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Lighting History

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by supertechie1, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. supertechie1

    supertechie1 Member

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    Well here is a lighting history question for all of you lighting professionals. I'm working on some research dealing with lighting in the theatre before the use of the current tungsten-halogen lamp that we commonly use today. I know the topic is really broad, and I'm working on narrowing it down to a more specific area, but does anyone have any suggestions for places i could look at to get get more information. Books, Websites, Videos, etc would be great!

    Since the topic is so broad I've been lately concentrating on the use of gas lighting in early theatre's. Any suggestions for sources for more information?

    I'm not concentrating on types of early instruments but rather types of lamps used. Although i understand that the type of lamp used would dictate the instrument type, so I'm open to instrumentation information also but that is not my main focus.

    Thanks for the Help!!
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Not to be a smart-alex, but I'd perhaps start by typing "stage lighting history" into ControlBooth's search engine.
     
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  3. supertechie1

    supertechie1 Member

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    Hey thanks. I dont know why but i didn't even think about using the search engine, i feel like an idot. Theres some good stuff there, i particularly like the lighting history museum website. Thanks again.
     
  4. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hmm, gas lights don't use lamps persay. Not sure where your research is headed, how broad it has gone or where it is leading you to in focus. On the other hand, I might recommend in framing this research into the Iroquois Theater disaster of 1903. Book "Tinder Box" by Hatch, "The Iroquois Theater fire of 1903" by Brandt, Brandt's "Chicago Death Trap", and Freeman's "On the Safeguarding of Life in Theaters" would be a good start. This fire by way of an arc lamp not so well tended it would seem, still it will set you into the change over between lighting types.

    As with various research into Craig, Jones and Appia. Fuchs "Stage Lighting" masterwork of course amongst other books to look towards. Fulchs especially amongst other authors such as McCandless "Glossary of Stage Lighting", Schroeder's "History of Electric Light", Vernon's "Theater Lighting - Past and Present", Boulanger's "Theater Lighting from A to Z", Benthan's "The Art of Stage Lighting", Appia's "Die Musik und die Inscenierung", Graves "Lighting the Shakespearean Stage", McCandless "A Method of Lighting the Stage", McCandless "Syllabus for Lighting the Stage", Williams "Technique of Stage Lighting", Penzel's "Theatre Lighting Before Electricity", Bryan's "American Theatrical Regulation, 1607-1900: Conpects and Texts", Flynn's "Architectural Lighting Graphics", Cheney's "The Art of Theater", Cooper's "Designing the Play", Gamble's "The Development of Scenic Art and Stage Machinery", Nicoll's "The Development of the Theater", Lavre's "Drama, It's Costume and Decor", Books about Craig such as by Innes, Waine's "Effects for Theater", Brook's "The Empty Space" while not as much would be good in framing change into eras and understanding needs of the day, Mantzius's "History of Theatrical ARt in Ancient and Modern Times", copies of Craig's "The Mask" along with Bentham's various Strand Stage Lighting and other publications. Heffner's "Modern Theater Practice", Nagler's "A Source Book in Theater History", D'Amico's "Theater Art", Macgowan's The Theatre of Tomorrow", Grotowski's "Towards a Poor Theatre" also would help frame the change to incandescent in addition to the readings on the fire and by Appia, Jones and Craig.

    All above books in addition to others I'm not aware of persay should have lots of info about from what I understand it your interest. Note... the 400G30FL is possibly the only stage lighting lamp still in production that has not changed since the 1920's? What is the reason that a 400G30SP was never produced and what about such a concept of lamps did Fuchs lay out should become a primary question. You will also note, Jones, Craig, McCandless, Fulchs and many other authors over the years all forsee and have problems with the same things for the last 90 years or so. This by way of simple engineering and fixtures. Some things change, others don't.

    Good luck on the research and paper. Also Lighting Dimensions and Theater Crafts old issues, along with American Theater and other magazines might be of help should you find an index of what to look for.
     
  5. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    There are many good resources around that will be able to help you.

    im not sure of the amount of detail on the subject you are looking for but you could give our wiki a go.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  6. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    by the way, if doing research and looking to narrow it down but still be intersting, Caspar Neher is still my favorite designer. That would be an intersting but much smaller in scope paper.

