Most notable for their bright green shades that cover intensive and glaring light from bulbs, Bankers lamps are originally named Emeralite, a short connotation for its emerald green colour and light. Its traditional form is composed of a translucent green shade fitted to a brass base, but it is now common to see Bankers lamps in different shades and bases in the market.
Bankers lamps are the regular lighting equipment for offices and study spaces. However, they’re also fitting lights in living rooms, dining areas, and hallways where many could admire its unique beauty and history. They’re often termed retro lamps due to the striking contrast between the base and shade colours.
They’re iconic pieces that remind us of the past and will continue to be magnificent lamps for many years to come.
The first batch of light bulbs back in the late 1800s gives off a very intensive glare, making it uncomfortable to look at. Employees that need light in accomplishing their detail-oriented daily tasks, such as accountants and telegraphers, find it hard to concentrate on their works due to the regular eyestrain brought by this intense light.
Using green glasses is the solution that most people discovered to alleviate this problem. It was a widespread belief at that time thatgreen shades could lessen the glare of the light that comes to the eyes. Hence, green visors and eyeglasses with green shades are popular work accessories for those who constantly use the light from the bulbs. However, many find it troublesome to wear them all the time to block excessively light.
It was the American inventor and engineer Harrison D. McFaddin who found a way to shield glaring light from the lighting equipment itself. His emerald-coloured glass shades suited to a lamp was patented under the Emeralite name in 1909. Emeralite, the brand name of these lamps whose shades were manufactured by the J. Schreiber & Neffen glass factory, became a notable commodity to industries and households alike.
Later on, many industries craved this lamp in their work environments. In particular, many banks have Emeralite on their work desks in the olden days. Libraries, lawyer’s offices, and government buildings followed the trend, and when everyone was using it together with the glaring bulbs, it became popularly known as the Bankers lamps.
Bankers Lamps Designs
Authentic Bankers lamps produced by McFaddin's company, the H.G. McFaddin & Co., were operated through a pull-chain switch. The lampshades in these lights have a soothing green exterior colour and a white interior tone. The lampstand and base are made with shiny brass, formed into a sleek form that brings elegance to office desks. The shade and the pillar are connected through two holes on each side of the shade. These lamps have few to no ornamentations as their primary purpose was to shine light without distracting its user from pompous decorations.
The next version of the Bankers lamps eliminated the holes on the shades. Instead, the lampstand and the shade are clamped internally, making it easier for workers to detach the shade when cleaning the lamp. It gave off a seamless look that many recognized as the Bankers lamps' current forms.
For years, the public craved this appearance of the Bankers lamp. Hence, no alterations to the design were made. Instead, what changed was the size of the lights. From the original less-than-nine-inch desk lamp or table lamp size, McFaddin's company produced 10-inch and 12-inch variations. Furthermore, with the demands to conserve materials due to the wars, the pure brass base included iron into its repertoire of materials for an added weight effect while cutting material usage.
Later on, with changes in the ownership and company policy, shades and bases made from different metals and coated in various colours were launched under the new company name, Emeralite Company Inc. More decorative versions were sold in the market, and many other companies introduced their versions of the Bankers lamps. The designs persisted until this decade, when the resurgence of retro styles plagued the current international lamp market.
Shop Bankers Lamps at Zest Lighting
“A lighting system (using standard Mazda bulbs) designed to protect eyes by eliminating glare and improving quality of light” is the pitch used to describe the appeal of Bankers lamps. The tagline “green comforts the eye” became the reason why many seek these eccentric lamps. However, although science dictates that the colour green is one of the easiest colours to spot, many ophthalmologists say that it does not help prevent or reduce eye strain. Still, even with this belief busted, the consumers’ and lamp enthusiasts’ love for Bankers lamps has never ceased up to this day.
Zest Lighting invites our valuable customers to browse our lovely collection of Bankers lamps. Our team of lamp advisors carefully selected each piece, bringing only the best in quality and style to our lighting repertoire.
We are an online lighting boutique whose aim is to offer reasonably-priced designer lights that remain faithful to art styles of the past and current eras. We carefully check each lamp before sending them out straight to your doors all over Australia, with no shipping costs to selected capital cities and their surrounding states.
Our collection of Bankers lamps ranges from the most basic designs imitating the original Bankers desk and table lamps to the enormous floor standing lamps with iconic bright green shades. Browse our lighting assembly and see if any of our Bankers lamps, the lights that stood the test of time, catch your eye.