Modern book lights are highly evolved and specialized, despite the fact that numerous sources of light are available in any contemporary home. As one would expect, prior to the era of electricity, sources of light were adapted to specific uses. It means that among book accessories that are not necessarily useful, but nevertheless of great decorative value are candlesticks for reading. You can also use the traditional candle holder designs in modern light fixtures. So, what specifically makes a candlestick suitable for reading? Two things are most important in my opinion:
- Such candlesticks must provide plenty of light — you will need at least two or three candles. If you are all about authenticity don’t buy scented candles.
- Candlesticks for reading beginning in late 18th century often had a very useful feature. They were equipped with shades to shield the eyes during reading. If you ever had to read with a single unshaded lamp bulb you should appreciate this innovation! Such shades must be made out of inflammable materials, e.g. bronze. Metallic surfaces also help direct the light onto the surface of the page, greatly improving the brightness — this way two modest candles can provide plenty of light for reading. Keep in mind that such candle holders are rare these days, because most candlesticks today are purely decorative. I would imagine that antique candle holders that were designed primarily for readers are an excellent collector’s item. They would look great an a traditional home library or home office.