A HUNDRED YEARS AGO, torches illuminated outdoor festivities, but the grounds around homes were otherwise unlit. The earliest exterior lighting was designed exclusively for use on sheltered porches, and most original fixtures, although shielded from direct exposure to the elements, were short-lived. As time went on, fewer replacements were produced.
Recently, however, better exterior wiring and increased demand for these anachronous treasures have led to their renaissance. Even vintage outdoor lamps with gas globes, pierced tin hoods and Mission-style lantern shades are being rebuilt with moisture-resistant components.
Many stores now stock reproductions of the ever-popular coach lantern for walls, ceilings and posts. Most romantic are graceful replicas of Victorian street lamps with big, luminous globes. Constructed of weather-proof cast aluminum and shatter-proof translucent plastic, they are made and sold by a growing number of companies in single-, double- and even quintuple-globe designs.
Antique and reproduction lighting can be found at Ray Ferra’s Iron Accents in Los Angeles , La Forge Lighting in Woodland Hills, De Baun Lighting in San Marino, Venice Victorians in Santa Monica, and Canterbury Designs in Sherman Oaks. The Abaroot Manufacturing Co. of Torrance makes lampposts.