Next up in our new interiors column, drydockshop puts the track light in the spotlight
Invented in 1961 by Lightolier, the first iteration of track lighting was clunky, expensive and offered few design options. By the 1970s Halo Lighting had introduced a newer version that was far cheaper and offered a wider array of fixtures, finishes, and wiring options. With this advancement, track lighting quickly became the go-to for many interior designers and do-it-yourselfers. By the 80s, track lighting had become a design and cultural phenomenon.
"There's a line in the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias where the character Clairee proclaims, "all gay men have track lighting, and all gay men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve""
There's a line in the 1989 movie Steel Magnolias where the character Clairee proclaims, "all gay men have track lighting, and all gay men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve". As a kid I couldn't vouch for the Marks and Ricks of the world, but for me the jig was up. My name was undeniable and, even at an early age, my affinity for track lighting was already well under way.
Here's the thing about track lighting; apart from its function and its practicality, the reason it carried that joke is the same reason it became so popular – it was stylish. Love it or hate it, no other lighting fixture offers the same level of performance, versatility, and style as track lighting. Here are 10 pictures from decades past to prove it.
Words by Steven Holt