Wall-hung adjustable-arm lights date to the 1800s, when ornate kerosene lamps needed to swing clear of flammable furnishings. Once electricity became widespread in the early 20th century, there was a push for more efficient lighting at work and at home, to reduce eyestrain. Minimally embellished fixtures with long arms, multiple locking joints, and directional metal shades became popular to spotlight all manner of task areas. These included kitchens, as well as sitting rooms, which one scholar noted had essentially become libraries by 1930, due to “the reading habit of to-day.”
Contemporary library lamps do their period precursors one better, with showier finishes, distinctive details, and playful proportions. Here, 11 spot-on options.