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Backplate
A backplate is any of a variety of forms and styles of decorative points-of-attachment for a sconce to a wall,. Common forms are ovals, hemispheres, shields, etc. Since the advent of gas and electric services run in walls, the backplate has taken on the role of covering the service junction box.
Ball
A spherical or ovoid body. In a baroque chandelier column, the ball is commonly the focal point and single largest element.
Ballast
An electrical device used with fluorescent or LED lamps to supply sufficient voltage to start and operate the lamp but then to limit the current during operation.
Baluster
Turned vase-shaped vertical post supporting the rail of a staircase. Also known as a spindle.
Banding
A thin metal strip, usually with pierced or embossed decoration, wrapped around a glass or contrasting metal substrate.
Baroque
A style of architecture, art, and decoration lasting from approximately 1625 to 1750 whose hallmarks are curvilinear details, highly sculptural, active surfaces, theatrical effects in architecture that act independently of structure, asymmetry, and rich materials. Common motifs include bold, deep, opposing “C” scrolls, bulbous elaborate profiles in turnings and mouldings, spiral columns, and naturalistic, if over-ripe foliate details.
Basaltware
Dark, opaque porcelain invented by Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795).
Base
A base or lamp-base is the broad, weighted foot of a table or floor lamp that sits on the table surface or floor.
Bellflower
A foliate motif usually consisting of small two or three lobed flowers, often graduated in size, arrayed in a garland.
Bent Glass
Flat glass that is heated in a kiln until it becomes plastic and slumps into or over a mold to produce curved, volumetric shapes. Also known as slumped glass.
Bevel
The edge of any flat surface that has been cut at a sharp angle to the larger plane surface.
Beveled Glass
Glass having the edges cut back at an angle to the main plane surface.
Billiard Light
The billiard light was developed to evenly illuminate the large rectangular playing surface of a billiard table. Billiard lights are commonly designed with three or more downward-reflecting shades arrayed along a horizontal bar.
Blackamoor
African figures used in decorative arts as busts, hermes, or other elements. Usually dressed with exaggerated Arabic or African costume, they sometimes represent one of the four continents (The Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia).
Blaze Hole
In glass-making, the opening in the furnace through which the flame passes.
Blown Glass
Glass that is made on a blowpipe. The glass blower gathers molten glass on the end of his blowpipe, then blows air into a molten ball of glass, creating a bubble. This ball is then inflated, elongated, patterned, etc. to suit the designers need.
Bobeche
A shallow dish originally used for catching wax drips. It is located either directly on top of the candle cup or directly below the candle cup (or both). See also "Waxpan".
Body
The body is the central element of a chandelier, of almost any shape or style, from which the arms radiate. See also "Column".
Bollard
A bollard light is a type of exterior light fixture that mounts to the top of a pier or post. See also "Pier-mount Light".
Bowl
The glass or alabaster lens of an indirect light fixture.
Brass
An yellow-gold alloy of approximately 70% copper and 30% zinc. Brass is somewhat cold-workable, though it has brittle, work-hardening qualities. There are tens of common brass alloys, each with divergent uses and workability characteristics. Brass can be polished to a mirror-level reflective surface. Brass is highly corrosion-resistant though it does oxidize from light brown to black, in dry interior settings, to bright green in exterior settings. To complicate things, some brasses are called bronzes in trade name and industrial convention. Brass can be cast, rolled into sheets, turned on a lathe, hammered at room-temperature into shapes, etc.
Bridge-Arm Lamp
A bridge arm lamp is a type of table or floor lamp having a cantilevered arm that holds the shade and socket. The arm is often pivotable as well as height-adjustable.
Bronze
A yellow-orange alloy of approximately 90% copper and 10% tin. Bronze is quite cold-workable, with minor work-hardening qualities. There are hundreds of common bronze alloys, each with divergent uses and workability characteristics. Bronze can be polished to a mirror-level reflective surface. Bronze is highly corrosion-resistant though it does oxidize from light brown to black, in dry interior settings, to bright green in exterior settings. Though bronze is most famous for it’s superior flow and finish in casting processes, it can also be rolled into sheets, turned on a lathe, hammered at room-temperature into shapes, etc.
Bronze d'Ore
French for "gilded bronze". The term commonly means bronze with an ornamental coating of gold leaf, gold electroplating, fire-gilding, or other surface application of real or imitation gold.
Bulb
A light source within a glass housing. See also "Lamp".
Burning fluid
A mixture of alcohol and turpentine, used as lamp fuel in the 19th century. Dangerously explosive, it was replaced by kerosene in the late 1850s.
Burnish
A process used to brighten metal by rubbing it with another harder metal. Gold foil is burnished by rubbing it with steel tools having polished ball-shaped ends.