If you’ve ever been camping or away from the bright lights of the city or town in which you live, you know how pitch-black the nights can be, especially with a new moon. Since ancient times, fire has been the main source of lighting at night. However, as you know, without fuel for the fire, it dies out. Once humans began to spend more and more time in homes, the need for indoor lighting became great. So before the invention of the light bulb by Thomas Edison in 1879, how did humans bring fire indoors? Brighter Homes Lighting Gallery, with showrooms in both Salem and Eugene, Oregon, will explore the history of the lamp in this blog post.


Humans brought light indoors since the advent of fire, using little shells or rocks with moss soaked in animal fat — not very efficient, but it worked. Since then, lamps have been made out of every kind of available natural material that would hold light effectively without burning, including terra cotta by the ancient Greeks in the 7th century BC, marble, and metal. Torches were still in use. Candles were used as early as the 4th century in ancient Egypt. Soon, oil became the preferred fuel because it burned longer, which brought about what we think of as the lamp. A wick was added to focus the flame and make the indoor lighting last longer.

It turns out it was the fuel that dictated the lamp style. When kerosene was discovered in the 19th century and applied to lamps, the container was a glass globe with a wick to hold the kerosene safely without igniting the entire fuel store. In the latter part of the 18th century, coal gas became available for use that was transported by pipes to fixed lamps in the people’s homes. Most cities in Europe and the United States began implementing street lamps that were powered with gas as well and eventually by electricity for outdoor lighting. Thomas Edison changed the realm of possibility with his incandescent light bulb. Benjamin Franklin is usually credited with the discovery of electricity, but humans have known about electricity for centuries. Early power stations were around since the 1870s that used electricity to power homes and power indoor lighting.

Once the fundamentals of light bulbs and electricity were nailed down, people began to concentrate on the container that held a light bulb — the lamp. Truthfully, the Industrial Revolution, by easing the burden on humans to produce every essential item needed for survival, afforded man the time to tinker — and to make lamps for indoor lighting.


In the showrooms of Brighter Homes Lighting Gallery in Salem and Eugene, you’ll see every style of modern lamp. The light bulb made light easily containable and portable, which you’ll see on display in the wide variety of lamp types we carry, from table lamps to floor lamps, living room lamps, and desk lamps. In our modern era, lamps are no longer just for indoor lighting — they are also a fundamental piece of your room’s decor and expresses a lot about you. To shield you from the intensity of the light bulb, light shades were invented, another fun and delightful way to express yourself. If you’re looking for the best indoor lighting and lamps for your home or business, contact Brighter Homes Lighting Gallery today!