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Early American
A broad period in the design of American architecture and decorative arts from the 16th to the early 18th centuries. The designs were plain and based on utility foremost and the style was taken from English Jacobean and William and Mary styles.
Egg and Dart
A decorative motif from classical antiquity consisting of ovoid or egg shapes alternating with dart-like points.
Electric Lighting
Starting in the 1880s with Edison’s electric lamp, lighting fixture designers began taking their cues from the new technology’s requirements and freedoms. Power could be delivered to the bulb by wires threaded through chains, in tubes, tied on to glass arms, etc. The light was initially dim and early electric power fixtures orient bare bulbs radially as well as pointing directly down. As bulbs became brighter and new forms of bulbs emerged, lighting designers could vary the aesthetics of the fixture to the program of the space; lighting fixture design became uncoupled from the limitations of candle, oil, or gas fuels. The 1920s began a design inquiry into the nature of light as a medium where we see the fixture recede to pure function and literally disappear into the ceiling. Alongside this development, designers treated the decorative aspect of electric fixtures, themselves emblematic of modernity, with streamlined details, reductive or stripped applied detail, and planar surfaces.
Embossing
A process of stamping, hammering or molding a material so that a design is registered in the surface.
Empire
A period of Neoclassical design during the reign of Napoleon from 1804 10 1814. Greek, Roman, and Egyptian motifs were widely used. The style appeared in America primarily in the work of Duncan Phyfe.
Enamel
A colored vitreous glaze used to decorate metal and ceramic surfaces. It becomes hard and permanent after firing. Some hard-drying glossy paints are colloquially referred to as enamels.
Engraving
A method of producing a design with shallow cuts made by fine grinding wheels or by hardened steel scratching tools (in glass or metal).