LIGHTING - What is a Newel Post Light?
Newel post lights are free-standing upright fixtures commonly mounted on the large starting post at the bottom of a staircase. They came into fashion in the mid-nineteenth century and remained popular until around 1930. In larger homes, they were often used at any point the stair turned or even along a stretch of railing in the upper stair hall, to supplement wall lighting and add a dramatic accent.
Newel post lights range from simple, single-light lamps to large multi-branch fixtures. In later Victorian times, newel lights were often quite sculptural, representing historical or mythological figures. Newel post lamps were found in all styles of houses, from Victorian to Mission, before eventually fading from popularity and necessity in the 1920s.
In earlier periods, these free-standing gas lights were also called "Pillar Lights", and were used to light shop counters, hotel desks or other public spaces. In modern kitchens with large central islands, newel post lamps make a striking and useful form of task light.