November 7th, 2012 | No Comments »
Prism Glass transom Band

“Industry,” with its prism glass transom band

There’s another example of “everything old is new again” in the Pine Street Antique Row corridor.  The historic retail stretch on Pine has seen several new businesses opening in the past few weeks and months.  Our friends and neighbors are delighted; we’ve been concerned about a recent sprouting of empty storefronts that were darkening the retail scene.

Among the new commercial residents that are appearing to mark a hoped-for rebound for the Row is “Industry” and its wonderfully restored storefront that’s casting new light onto Pine Street.  As in most of the late 19th and early 20th century storefront buildings in the neighborhood, the establishment in the 1000 block of Pine draws patrons into its light-filled midst with an eclectic mix of art, fashion and design.  Unique among its neighbors, however, is the storefront’s glittering prism glass transom that provides much of the light to the interior of the store.

Restored by the building’s owner, the prism glass transom redirects and diffuses sunlight deep into the space, providing extra illumination to the interior, and casting a sparkling light at night onto the sidewalk outside.  Prism glass tiles, patented in 1896 by James Penncuick and eventually marketed by the Luxfer Prism Company, quickly became a popular way to enliven and illuminate commercial spaces.    Their usefulness faded, however, as did the transoms in which they were installed, when dropped ceilings and air conditioning made the whole thing seemingly obsolete.

Somehow, the majority of the transom survived, unlike many similar to it when they were ripped out or covered up.  Kudos to the building owner, and to merchant Jay Lamancuso at “Industry” for a handsome restoration of the Pine Street building and the prism glass transoms.  Here’s hoping you light up Pine Street for years to come.

Posted from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.