14.Feb.2011 Luminaires et al.

City Lights by Jakle arrived a few days ago and I’m clipping through it.  A very good introduction and overview to lighting technology, especially early lighting technology.  The thesis seems to be that streetlight engineering has been co-opted by the automobile establishment at the expense of Place (i.e. the unique sense of place that varied lighting can produce).  That’s what it seems like so far.

I also liked Jakle’s explanation of luminaire, which appears to be used in practice with some ambiguity:

In a broad sense, the term luminaire can refer to both the street lamp as light source and to its support and enclosure.  My focus is on the lamp surround.  In this narrower use of the word, the luminaire directs the light as it supports and protects the lamp, connecting the lamp to its energy source.  Luminaire design and positioning represented the very essence of streetlight application.

City Lights at 97.  The book seems light (ha, no pun intended) on more recent luminaires, like the Cobraheads.

Got me to wondering about the history of Cobrahead design — in more detail than just that GE and Westinghouse introduced similar models about the same time in the 50s.  Is another Quest in order?  Perhaps there was some sort of Chrysler-Empire State building like arms race between the two companies.

Coming soon, a New Pioneer field trip to try and originate some of our own photos for the Handbook.  I’m not crazy about using third party photos.  Been waiting for the weather to turn, perhaps toward the end of the month?

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