The oil lamp appeared at a very early date, accompanied by the candle held in a candlestick or candelabra, and was in wide use up until the 18th C. During the 18th C the homes of the rich were lit by chandeliers which became increasingly decorative with the developpement of the glass industry towards the end of the century. In the early 19th C the petrol lamp was massed produced and in the mid-19th C the gas lamp appeared. The gas lamp was mainly used in street lighting and in public buildings.
The arrival of electricity deeply modified lighting at the end of the 19th C. At the same time ornate glass lamp shades appeared, and lamps such as the Art Nouveau lamp became decorative items as well as being functional. These lamps are highly collectible as are those of the Art Deco period with their angular lines and squared glass. Vintage lamps of the 1950s in ceramic and plaster are inexpensive fun items and the large industrial lamp is sought after for lighting lofts.