Link to Home: Lighting A Revolution  


"Light up .. for cheerfulness"

Image: well-dressed woman and man standing in a doorway greet another man.
Blotter number 923; image number: LAR_B923.

Text on blotter reads:
"Light up .. for cheerfulness. A door flung wide; warm light from within to bid cheerful welcome—nothing so adds to a home's hospitality at do little cost as proper lighting."

... and at bottom:
"Agents for Edison Mazda Lamps, General Electric"
People attached great symbolic meaning to light long before the invention of electric lamps. This has been especially true in portraying domestic scenes: the romance of a candlelight dinner, the shared closeness of family and friends gathered around a fireplace hearth. Or, as seen in this blotter, the "cheerful welcome" conveyed by a "warm light from within." Whether used in art or advertising, lighting can evoke strong feelings of home.  

This blotter dates from the late 1920s or very early 1930s. The modern shape of the bulb shown (known in the industry as the "A-shape") came into use around 1925, and GE phased out the use of Edison's name after the inventor's death in 1931. A push to raise light levels is seen in most companies' ads in this era. This push, combined with the effects of the Great Depression, culminated in an industry-wide sales campaign called "Better Light - Better Sight" beginning in 1933. 

    For additional information about the symbolism of light see: 
  • Bernard S. Finn, "The Incandescent Electric Light," in Margaret Latimer, Brooke Hindle and Melvin Kranzberg, eds., "Bridge to the Future", Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 424, 1984. 
  • Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the

  • Nineteenth Century, trans., Angela Davies (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1988). 

Return to History Files First

To 19th
Century Hall
To 20th
Century Hall
Guest Lounge