Torchère

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An Italian torchère, decorated with carved Acanthus leaves and clawed feet, in the Walters Art Museum

A torchère (/tɔːrˈʃɛər/ tor-SHAIR; French: lampe torchère; also variously spelled "torchèr", "torchière", "torchièr", "torchiere" and "torchier" with various interpretative pronunciations), or torch lamp, is a lamp with a tall stand of wood or metal. Originally, torchères were candelabra, usually with two or three lights. When it was first introduced in France towards the end of the 17th century the torchère mounted one candle only, and when the number was doubled or tripled the improvement was regarded almost as a revolution in the lighting of large rooms.

Background[]

Today, torchère lamps use fluorescent or halogen light bulbs. By adjusting the pulse-width modulation in the electronic ballast can allow the fluorescent torchères to be dimmed.

Halogen torchères usually came with a simple switch. Some more expensive models have a TRIAC dimmer circuit built into the stem. Early lamps with 300W bulbs tended to fail quickly. Retrofitting the lamp with a 100W bulb resulted in a substantial improvement in bulb life with minimal loss in brightness.

Halogen torchères have been banned in some places, such as dormitories, because of the large numbers of fires they have caused. The torchère was held responsible by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission for 100 fires and 10 deaths since 1992. Halogen bulbs operate at high temperatures and the tall height of the lamps brings them near flammable materials, such as curtains.

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References[]

  1.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Torchère". Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 50.
  2. "The Light Stuff". Popular Science: 41. October 1997.
  3. Nancy Harvey Steorts (1999). Safety and You. p. 15. ISBN 0815628005. The halogen lamp industry voluntarily undertook an initiative to repair about 40 million halogen torchere floor lamps. The CPSC is aware of 189 fires and eleven deaths that occurred because of these lamps.