With the invention of an efficient incandescent light bulb in 1879, Thomas Edison made artificial illumination available to the masses. His innovation was so widely acclaimed that it came to symbolize a bright idea. Every schoolchild today knows Edison’s story. But how many people have heard of Peter Pfisterer, and his invention of efficient artificial lighting for the home?
Pfisterer was a Swiss émigré to the United States who worked for the Modernist architect Richard Neutra in the 1930s. With their open-plan informality, supported by new materials, Neutra’s houses broke with old-world tradition. Yet the floor lighting available to future
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