Deskey Lamps

Above photo of a Deskey in Potosi, MO by Darren Snow.
  • Conversation below via FB.

    Darren: Potosi doesn't go for those fancy "retro" streetlights like the ones in DeSoto and Hillsboro. These will do just fine. Can you identify this one, Christian?

    Christian: Yeah it's a Deskey lamp. I hate them. Very War of the World-ish. Which came first the invention of this lamp or the movie?

  • Christian Is there a prize?
  • Christian You know I love you, right?

    Darren: I would actually like to know when this design originated, as it's so supa-modern up top but has little nouveau curlicues at the base. And of course you love me; I light up your life! :)

    Andy: Clearly this is a product of the Bauhaus, around 1926.

    Christian: These were designed by Deskey in the 50s and flooded the country, Darren. They ruined my life when Mayor Cervantes had them installed in STL. I recall sitting on my front porch at 3964 McDonald and scowling at the removal of the old street lamps and the installation of these. The original street lamps remain in TGS Park. I loved them for their small pools of tender light.

  • Christian: No Andy they were designed by Donald Deskey late 50s. He also did other lamps.

    Andy: Yeah, I was just making random crap up. I do that sometimes to see if anybody believes me. Helpful in the technology industry.

    Darren: Christian, we are not awfully far apart in age, but it looks like The Reasons We Feel The Way We Do About Particular Streetlights originates in that gap. The Deskeys were so ubiquitous by '66 that they've always been the Default Streetlight to me. But if you had to watch these electric mantises from space replace the old-fashioned lamps that are now being reproduced and installed in business districts everywhere, I can certainly understand your distaste for them.

    Andy: However! Deskey DID attend the 1925 Exposition Internationale in Paris, which showcased many forms of Modernism, including the Bauhaus style. Hah!

    Darren: That may even explain the incongruously swirly, kinda Nouveau motif at the base of the pole!

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