Ceiling fixture for Rockefeller Center, by Caldwell & Company, 1932.  Smithsonian Libraries. NK2115.5.L5 S54

Illuminating New York: Caldwell & Company

This black and white photograph represents just one of 37,000 from the National Design Library's Caldwell & Company Collection. Also containing 13,000 original drawings and watercolor sketches, this immense visual resource comprises one of the largest lighting fixture archives by a single American company. The library has digitized a large portion of this collection which can be browsed by category or searched by select fields.  

Founded in 1895 in Manhattan by Edward F. Caldwell and his partner Victor F. von Lossberg, they specialized in custom lighting fixtures and fine metalwork objects during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Caldwell & Company worked with the most renowned architects of their day, including McKim, Mead & White, Carrere & Hastings and Cass Gilbert. Their work continues to illuminate many of New York City’s most significant public and private buildings as well as others throughout the United States and beyond.

Designing fixtures for many Beaux Arts mansions, their clients included Henry Clay Frick, John Jacob Astor, and J. Pierpont Morgan. Public commissions included the East Room at the White House, the New York Public Library, and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to name just a few.  

Visitors to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, located in the former Andrew Carnegie’s mansion, are greeted by a series of bronze and alabaster ceiling fixtures leading to a massive chandelier that illuminates the grand staircase, all original Caldwell designs from 1901. Come see them in person in the Great Hall when the museum reopens.

Museum Number: 
NK2115.5.L5 S54