A light fixture (US English), light fitting (UK English), or luminaire is an electrical device containing an electric lamp that provides illumination. All light fixtures have a fixture body and one or more lamps. The lamps may be in sockets for easy replacement—or, in the case of some LED fixtures, hard-wired in place.
Fixtures may also have a switch to control the light, either attached to the lamp body or attached to the power cable. Permanent light fixtures, such as dining room chandeliers, may have no switch on the fixture itself, but rely on a wall switch.
Fixtures require an electrical connection to a power source, typically AC mains power, but some run on battery power for camping or emergency lights. Permanent lighting fixtures are directly wired. Movable lamps have a plug and cord that plugs into a wall socket.
Light fixtures may also have other features, such as reflectors for directing the light, an aperture (with or without a lens), an outer shell or housing for lamp alignment and protection, an electrical ballast or power supply, and a shade to diffuse the light or direct it towards a workspace (e.g., a desk lamp). A wide variety of special light fixtures are created for use in the automotive lighting industry, aerospace, marine and medicine sectors.
Portable light fixtures are often called lamps, as in table lamp or desk lamp. In technical terminology, the lamp is the light source, which, in casual terminology, is called the light bulb. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) recommends the term luminaire for technical use.
Fixture manufacturing began soon after production of the incandescent light bulb. When practical uses of fluorescent lighting were realized after 1924, the three leading companies to produce various fixtures were Lightolier, Artcraft Fluorescent Lighting Corporation, and Globe Lighting in the United States.
Lamp; 1902-1918; lead and glass; 67.9 x 52.1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
"Daffodil" lamp; 1904–1924; leaded opalescent glass and gilt bronze; height: 67.9 cm, diameter of shape: 51.4 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art
Light fixtures are classified by how the fixture is installed, the light function or lamp type.
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