Vintage quality matters more than dollars saved
As many of our customers have come to realise, we’re more than just a reseller of lighting fixtures, we’re a manufacturer. Our range of porcelain enamel pendants are often been referred to as Vintage Pendants despite the namesake, our Ivanhoe Pendant Lights are actual reproductions of the original vintage style made popular back in the early 1900’s. A common question we receive is “How is it/this vintage”? There are a number of definitions of the word vintage along with antique, retro, and the ever popular, industrial—and before we jump into word games, lets look at the definition of vintage:
the time that something of quality was produced. – Google; definition:vintage
Google defines vintage as a time, rather than a product. When the quality of goods were unsurpassed and now, if one is to remember when quality goods were manufactured, lighting included, chances are that you’d probably look back to the 1950’s to 1980’s. Quality will typically infer high strength, reusable materials such as steel, glass, aluminium (where used) and porcelain coating. It was a time when workmanship mattered more than price, as you’d expect to own it for at least a decade or more rather than upgrade to a new model every five years.
Here’s a neat little graph of how the popularity of the word “Vintage” has been over time
Keep in mind that we’ve got no idea how Google happens to have data back from 1900’s, chances are they’ve scanned quite a few books.
If you’d ask a layman the definition, you’d most likely receive a confused look and a hesitation before answering and that’s not to say I’d answer any different. The availability of different materials, paints, finishes, products, and most devious, advertising. Workmanship is our predominate speciality at Barn Light USA, and by extension Barn Light Australia. Looking at our range of vintage pendants you’ll find a number of elements that adhere to the nature of the word vintage. Here’s a short list:
Just above you’ll see our Benjamin Stem Mount Pendant which meets a number of criteria;
Workmanship: We don’t buy this fixture, we manufacture it from raw materials.
Each of our metal spinning employees (we don’t contract that out either) take a flat piece of steel, hole-punch the correct shade diameter and then start the spinning process as artisans.
Just so that you’ve got a good idea what goes into our products, we’ve included the above video from Barn Light Electric (USA).
Quality: Our products are made from 100% steel (where porcelain) or aluminium (everything else).
The benefit of using raw materials is quite substantial, there are multiple suppliers, seemingly unlimited supply, and good research behind just about every application possible.
A primary example is our chromate pre-treatment on Aluminium. If we were to use an alloy we’d have insufficient data from our powder-coating supplier (Dulux predominately) in the adherence duration (how long the polymer powder-coat would stick) or rather how long it would last in Australian conditions (UV / Wind / Dust / Water). A significant amount of products sold by our competitors, both online and store front originates from Asia to minimum standards (think quality control is a big factor in price?!) and while there are some decent manufacturers, many are not looking to develop a product that will last.
If you don’t look at the quality of the product, you’ll end up with a new project like this one below after a year, if not a month or three;
Take a look at the following photo and make a quick estimate on the cost of the following scenarios; assuming of course that yourself or your client care about the quality aspect to begin with.
|Installation||$500 (5 Hours, including masonry work)|
|Installation||$500 (5 Hours, including masonry work)|
For an additional $250, you can be satisfied that your new project or premises is not going to rust or look unsatisfactory for a good decade and nor will you receive the dreaded phone call requiring repair or replacement at your cost. The cost of replacing the entire lot of lights along with re-installation would likely meet the original amount total. If you happen to buy from Barn Light Australia, your investment pays off in the first year, due to the robust nature of our products and will keep their paint for decades, if not centuries (porcelain)
Design: We learned from the best.
Our designs are modelled after the original American manufacturers of RLM Lighting (Reflective Luminaire Manufacturer) Benjamin, Ivanhoe, Goodrich, which made many designs over their companies’ lifetime.
The fact that we can bring back and manufacture an antique shade style over 100 years from inception means that it’s essentially timeless as design style goes.
What we’ll never do as a company is misrepresent our product. We could frankly, grab a piece of cheap aluminium and add a dabbed copper paint finish and pass it off as ‘Vintage’ to those whom are none the wiser, however you’ll appreciate that we’ll never set out to create a sub-par product. We truly care about our products beyond turning a profit which what makes us unique as a company in the times where disposability is considered a feature for many businesses. We’re not much different than interior designers (whom commonly specify our products for their customer projects) in the appreciation of design and I’m going to take a guess that 75% of our sales are the direct result of a professional interior & exterior lighting designer.
Going back to Vintage, if you could see fifty years into the future, we’d be willing to bet that our barn lights never dropped out of fashion. We hope to entice the current and next generation of designers to think outside the box by connecting complex ideas with simple, yet honest, lighting products.
Barn Light Australia Pty Ltd.