A light fixture (US English), light fitting (UK English), or luminaire is an electrical device used to create artificial light by use of an electric lamp. All light fixtures have a fixture body and a light socket to hold the lamp and allow for its replacement. Fixtures may also have a switch to control the light. Fixtures require an electrical connection to a power source; permanent lighting may be directly wired, and moveable lamps have a plug. 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, and an electrical ballast or power supply. A wide variety of special light fixtures are created for use in the automotive lighting industry, aerospace, marine and medicine.
The term luminaire is recommended by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 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.
Light fixtures are classified by how the fixture is installed, the light function or lamp type.
Free-standing or portable
- Table lamp fixtures, standard lamp fixtures, and office task light luminaires.
- Recessed light — the protective housing is concealed behind a ceiling or wall, leaving only the fixture itself exposed. The ceiling-mounted version is often called a downlight.
- "Cans" with a variety of lamps — this term is jargon for inexpensive downlighting products that are recessed into the ceiling, or sometimes for uplights placed on the floor. The name comes from the shape of the housing. The term "pot lights" is often used in Canada and parts of the US.
- Cove light — recessed into the ceiling in a long box against a wall.
- Torch lamp, torchière, or floor lamp.
- Troffer — recessed fluorescent light fixtures, usually rectangular in shape to fit into a drop ceiling grid.
- Surface-mounted light — the finished housing is exposed, not flush with surface
- Pendant light — suspended from the ceiling with a chain or pipe
- Sconce — provide up or down lights; can be used to illuminate artwork, architectural details; commonly used in hallways or as an alternative to overhead lighting.
- Track lighting fixture — individual fixtures ("track heads") can be positioned anywhere along the track, which provides electric power.
- Under-cabinet light — mounted below kitchen wall cabinets
- Ceiling fan - May sometimes have a light, often referred to as a light kit mounted to it.
- Emergency lighting or exit sign — connected to a battery backup or to an electric circuit that has emergency power if the mains power fails
- High- and low-bay lighting — typically used for general lighting for industrial buildings and often big-box stores
- Strip lights or Industrial lighting — often long lines of fluorescent lamps used in a warehouse or factory
- Outdoor lighting and landscape lighting — used to illuminate walkways, parking lots, roadways, building exteriors and architectural details, gardens, and parks.
- High-mast, usually pole- or stanchion-mounted — for landscape, roadways, and parking lots
- Bollard — A type of architectural outdoor lighting that is a short, upright ground-mounted unit typically used to provide cutoff type illumination for egress lighting, to light walkways, steps, or other pathways.
- Solar lamp
- Street light
- Yard light
- Accent light — Any directional light which highlights an object or attracts attention to a particular area
- Background light — for use in video production
- Christmas lights-also called fairy lights or twinkle lights and are often used at Christmas and other holidays for decoration.
- Flood light
- Safelight (for use in a darkroom)
- Safety lamp (for use in coal mines)
- Searchlight (for military and advertising use)
- Security lighting
- Step light
- Strobe light
- Traffic light
- Fuel lamps
- Betty lamp, butter lamp, carbide lamp, gas lighting, kerosene lamp, oil lamp, rush light, torch, candle, Limelight, gas mantle
- Safety lamps: Davy lamp & Geordie lamp
- A-lamp, Parabolic aluminized reflector lamp (PAR), reflector lamp (R), bulged reflector lamp (BR) (refer to lamp shapes)
- 3-way 2-circuit switch
- Light switch (often part of the light socket or power cord on portable fixtures)
- Lighting control system
- Motion detector
- X10 (industry standard) systems
- Architectural lighting design
- Coefficient of utilization
- History of street lighting in the United States
- Lightbulb socket
- Lighting designer for the theater
- Luminous efficacy
- Timeline of lighting technology
- "Early industry leaders", of fluorescent fixture manufacturing, Paul Levy (1998)
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- Look at the Chart and Pick Out the Reflector You Need, Popular Science monthly, February 1919, page 75, Scanned by Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?id=7igDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA75
- Kitchen Track Lighting