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limelight

Archaic method of producing illumination, whereby a block of lime (calcium oxide) is heated by an oxyhydrogen flame until it incandesces. Required constant operator attention, and thus was used in crude followspots. Popular as a means of stage lighting from 1840 until replaced by the electric lamp in the 1890s, the phrase "in the limelight" still persists today.

From Essentials of Stage Lighting. Hunton D. Sellman/Merrill Lessley. Prentice Hall, 1982. One of the best sources of historical stage lighting.

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