History Articulated: The Reed

While we’ve offered swing-arm fixtures for some time now, such as the Turner, Halfway, Bend, and Ford’s Mill, our Reed is distinguished by its unusual degree of articulation – three adjustable knuckles PLUS a swivel joint at the canopy allow for an unparalleled range of motion.

Articulating fixtures were a mainstay in early industrial settings, and numerous manufacturers had catalogs chock full of all the lighting components needed to make designs tailored for any given task – sockets, swivel joints, threaded tubes, canopies, shades, and such. The Reed is typical of an assembly that would have been created from these standard parts.

Check out this slideshow for a little more background on the Reed and other adjustable fixtures like it:

The Reed is inspired by multi-knuckle swinging wall brackets like this Faries Model 3325 from 1920.

Faries not only sold finished fixtures, but lighting components, too. This page shows parts offered by Faries in its catalogs 26 and 27, from around 1918 to 1920. To make the Reed, we took a similar approach, using common parts to create our own authentic version of a Faries-type fixture.

Faries took pride in a straightforward knuckle joint, made by simply cutting and reshaping a piece of brass tubing. We build the Reed’s joint the same way, substituting wing nuts for the knob-and-T-handle assembly to make adjustment easier on the fingers.

In 1920, Faries even offered an 8-inch cone shade, just like ours. (There weren’t as many great colors and finishes to choose from back then, though.)

An articulated light on the job. You could use the Reed in a similar fashion today (though the typing is probably a lot quieter).

This page from Faries in 1920 shows an articulated lamp on the right much like the Reed, adapted to clamp onto the pipe-legs of an adding machine stand. Perhaps not as much call for this application today?

A close-up of the previous page shows that articulated lights weren’t just for workplaces. Their ability to get light where it was needed made them useful at home as well. For instance, when settling down for an evening’s edification.

On the less industrial side, articulating lights have always been popular as reading lights for bedrooms. These examples are from Faries, and show how fixtures evolved to work on the specific types of beds popular at any given time (in this case around 1920).

Faries was certainly not the only company making articulated work lights – though they are one of our favorites. In fact, these fixtures were quite common. Most were differentiated (and avoided patent issues) by using proprietary joints or knuckles, like the Adjustable Fixture Company example above, from 1923.