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Lucite®, or polymethyl methacrylate, is another name for Plexiglas®, a synthetic, plastic-like material which closely resembles glass in appearance and texture. In the 1960s and 1970s, Lucite® lamps were extremely popular, and they experienced a resurgence in popularity in the early 21st century. Most often found in table lamps, they usually have a Lucite® body or sometimes just have a Lucite® base. Floor lamps, chandeliers, and lamp accessories made from Lucite® can also be found.
Like all plastics, Lucite® is made from the process of polymerization, which chains together like molecules, in this case methyl methacrylate. The substance is especially sought after because it gives the clean appearance of clear glass, yet is still wear-resistant and not easily breakable. Lucite® lamps often either have a clean, modern look, or a retro feel. In fact, they are extremely popular in the art deco style. Featuring an arrangement of geometric shapes, art deco was first popular in the 1920s and 30s and saw continued popularity in the late 20th and early 21st centuries as a fashionable retro style.
At times, Lucite® lamps may look more like sculpture than lamps because of their often creative designs. The clear, clean look of the material makes these types of lamps desirable; colored Lucite® lamps may also be found, though these are less popular. Lucite® furniture in general is a popular choice for interior decorators. These types of pieces add a classy, clean feel without overpowering the other decorative elements in the room.
Not an inexpensive choice, Lucite® lamps tend to be fairly costly. A careful shopper, however, can often get a used lamp for a deal at flea markets or garage sales. For those who do not wish to spend so much money on lamps, acrylic lamps often offer a similar look at a lower price, but they lack the durability of Lucite®.
Another inexpensive alternative to Lucite® lamps is Lucite® accents. Lucite® accents may be added to any lamp as a means to create a modern, fashionable appearance. Table lamps may be affixed to Lucite® bases, or simple square slabs of Lucite®, or small Lucite® toppers made be created to place over lamp shades.
Lucite® has an especially interesting ability to hold light inside it and allow light to bend around corners. For this reason, it is especially visually appealing when used in lamps. This behavior is also why it is popular in the use of camera lenses and optical medical equipment.
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