The history of a chandelier
Part of the knowledge base about chandeliers.
The 9th Century
The word chandelier comes from the French word Chandelle. A chandelle means candle. The first chandeliers were made very simple and date from the 9th century. It was built as two wooden beams forming a cross, with spikes at the end to retain candles made of animal fat.
This type of chandelier was first used in churches. Later also in castles.
Illustration of a 9th century chandelier
The 15th Century
Over the centuries, the chandelier was further refined and derivatives of the 9th century model were created.
It was in the 15th century that the large, luxurious, spacious, refined models that we still know today were created. Often used as a status symbol. After all, anyone who could afford a chandelier was rich. They wanted to radiate that. These are heavy copper chandeliers. We still see these today in historical churches. These copper chandeliers often had many arms with a candle holder. The old wooden chandelier still hung in ordinary households.
Copper chandelier in the 15th century
The 18th Century
In the 18th century, the development of the chandelier continued. More and more use was made of materials that were available at that time. The most luxurious chandeliers were made in the Venetian Murano. In this ancient period, people were looking for opportunities to produce crystal glass in a cheap way. This increased the popularity of the chandelier. Lead crystal and cutting techniques to make crystal sparkle are also created in this century. It is Daniel SWAROVSKI who is partly responsible for the development of the crystal during this time. Candles are still used in this 18th century.
The 19th Century
The biggest changes take place in the 19th century. Because there is suddenly power, the candles are replaced by light bulbs. Crystal developers are also discovering the technique of glass blowing. This makes the models even more beautiful and diverse. Electric chandeliers become the standard. In this century a distinction arises between the French chandelier, Empire model and the Viennese style, Maria Theresa chandelier. Chandeliers are becoming affordable and accessible to everyone.
The future of a chandelier in the 2oth and 21th Century
Chandeliers continue to develop in the 20th century. Manufacturers are emerging in China who build replicas at low prices. It is also the 20th century that a company is founded that rent out chandeliers. Willem van der Voort and Michel van Dolderen still rent out chandeliers.