What is vitreous enamel? Vitreous enamel is a material made by fusing a finely powdered glass (called frit) to a substrate and firing it between 750 and 850 degrees centigrade. The powdered glass melts, it flows and then it hardens to a smooth and durable vitreous coating. Substrates must be able to withstand these high firing temperatures and are therefore generally made from stone, glass or metal. Classic Factory Wall LightDunlop Pendant LightDunlop Pendant Light The origins of vitreous enamel Vitreous comes from the Latin word vitreum which means glass as demonstrated by the glassy high-sheen coating you will find on our enamelled Classic Factory lights. Although extremely rare, early examples of enamelling (albeit slightly cruder versions) date back to the 3rd millennium BC where it was used to secure gemstones in to place in small decorative items or in jewellery. In more modern times, particularly in the Art Nouveau period of the late 19th century to early 20th century, artisans and designers such as the infamous Faberge, used enamelling to create bright jewel-like colours of their famous egg objects. Of course, if you have ever used the London Underground you will recall the vast number of stations signs, all of which were vitreous enamelled and many of which still exist in and around train stations today. Vitreous enamelling in the UK The process of enamelling is an old technology that requires a great deal of skill. There are only a handful enamelling companies left in the UK, one of whom produces our Classic Factory and Dunlop shades. In fact, such is the skill and experience of enamelling, there is only one person at this factory who is permitted to enamel Trainspotters lighting. We have specifically chosen to support this skilful home-based workmanship rather than going down the cost-driven route of sourcing cheaper overseas solutions and we feel it ensures the continuity of the shades’ smooth and lustrous finish which our customers have come to expect – this level of quality is perfectly demonstrated by our classic range of enamelled pendant and wall lights. Benefits of vitreous enamel Vitreous enamel can be applied to most metals and nearly all modern industrial enamel is applied to steel, although it can be applied to aluminium, stainless steel and cast iron as well as precious and semi-precious metals such as gold, silver and copper. Vitreous enamel has many beneficial properties: Smooth surface – high sheen coating which is easy to dust and keep cleanHard wearing – vitreous enamel is chemically resistant and longevity is key… buy once buy wellExtremely durable – enamel is scratch- and chip-resistant and resists impact well due to the thickness of coating used in modern processesLong-lasting colour fastness – it does not fade in ultraviolet light (sunlight)Cannot burn – needs no further explanation! Built-to-last With all of these benefits, enamel lighting is a particularly practical solution for domestic kitchens and commercial catering settings where regular and often heavy-duty cleaning are of particular importance. You may also spot enamel lighting used for exterior applications, it is often a popular choice because of its durability as well as its aesthetic qualities, and you can see an example of this at the Fortitude Bakehouse project.