Starting in 1760, the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom gave rise to the invention of machines and the creation of factories—setting the world on a path to mass production. And although these bleak industrial spaces were far from stylish, the simple, utilitarian aesthetic that grew from these humble roots has developed into a beloved design trend.
As a style, "Industrial" actually refers more to function than a time period—and the popularity of the look has led to increased demand for vintage pieces that originate from factory and warehouse settings around the world, as well as reproductions crafted to reference this weathered look. It is a style that translates perfectly into the world of lighting—function and utility are key, and the design focuses more on efficiency than ornamentation. It is also one of our favorite categories, Industrial lighting is well-represented throughout our collection by both original vintage pieces and modern pieces inspired by them, with styles that offer a sturdy sense of being and add character to any space.
All of our Antiques & Vintage lighting is carefully sourced by our very knowledgeable Antiques & Vintage team and pieces are fully restored and rewired in our Portland, Oregon Antiques & Vintage shop as needed.“Vintage Industrial lights work as hard as the people they serve,” explains our Furniture + Antiques & Vintage Divisions Buyer, Kamissa Mort. “By incorporating the technologies of the day like enamel reflectors, prismatic lenses and articulating armatures, Industrial lighting maximizes and focuses light. The added bonus is that these pieces always look their age—their character and patina are testaments to their use and authenticity." Here we highlight some of our favorite Industrial lighting looks—both old and new—from our collection.
It is easy to imagine these 1950s vintage Industrial pendants with gray enamel shades adding a focused source of light to a utilitarian factory setting, however, now they just as easily provide some personality and directed light over the island in this modern open kitchen.
A vintage Industrial gooseneck lamp is always a classic choice to layer light into the corner of any home or office setting.
“The prismatic shade, originally there to provide an explosion proof safety element," explains Manager of our Antiques & Vintage Division, Josh Bond, "Now, it helps to soften the light and add another layer of texture to the pendant. The steel cage is intact and continues to add protection to the shade while also adding to the industrial aesthetic.” Here several of these striking circa 1950s Industrial pendants with a vapor-proof lens add character and a rich, warm patina to this neutral modern kitchen. These lights were sourced and restored by our Antique & Vintage team last spring and are now available for purchase.
Designer, design influencer, and cookbook author, Melissa Coleman @thefauxmartha uses one of our vintage Industrial pendants in her Minneapolis kitchen. Design & photo credit @thefauxmartha
Salvaged from a European factory in the 1960s, this spun copper pendant was restored by our Antiques & Vintage team before finding its forever home as the focal point over the bar area at the Captain Whidbey Inn, located on Whidbey Island, Washington.
These vintage Industrial pendants with a white porcelain enamel shade have a stylish modern look that pairs perfectly with a barebulb chandelier from our Altona collection, a style that is inspired by the iconic midcentury Sputnik chandeliers from the 1960s.
In addition to our many handpicked, original vintage pieces, our designers are also inspired by vintage classics to create modern lighting with character and a timeless feel. Our Hood pendant is a reproduction of a factory light from 1915, and each one is assembled-to-order at our Portland factory.
Our Tolson Cage Wall Sconce references a classic Industrial maritime design while adding a sense of polished refinement to this vintage-inspired bathroom.
The Carson collection is one of our most beloved styles, the Carson Cord Pendant in copper fits perfectly into this industrial modern kitchen setting. With a slim black cord and a shiny copper shade, it has the same rustic industrial look of our popular outdoor warehouse fixtures, but is specifically for indoor use.
Based on early electric street lights and industrial brackets from the turn of the 20th century, the Carson retains all of the authentic details that made warehouse lights both functional and beautiful. Built to last, and available in multiple color choices and customizable bases—follow our guide to customizing Carson to your space.