Vault Light in Lviv
I have only come across one of these in Lviv. I had no idea what it was until I saw similar panels in
and Tallinn and turned to the Internet for help. It turns out it is a vault light to illuminate the basement.
I found a good description on the Glassian website: “Vault Lights, also known as Sidewalk Lights (or Pavement Lights in the
UK), are those old
glass prisms set into sidewalks to let light into vaults and basements below.
Prisms were used instead of flat glass to disperse the light, diffusing it over
a large area; plain flat glass would simply form a bright spot on the floor
below, not providing much useful general lighting.
“The idea originated in the 1840s as deck lights. They were used on ships to let light below-decks… The idea caught on; by the late 19th century they were common in the larger downtowns, especially
Oddly enough, the pavement light in Lviv has a connection to my hometown,
The company that made it, Deutsches Luxfer Prismen Syndikat, was founded in Chicago 1899 in as a foreign branch of the Luxfer
Prism Company. The Luxfer Prism Company was established in Berlin 1897 in “to produce glass panels with
integral prisms which could capture light from the daytime sky and refract it
deep into interior spaces. Such panels would transmit twice the
amount of light of an ordinary glass pane, providing safe, low-cost energy
efficient illumination for businesses, schools, hospitals, residences and other
|image from Glassian|