Pan fixtures were the minimalist contemporary lighting designs of their day. They came with multiple lights like a traditional chandelier, but without all those fussy arms sticking out everywhere. Able to accommodate a variety of changing design styles (ornate or not) with aplomb, pan lights remained popular from their conception in the 1900s through the 1920s.
The distinguishing feature of pan lights is the frame from which the individual lights hang. With suspended fixtures, individual shades are chain or rod-hung symmetrically around the perimeter of a large metal disc or square, which usually hangs some distance below a smaller canopy. This disc is called, you guessed it, the pan, due to the fact that it looks a whole lot like a pan (or shallow bowl). In flushmounted pan fixtures, the canopy becomes the pan. The straight, vertical drop of the multiple shades have also caused pan lights to be referred to as shower lights.
After the 1920s, pan fixtures faded away for a while. But now, given the renewed interest in reproduction and restoration lighting, they’re back. In addition to reproductions of classic styles, the basic structure of pan lights is now being used in modern interpretations. The following are just a few examples of the pan light fixtures being made today: