress.

In 1896 a British company licensed Holophane's patent and started Holophane Ltd in the UK. In 1898 American businessman Otis Mygatt bought Holophane Ltd and started the Holophane Glass Company Inc, New York. At the outset, neither the USA nor UK company could manufacture the glass, so they started simply by marketing and selling the French product.

In 1902, Otis Mygatt arranged for Heisey Glasswork Co in Newark, Ohio, to start production of Holophane lampshades, which it continued to do until 1997. Mygatt's initiative came at a time when U.S. industry needed strong and efficient factory lighting to make night shifts possible and enable workers to fabricate precise parts requiring brightly lit conditions. In 1906 Holophane established the Illuminating Engineering Society to advance scientific lighting, a role it played into the 1990s.

For its English branch, Otis Mygatt teamed up with a French entrepreneur, Mr. Froget, specialising in the manufacture of moulds for the rubber industry to create a company in 1920 in Paris for the manufacture of moulds for glass which, by 1921, was producing lampshades in a glass plant in Les Andelys, between Rouen and Paris, where Holophane SA is still located.

Holophane comprised a U.S. entity, Holophane Glass Co Inc, with its own means of production for products in the United States, the UK Holophane Limited, with a worldwide sales territory excluding only the United States, without means of production, the Société Anonyme Holophane or Holophane SA, located on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, which managed the production at the English-owned factory in Les Andelys.

Condition Report

Re wired with modern electrical components, some patina to the metal parts

As with all of our products this product is an original piece and has lived a life before it arrived at Otto's HQ. It has been sympathetically restored by the Otto's team to ensure it has a life for many more years to come. All of our products will show signs of patina and cosmetic wear, this we believe is what gives our products their unique charm. If you have any further questions regarding the condition of this product or any others please don't hesitate to contact us and we'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.
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