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Gerald Thurston

As the leading designer at Lightolier during the postwar building and design boom, Gerald Thurston created his clever lighting — sleek floor lamps, table lamps and desk lamps— to suit the American lifestyles of 1950s and 1960s. His designs were at the forefront of the mid-century modern lighting revolution — like much of the visionary work being done at the time in furniture and interiors, Thurston’s fixtures are both elegant and totally innovative, reflecting the exploration of new ideas and new technology that consumed designers of the era.

Thurston eventually led a stellar team of international lighting designers at Lightolier. He was important to the pioneering East Coast-based electric lighting company, and rumor has it that because he sketched every design on craft paper, the manufacturer insured his right hand for one million American dollars.

While enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago during the 1930s, where he earned his degree in industrial design, Thurston worked as a freelance designer for the Zenith Radio Corporation. Once he graduated, he found a position at the New Metal Craft Company. There he designed custom lighting fixtures and decorative objects for architects and interior designers.

Lightolier enticed Thurston to join them in approximately 1950. That same year, New York’s Museum of Modern Art featured a green floor lamp of his in their Good Design Exhibition of 1950. The sculptural lamps that Thurston created for Lightolier are representative of his interest in Scandinavian modernist lighting as well as the revolutionary designs produced by postwar Italian companies such as Arredoluce and Arteluce. (Lightolier partnered with the latter, and Thurston found inspiration in the work of Arteluce founder Gino Sarfatti.)

During Thurston’s decades-long tenure with Lightolier, he became internationally known for his many designs. His modernist fixtures are characterized by clean lines, vibrant colors and an appealing meld of metals and rich woods. His slender-legged Lightolier Tripod floor lamp, introduced in the 1960s, garnered widespread acclaim, while his whimsical Cricket lamp, with its arthropodan shade and slim brass frame, is wholly versatile — it can be hung as a sconce or positioned on a desk and offers direct or diffused light.

On 1stDibs, find vintage Gerald Thurston lighting, decorative objects and more.

Average Sold Price
$1,927
Styles
Materials
Iconic Designs from Gerald Thurston
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Cricket Lamp
Cricket Lamp
Gerald Thurston Gourd Lamp
Gerald Thurston Gourd Lamp
Gerald Thurston Tripod Lamp
Gerald Thurston Tripod Lamp
Gerald Thurston Triennale Floor Lamp
Gerald Thurston Triennale Floor Lamp
Large Perforated Double Cone Pendant by Gerald Thurston
By Gerald Thurston
Located in Providence, RI
Perforated double cone pendant designed by Gerald Thurston, circa late 1950s for Lightolier. Lighting fixture is currently in it's original ochre with white interior, but we can have...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Gerald Thurston

Materials

Aluminum, Steel

1950s Gerald Thurston Pierced Shade Pendant for Lightolier, USA
By Lightolier, Gerald Thurston
Located in St- Leonard, Quebec
Asian inspired brass-plated aluminium and enameled metal pierced shade pendant. Shade measure 12 in. wide by 7 in. high. Contain one E26 size socket rated at 60 watt.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Gerald Thurston

Materials

Metal, Aluminum, Brass

1950s Gerald Thurston Sputnik Pendant, Lightolier, Usa
By Lightolier, Gerald Thurston
Located in St- Leonard, Quebec
Gerald Thurston pendant made of brass plated pierced aluminium shade, sputnik enameled black steel rod toped with solid brass ball, completed with an opale convex glass diffuser unde...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Gerald Thurston

Materials

Aluminum, Brass

Chandelier by Gerald Thurston for Lightolier
By Lightolier, Gerald Thurston
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
This stylish chandelier dates to the 1960s and was created for Lightolier by Gerald Thurston. The perforated form catches the light beautifully. Note: Requires one Edison based lig...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Gerald Thurston

Materials

Metal, Brass

Tripod Table Lamp by Gerald Thurston
By Gerald Thurston
Located in Dallas, TX
Tripod Table Lamp with original shade by Gerald Thurston
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Gerald Thurston

Materials

Brass

Vintage Gerald Thurston Porcelain Table Lamps for Lightolier
By Lightolier, Gerald Thurston
Located in Chicago, IL
Gerald Thurston porcelain table lamps for Lightolier.
Category

Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern Gerald Thurston

Materials

Porcelain

Elusive Gerald Thurston Lightolier Articulating Reading Lamp, 1950s
By Gerald Thurston, Lightolier
Located in Buffalo, NY
Classic Mid-Century Modern reading lamp designed by Gerald Thurston for Lightolier, elegant chalk white and brass finish, retains original aluminum diffuser, amazing original condition.
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Gerald Thurston

Materials

Metal, Aluminum, Brass

Gerald Thurston Dual Shade Brass Desk Lamp
By Lightolier, Gerald Thurston
Located in Bainbridge, NY
Gerald Thurston for Lightolier crossed swords desk lamp with brass rimmed Raffia Barrel Shades, 1950's. Featuring dual arms in Brass with adjusting, dual Brass rimmed, intertwined Ra...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Gerald Thurston

Materials

Brass

Browse all Furniture from Gerald Thurston
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Gerald Thurston Sellers

More Gerald Thurston Designs
Cricket Lamp
Cricket Lamp
Average Price
$3,300
Number Available
2
Cricket Lamp
By Gerald Thurston
Materials
Metal, Bakelite, Brass, Enamel, Plastic
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Gerald Thurston Gourd Lamp
Gerald Thurston Gourd Lamp
Average Price
$3,100
Number Available
2
Gerald Thurston Gourd Lamp
By Gerald Thurston
Materials
Ceramic, Brass, Metal
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Gerald Thurston Tripod Lamp
Gerald Thurston Tripod Lamp
Average Price
$3,250
Number Available
2
Gerald Thurston Tripod Lamp
By Gerald Thurston
Materials
Brass, Fabric, Metal, Walnut, Wood
Styles
Mid Century Modern
Because industrial designer Gerald E. Thurston (1914–2005) sketched his designs on sheets of craft paper, rumor has it that manufacturer Lightolier took out an insurance policy on his right hand. Little has been written about Thurston’s work, which was critical to Lightolier’s success, but aficionados of mid-century modern American furniture have long celebrated Thurston’s streamlined light fixtures. For those in the know, the highly sought-after brass and wood Tripod floor lamp exemplifies t...
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Gerald Thurston Triennale Floor Lamp
Gerald Thurston Triennale Floor Lamp
Average Price
$920
Number Available
1
Gerald Thurston Triennale Floor Lamp
By Gerald Thurston
Materials
Brass, Metal, Plastic
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Gerald Thurston furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Gerald Thurston furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of metal and designed with extraordinary care. There are many choices to choose from in our Gerald Thurston collection of furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. There are currently 127 vintage editions of these items in stock, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many of the original furniture by Gerald Thurston was created in North America during the 20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style. Many customers also consider furniture by Robert Sonneman, Gordon & Jane Martz and Koch & Lowy if you are looking for additional options. Prices for Gerald Thurston furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $475 and tops out at $25,200, while pieces like these can sell for $2,200 on average.

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