Wow — 52 pages of vintage lighting in this delightfully illustrated Virden Lighting Catalog from 1959. Virden was one of the big name manufacturers of lighting in mid century modern America. Moe and Lightolier are two of our other favorites. This big catalog covers all types of lighting — for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways, dining rooms, porch and patio — every part of the house. I was amazed by the variety of styles available — and even recognized a few models from the many stashes of New Old Stock and vintage lighting that we’ve featured here on Retro Renovation. Read on to see some of my favorite designs — and for a slide show of the complete 52-page catalog from 1959 –>
The pair above reminds me of some of the recently releasted ceiling lights from Rejuvenation — do you suppose this set of ceiling lights was an inspiration for their new collection?
Another light that looked somewhat familiar to me — the chrome, pin hole flush mount light above — similar to the model I have hanging in my hallway that is original to my house — though mine has several larger glass covered holes instead of just the tiny pin holes. Don’t you love how everything seemed to come in chrome, gold and copper back then? It is so hard to find anything in copper these days — let alone a cool light like this one.
This catalog shows how the variety of lighting fixture styles can be utilized in different areas of the house — and who doesn’t love illustrations of mid century homes?
And here in a more calm scene, this mother and daughter play with the doll under the soft light of some bowtie wall sconces and a double saucer shaped ceiling light.
The catalog has several unusual sconces — check out the ceiling mount sconces in the upper row. And there’s that bow tie sconce from the previous page — modern with a hint of softness in the flowery crystal glass. We see these lights often on ebay.
What’s with all the rowdy kids jumping on beds in this catalog? I’m sure that was never allowed at my house growing up — and watch out — little Susie’s foot is going to kick the cool vintage bullet light sconce.
I’ll take one of everything from this page, please — love the green chair in combination with the gold pinch pleat drapes and the atomic chandelier hanging overhead.
This also came in a single pendant light. The diffuser under the metal cone shade would have been frosted glass — these were lovely, quality light fixture. If you buy vintage, though, always get the wiring checked by a properly licensed professional.
Here is the single version, used in a living room setting and direct lighting for reading on the couch.
Here’s a closer look — the “spring” appears to be part of a pull-down mechanism — neat.
If you thought pull-down lights belong in the kitchen — Virden has you covered there, too. Here’s a more typical placement of a pull-down light — over the kitchen table in this charming modern kitchen. Note: We’ve been told that pulldown lights like these are no longer to code — get with your own experts on this question — consult with a properly licensed professional to make an informed decision how to handle. Be Safe / Renovate Safe.
The placement of this light fixture — in a soffit in some sort of decorative, built-in nook — seems very ingenious — it makes the nook even more of a focal point.
Of course, these recessed fixtures are perfect to pop into the eaves on the outside of the hous,e too — and the gold rims look so nice with the coordinating post and sconce lights.
Thanks to the fantabulous MJB Collection on archive.org for making this vintage catalog available via Creative Commons License.
All 52 pages of the catalog can be seen in their entirety — twice as large — in the slide show below. Enjoy.
Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image: