The “Surveyor” tripod light was inspired by the age of exploration, maritime history and cartography, the study and practice of making maps. The evolution of these striking floor lamps taken from the stand surveyors use is one of function and purpose. Given its “old world charm”, perhaps it can be said that this is one antique lamp that blends perfectly into both classic and modern interiors. With its bold and almost masculine energy, the 3-legged and adjustable neck, the tripod design evokes a studio feel. The styles available can add drama and distinctive interest to any seating area.
Since the beginning of recorded history “Surveying” has been an essential element to the development of our world. In ancient Egypt, surveying techniques were used when the Nile River overflowed and the washed out boundaries were re-established by a rope strecther, or surveryor, through the application of basic geometry. In fact, history also states that the nearly perfect squareness and north-south orientation of the Great Pyramid of Giza, built c. 2700 BC affirmed the fact that the Egyptians’ had a command of surveying. Who knew? “Surveying ” or “Land Surveying” is the technique, profession and science of acurately determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional position of points and the distances and angles between them. These points, on the surface of the Earth, are used to establish land maps and boundaries for ownership of governmental purposes. In order to accomplish this task, surveyors use elements of mathematics (Geometry and Trigonometry) physics, engineering and law (My, I could never be a sureveyor!!). A “Surveyor’s” tripod is a device used to support surveying instruments, known as Theodolites, Total Stations, levels or Transits.
The mapping and data accumulation, construction layout surveys and the planning and execution of nearly every construction requires the use of a Surveyor. Simply stated, it is the surveyor who measures and the cartographer who draws the map. The practicality of the instrument was due to its height which was adjusted by changing the angle of the legs. Widely spaced tripod feet resulted in a lower instrument while legs closely spaced raised the instrument. Variable le where eventually added for further convenience. Form and function, indeed! Materials for the older models were typically wood and brass and often had steel foot points for durability with the high wear factor of the outdoor terrains. Time itself carried this key tool throughout history. Of note, it is said that the red and white stripped version of this iconic light is linked to British wartime history during WWI. In addition, during the 1950’s safety issues became a concern for surveyors on rural roads and in highway traffic and the concerns were addressed with the painting of white and red accents, fitted with brass hardware. Replicas today are referred to as the “British Surveyor Tripod” lamp.
Coast Guard style spotlights provide a beacon of light to any interior and the modern cinema style lamp provides an aura of 1920’s theater appeal. An industrial style floor lamp creates a modern edge and studio feel while the classic throwback of a wood tripod on “Pencil Points” creates a simplistic and timeless focal point.
No matter the style you chose, if you have extra floor space to handle its spread, the floor tripod lamp or the tabletop tripod lamp can become a spectacular focal point and object of interest. The designs available today bring a wide range of influences and styles for the perfect addition to any space. Whether you prefer wood, oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome or metal finish, the tall and sleek tripod lamp will certainly diffuse light in a bold manner with an ambient glow. The tripod lamp will certainly withstand the test of time. Rethink the historic form of the tripod light. Smart, stylish and scientific. Tripod lamps will add the element of adventure while illuminating in style. Adjustable style, indeed.