    Otherwise along with the 400G30FL question, might come up how if they had such technology available back than which they did, why were not Lekos in a modern sense or even Fresnels invented yet? This might tie you into the concept of the screw base verses pre-focus or bi-pin lamp concepts in design that took place somewhere between the 1920's and 1960's. Such info if you can find it on such lamps would be very interesting to read as it did lead the way to modern stage lighting. This in addition to the halogen verses quartz lamps which back in the 1960's were two seperate things and Kliegl Brothers were developing Lekos and Fresnels for in a really early sense on a RSC type double end lamp possibly before the prefocus base lamp came about. What came first the RSC halogen or prefocus base? Where it all ties in is a good lamp question of course in function following lamp development.

    One can easily term paper the HX-600 verses the HPL lamps, going halogen a little more difficult but not so much, where exactally the industry went pre-focus or bi-pin however would be very difficult but would be where the industry stepped up to being able to use reflectors that were useful and really focused and controlled lighting in a modern sense above broad banks of them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  7. DarSax

    DarSax Active Member

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    Just had to look up this site again for a project I just finished. Great introduction/starting point for ligihting history, gives you plenty of names and techonologies to research. Thanks, Bill Williams!

    http://www.mts.net/~william5/history/hol.htm
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  8. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

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    Shucks, i was going to post that one.
    Do not try and print that one out, it's 96 plus pages, But that's the site to go with.
    For the record I'm preferable to Jean Rosenthal and Appia myself, but I'm still kind of young. If your trying to broaden also look at film lighting. guys like Orson Wells and George Lucas are famous for their ability to combine light and film lenses.

    Good luck
     
  9. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    One fixture from the pre-electric days that still ends up in modern conversation is the Limelight. Although its meaning has been lost, it was an actual fixture that had a pretty good output! Basically, a gas jet was used to cause a block of lime to glow at a pretty nice color temperature! (once got to see one.) Of course, as has been mentioned, safety was a bit of an issue ;)

    EDIT: Happened across this picture and info:
    Limelight was used in the first theatrical spotlights.
    Example below from London ca. 1860. Scottish surveyor, engineer and politician Thomas Drummond invented the limelight in 1816.
    First limelight was used in the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, 1816. Edit-Must have been one of Charc's ancestors there.--DL.
    BTW- The worked by burning Oxygen and Hydrogen! Talk about your safety issues!!!
     

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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  10. sloop

    sloop Member

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    I can take some photos of some old lamps if you want. I have a 1000W mogul bi-post incandescent, and a few other older incandescent lamps that I have been collecting. I may even have a 2000W mogul screw base flood lamp (giant light bulb)....

    I know I have some old globe lamps for beam projectors etc..

    Let me know if photos would be useful...

    Jeff
    [email protected]
     
  11. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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  12. sloop

    sloop Member

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    I think I have an old mirror for a supertrouper. We got the LAST new one available for our old unit before we stopped using it. It took 6 months to find it...

    The spare one I have could be re-mirrored. It's pretty pitted. Just glad we don't have to use those anymore... can you even get carbons??? last time I had order from France(years ago)
     
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Don't have any now. At one point owned 12 of them. Carbons are still available! (I forget the company.) There was something romantic about the old beasts! I guess it's like having a fire in the fireplace. Not to particle for heat, but still something neat about it. I remember converting some of them to Xeon in the 80s. Sold that part of the business to my brother-in-law, who I think still has a couple in his basement graveyard. The rentals he does now are all from things built this century ;)
     
  14. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    There's something inexplicable about the quality of light coming from a carbon-arc Trouper or Super. I've run a carbon-arc next to a "Kniesly Conversion" (Toledo Ohio, sloop-remember them? The Trouper only had "horizontal masking control and Iris, no douser, and Kniesly built and sold from his garage an add in douser, as well as a Xenon Conversion Kit. I remember the instructions said: "Once the lamphouse is cleaned, and carbon holders and reflector removed, conversion should take about two hours.") and I swear the carbon-arc was brighter, or certainly able to cut through the stage lights better.

