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The purpose of the two fingers which extend from the horizontal box surrounding each socket and hiding the light source, was to engage square blocks attached to the pole (and often painted red)---Wright's clever means of making the box easily removable, and secure when in place. Others have used those fingers differently---or ignored their use without omitting them from the design, as Don Lovness did in the twinned pole lamps he built for the Studio and the Cottage.
Simon Clay photo
Norman McGrath photo
A fixture offered by a Japanese maker of fine reproductions of Wright fixtures shows a double-pole version in which the fingers penetrate rectangular holes in the poles---a more labor-intensive method of holding the boxes, if one not as easily able to keep the boxes level unless the fit between the fingers and their holes is exceedingly precise ? I do not know if the prototype for this version can be found in Wright, though I have to assume that it does if Yamagiwa is making it.
In that version some extra verticals are introduced, whose purpose seems to be to support the horizontal light baffles between the boxes. In Gordon's fixture these would be redundant, as he has used the lower pair of box fingers to attach each baffle. Neat !
So, a 1933 drawing, a 1933 photo, and a 1992 Pedro Guerrero photograph, all showing (if vaguely, or distantly) a version of the fixture. In addition, we have Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer's description of the new space (p 232 of Taschen Complete Works II):
" One of the most delightful features was the long, pendant lights that hung down from the high ceiling above. Composed of horizontal slats of dark-stained oak projecting from wooden boxes, they emitted a soft, indirect light, almost the quality of candlelight."
photo © Pedro Guerrero
He mentions Wright being away, this must be 1953 or 1954 he was given the task to rebuilt and install the lamp that was damaged in the fire.
He said Jack Howe showed him what to do down in the basement shop. Jack had built the original lamp, but Bob's woodworking skills were well known by the Fellowship.
He talks about the first time he flipped the switch turning it on the the dark shop. He said it was one of the most beautiful things he had ever seen.
He eventually built a full scale copy for his home in California, and a half size version that was above his dining table. That one was returned to Bob's house several years ago.
In all cases the three-sided light boxes terminate in a pair of "fingers"; these, or the sides of the boxes, are notched into (as opposed to penetrating) the thin secondary verticals. In the theater fixtures these boxes do penetrate the primary supports, however. In the dining room pendants, the box sides are notched into the diamond-section primary support.
"Pendant lights D.R."
"Dining Room Light"
A drawing of cabinetry in the Hillside drafting room, also from 1933, contains instances of paired vertical boards reminiscent of those in the Theater Chandelier drawings:
Such a fixture is seen in photos of the dining area of the Taliesin residence. A 1992 color photo by Pedro Guerrero shows the fixture, which is attached to the rail of the datum above the table and depends to a surface at table height. Photos taken by Guerrero in 1952 do not show this fixture. One would like to know when and where the first such fixture appeared in a Wright building, as a fixed light source or as a movable lamp.