by Jim Hoyle
To get to the true origin of the torchiere lamp, we have to go back a very long
way in history, all the way back to when our ancestors discovered fire. Yes our
beautiful torchiere lamps of today find their roots in an humble camp or cave
thousands of years ago.
Darkness, the absence of light, it is feared by humans today as it was long ago.
The absence of light is a very uneasy and vulnerable feeling for an animal whose
keenest sense is sight. Mankind has always desired to light up this darkness and
to do so as efficiently as possible. Sometime after our ancestors learned to
build fire they learned that an elevated fire provided more light than one
located on the ground, just as it does today. Organic materials were used on
wooden sticks then later oils from animal fats were added for increased
combustion. Vessels made of stone and clay were later created to hold the oils
and these were raised upon standards of wood or stone to provided a better light
source. With the discovery of metals, these were used in combination with stone
and clay as upright standards as well as vessels for the burning oils. These
were the true forerunners of torchiere lamps of today.
A torchiere lamp is any table or floor lamp whose light is directed upward by
means of a glass, metal, stone, plastic or other type of reflector. These lamps
take many forms and are made of many materials.
The word "Torchiere" is derived from the French word "Torche" torch.