Glass lampshades became popular the instance they were instantly loved when they were introduced thanks to the fact that they were literally a lifesaver compared to the oil lamps that came before. Oil lamps posed a grave threat to lives they were a fire hazard that could easily burn down a whole house if they were overturned. Because of this threat, glass lampshades were invented and today they are more for ornamental and aesthetic use since we don’t use oils for light anymore.
The first glass lamps were designed to look like vases. They were clear in color and very functional. There wasn’t very much of a decorative flare to it. It wasn’t until much later that colored and stained glass lampshades were invented.
In the 19th century, oil lamps weren’t that popular anymore. People were now turning to gas lamps. Gas lamps were brighter then and they served their purpose well. The problem here is, although gas lamps were much brighter, they also produce a lot of glare. The glare from the light bothers our eyes so we need to make the glare a bit muted. Lampshade glass underwent changes. People started to paint the clear glass with colors.
Tiffany’s and other companies started do something that no one else thought about by changing the image of the plain and conventional glass lampshade. They started to produce products in different shapes, colors and sizes. No longer was the humble item dull and uninteresting as they were painted with nature motifs, abstract designs, fruit, flower and landscape scenes. The new painted lamps were a sure crowd pleaser.
Glass lampshades built before are now collectors item. They are much sought-after even before they were antiques. Tiffany lamp shades can run you an easy 500,000 US dollars. They are exceptionally pricey since they are one of a kind and painted by the masters themselves. You certainly don’t have to own a million dollars to own one of them though as a regular one can cost you around $50 at your local department store or if you’re more adventurous, buy yours at your nearest flea market.