    That's it! The carbon-arc source had greater "stage presence." It also had more Lee213 WhiteFlameGreen to it and was bright enough that it was rarely used No Color. Color Temperature must have been around 9000K, but I'm not sure I've ever seen it documented. A graduate student when I was a sophomore wrote an informative paper "Stage Photography with a Mixture of Incandescent and Carbon-Arc Sources." I wish I had a copy of that paper, but he only had the original and two carbon copies. (No pun intended. Copy machines were not readily available then).

    R.I.P., Derek's Use of carbon-arcs, 1976-1993.
     
  15. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    There was something about the quality of the light...
    It might be because it really was a carbon body heated to 5700K so it not only had a high color temperature, it also had a broad spectrum with none of the holes in it that we have with other sources. Almost like a "super-incandescents."
    I found the cut sheet which is pictured below.
     

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  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Thanks, JD. BTW, clicking on the Strong link, returns a "You should not be here" message. So much for Strong's customer service commitment!

    When sloop talks about getting the last mirror, he really means reflector. The carbon-arc Trouper and Super Trouper used an actual one-dimensional concave mirror to project the image of the carbons onto the "arcescope" so the operator could tell if his "peak-cosine" (in-ness/out-ness") was correct. The goal was to keep the tips of the carbons even with two lines printed on the paper. Depending on the unit, the "spark gap" would drift forward/backward and the rods together or apart as the copper-jacketed carbons were burned. Made running a followspot much more challenging than it is today.

    I think JD and I (and Van) have previously agreed the operators were better when they also had to deal with carbons as well as pick-ups, color bumps/rolls, and following. And the operator got a mandatory "break" every 45-50 minutes!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2008
  17. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Try this for a link;).
    [​IMG]
     
  18. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Odd! I guess they like people to push all the buttons! In any case, I changed the link to another site, same manual.
     
  19. sloop

    sloop Member

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    this was the big first surface reflector at the rear that gathered the light into a beam, not the little view reflector. That little half silvered mirror was no big deal.
     
  20. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    "an actual one-dimensional concave mirror to project the image of the carbons onto the "arcescope" so the operator could tell if his "peak-cosine" (in-ness/out-ness") was correct"

    On the non-operator side of the Super lamp house, was a small mirror on a gimble (approx. 1/2" x 1/2" in size). On the inside of where the mirror mounted was a small hole in the lamp house. The light from the arc came thru the hole and was reflected by the mirror up and onto the arc scope. I believe that is what Derek was referring to. (Edit: arcescope -DL).

    Smart houses drilled a hole on the upper front of a carbon spotlight to get a similar arc image projected onto a surface above the front of the machine. The operator could then do spikes of the arc on the spike board (usually a piece of white plexi) for assorted pickups on stage, which allowed for blind pickups. Best sighting system I ever used, better than SpotDot or TelRad. ((Edit: ...until someone moves either the fixture or your dry erase marks, tape spikes, or push-pins)! Who can forget the headshot flute-player pickup during the Elvis medley? Don't worry, you'll be seeing it again in 2-4 years. If you visit Las Vegas, that is. -DL)).

    You can still get carbons from the National company. They make carbons for the projection end of the business. http://www.cinemaequip.com in Miami, FL, has National Carbons as well as reflectors for xenon and carbon Super Troupers.

    Not many in the businees seemingly are aware that Strong makes a lot of lamp houses for movie projectors. The Super Trouper lamp house was used in a Eastman 16mm carbon projector. These were very common units and there are cinema supply companies that stock(ed) assorted parts for the lamp house, which could be used in the spotlight - not the reflector though, which had a different focal point for film.

    One cool trick our projectionist came up with was to snap off the stopper pin on the positive jaw rest. This allowed the use of a longer positive carbon rod. The burn time of the longer positive was approx. the same as the negative - which in non-adapted units had the standard 14" positive carbon burning out before the negative.

    We converted to Lycian 3kw xenons about 8 yrs. ago. IMO, the light of the xenon is consitantly better, with as good a color rendition.

    I DO NOT miss my carbon spotlights !

    Steve B.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2008

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