EASTERNERS TEND to regard Los Angeles as a raw new outpost where bank entrances are pretentiously engraved: "Established 1971." They know something of our Spanish missions but nothing of our Victorian past.
The current craze for restoring and copying l9th-Century homes has kindled new excitement about vintage lighting fixtures, many salvaged from Los Angeles landmarks. Their varied styles reflect the eclectic and rapidly changing tastes of the Gaslight Era.
Shopping for antique fixtures is like taking a trip aboard H. G. Wells' time machine. These authentic electric treasures were spotted recently at Greg's Antique Lighting: an ornate 1840s brass gaselier made of entwined nymphs, their finely wrought arms holding globes and ivy-wreathed Rococo Revival bronze figurine sconces--Neptune driving sea horses--with classically etched Greek Revival shades.
The store also has opulent "combination" chandeliers (gas globes pointing upward, electric globes pointing downward) from the 1890s, when electricity was not universally available, and an extensive selection of art glass shades (etched, sculptured, ribbed, scalloped, fluted, swirled, two-tone, iridescent, Steuben, Tiffany and Quezal).