Why are Vintage Marine Lamps So Popular?
You may have seen the old style nautical marine lamps popping up around Australia lately, often they’ll be decorative items in the houses for sale (obviously a few real estate agents have bought these in Sydney and are using them to kit out home for sale!).
The vintage marine or nautical lamp has been very popular and forms a mainstay of many chic apartments, offices and home around Australia and globally.
What is a Marine Lamp?
These are typically 1900-1940 style spotlight or messaging lamps that used to be used on military and commercial transport ships. They were usually high powered with one or more high-intensity light bulbs and a mirrored back to help focus the light. Naval and commercial ships particularly during the two world wars were a critical transport chain between Europe, UK, US and Asia. During the pre-1940s most ships still navigated by sight as radio was unreliable and radar only started to be used late in WWII mainly for aircraft.
Using lights and high powered lamps allowed ships to search the within a short distance from the ship but more importantly were used for messaging between vessels. Messaging was typically conducted using more code and standard phrases.
The Modern Nautical Lamp – The Vintage Trend
There’s a vintage and retro trend sweeping Australia and the world now – inspired by shows like Mad Men there’s a return to old style furniture and décor pieces. From Scandinavian couches to old industrial machine parts lighting has seen a great leap towards the industrial and the vintage style lately. We are seeing a lot of industrial era light covers and the marine lamps and spotlights are just an element of this trend.
Lighting however is a perfect element to adapt for vintage and retro as one it’s an easy addition to a room or office. You can still style the space with a modern interior design or decorative theme and then add in a retro style lamp right at the end.
Why Marine Lamps?
Marine lamps I think are a particularly easy addition to generally plain décor rooms or minimalist styled houses – the marine lamps are strong looking and add a clear sense of a previous time that has gone now – the marine lamps are both powerful and clear-cut decorative items that can suit many styles and spaces.
Genuine vs Replica
Of course most of the marine lamps you see around now are in fact replicas – there aren’t that many of the original marine lamps around and they are quite heavy and would need to have been retrofitted to work with household lamps (not to mention they’d also need to work with local Australian voltage of 240V). However there’s a huge abundance of look-alike lamps from the larger head height lamps that would suit a large room or the smaller desk lamp style. Most are designed around the tripod three-legged style that does enhance the industrial feel.
When is a Nautical Lamp Not so Appropriate for Home Décor
Not every space or home would suit having a large industrial style lamp as a centrepiece – generally spaces that are Baroque or have ‘pretty’ styling are on the opposite end of the decorative spectrum to the vintage industrial and a large tripod nautical lamp would look imposing and out of place! The best sort of spaces that suit the industrial look are modern, minimalist, Japanese (because it looks minimalist in any case!) or the work studio look.