::: Welcome to Fantasialight.com, a site dedicated to the history vintage Fantasia Products: The Lamp of a thousand lights! :::
Introduction, Credits, Fantasia & Kristopher Steel's Gallery.
Fantasia is known as the leaders in high quality vintage fiber optic lighting in the USA and produced some of the most wonderful kinetic lighting using fiber optics. The products are often very simple but feature a maze of different base forms and designs with wonderful sprays that shimmer with ever changing light. Both the vintage lamps and the 1990s models were both extremely elegant and stunning. This website lightly documents some of the models that we have come across. We also feature the Glitter Graphics series and the Cosmic Window lamps by Fantasia as they are also very much of interest to collectors.
Thank you for looking at www.fantasialight.com. A special thank you goes to Kristopher Steel who took many photos of his wonderful collection for fantasialight.com. This site wouldn't be possible without him. Also a big thank you goes to Keith Knowlton, one of the founders of Fantasia who was very kind to shed some light on the early years. Many thanks as always to Jonas Goo who donated brochures and other photos and information. I would also like to thank 1970s & 1980s Fantasia product designer George Stadnik for relating his wonderful experiences into his work at Fantasia.
This site is made from two core pages, this page focuses on the general history of Fantasia, there is a page regarding the Glitter lamps produced by Fantasia. For dedicated product galleries and to see models please see Kristopher Steel's Fantasia Flickr Stream. Kristopher Steel is a wonderful collector who is the first collector dedicated to these wonderful Fantasia lamps and has an amazing collection.
Visit Kristopher Steel's Fantasia Flickr Photo Gallery
Identifying Fantasia Lamps.
Fantasia lamps often featured a sticker on the base of the lamp which confirmed the model name and on the inside there is usually a sticker confirming this too. If you can't idenify the lamp due to there being no names please take a look at the model galleries above or simply email us at: email@example.com - Thank you. Fantasia - The Lamp of a thousand lights ... Thousands of optical fibers come alive with color and motion ... fiber tips flash like stars bright with changing reds, greens, blues and yellows. As colors vary, the fiber optic spray itself turns, adding motion to the shifting pattern of light. FANTASIA is made only of genuine glass fibers - no plastics.
With over 10,000 fibers - far more than other lamps - there are more lights and changing patterns. Fantasia lamps are more beautiful ... enjoy their beauty in your own home as decorative accents - for family room, bar, picture window, TV and at a party. Or use them in a professional office or waiting rooms. Fantasia - the lamp of a thousand lights and a thousand uses.
FANTASIA PRODUCTS DIVISION OF ELECTRO FIBEROPTICS CORPORATION
WEST BOYLSTON, MASSACHUSETTS 01582
List of Early Models from Vintage Brochure: A. J. Dobin, Inc. - Wholesale distributors of Gifts & Items. 1126 Cornell Avenue Cherry Hill, N. J. ...
Firefly: Model: 1101 "Sparkling Colour in motion to compliment any decor" Black Leatherette Body, Chrome Trim 16" Tall
Love Story: Model: 1102 "To set that Special Mood" Pink Fibers and Body, Brass Trim 15" Tall Love the pink fibers.
Trophy: Model: 1103 "A possession to be proudly displayed and admired by all." Walnut Finish Body, Brass Tim, 18" Tall
Champagne: Model: 1104 "A bubbling fountain of colored lights" Black bowl and base, Chrome Rims 20" Tall
Celestial: Model: 1105 "The heavens ... Fibers revolve and twinkle within a smoked dome" Black Lower Body and White base, Chrome Rims. 22" Tall Love the closed look.
Olympic: Model: 1701 "The Torch burns bright to give flaming color to any decor" Black Body and Base. Chrome Trim and Pole 66" Tall Floor Model.
Kind Words & Introduction from Keith Knowlton - President of Fiberoptics Technology, Inc.
We started Electro Fiber Optics in November of 1967 in the second floor of an old wooden machine shop in Worcester Mass. We had left Mosaic Fabrications because it had been sold to Bendix, confusion was rampant (If the boss calls... Get his name) and also we were in our early 20's and itching to have our own company. From then until about 1971 or so, we built a new building in West Boylston Mass and did well by making fiber optic light distribution blocks for use in computers to read IBM 80 column punched cards. But, by about 1971, the floppy disk had been invented and punched cards went the way of the Dodo... Fast!
Whoa, now we had no products! Luckily for us, it happened that a new company had been formed recently in New England which had five different divisions. One, in Southbridge Mass., was starting to make fiber optic lamps and one other, in Framingham Mass., was in the laser business. However, the laser division stepped on the toes of the giant Union Carbide Corporation in the form of alleged patent infringement, and all their resources were quickly used up fighting the lawsuits. This left the fiberoptic lamp portion of their business broke as well.
I went to look over the operation with an eye toward buying it, but when I saw what little they had, we just bought parts ourselves and started to make lamps, although I have to admit that ours did look a LOT like the ones they had been making.
We took the first 24 that we made, which were the basic Firefly model, to Spag's Discount Store in Shrewsbury Massachusetts. Anthony Spag Borgatti (Spelling?) was the first discounter in the U.S. and his motto was "No bags at Spag's" You had to bring your own bags and stuff was cheap. We asked him if we could put them on the shelf and he asked what we needed to get for them to which we replied "$23 each". He marked them at $24.88 retail.
We took turns standing around to hear what people had to say about them and they were well received and sold out quickly, so we hurried to make 24 more and do it all again. Soon we realized that they might be the answer to our prayers. We hired Al Landis and his wife Lillian from New Jersey to market them and he knew his craft. He had a showroom in NYC and contacts all over the world. We sold tons of them in Japan, and the Lava folks sold them in Italy for us too. Spencer gifts was the really big outlet in the USA.... They would bring us a 50 foot truck trailer to fill and as soon as it was filled they'd replace it with another. Al kept beating up on us for new designs and products which is where the glitter lamp and the boxes came from.
Surprisingly, all the sprays were trimmed by hand in the dark by people using barber's clippers but the clippers didn't last all that long cutting glass.
When we left what was by then Valtec to form Fiberoptics Technology the lamps were still going strong, but subsequent to that, the lamp business was sold to Lenny Scrivo (Vicon) who moved production offshore. Later, FTI sold a company we had purchased to Lenny, and about 3 years ago we purchased some of the fiber drawing equipment from the defunct Vicon Fiberoptics. Funny how life changes.......
It wouldn't be too hard for us to make replacement sprays if enough folks out there have lamps and would like replace the old fibers. Most likely the biggest problem would be getting liability insurance in the sue everybody mentality world of 2009.
Anyway, thanks for all your work putting up the website, it sure brings back a load of fond memories. KLK
Fantasia Imagery | Bob Chudy
Below one can see some photos of Fantasia's lamps, the detail to quality and the amazing light shows are a tribute to the high product quality of Fantasia. Thank you to Bob Chudy for the images below ... Enjoy ...
Nostalgia & Thoughts on Fantasia by George Stadnik | Fantasia Product Designer | Fantasia 1979 - 83
www.fantasialight.com is very honoured to feature a memorial of Fantasia by George Stadnik, who was a product designer working at Fantasia during the Valtec years in Worcester, and is an artist of Lumia. George's work within Lumia is simply breath-taking and combines the beauty of light, motion and ambient colour. His work is so very inspirational and his work at Fantasia lives on today in people's homes all over the world. George's work at Fantasia included a multitude of beautiful fiber optic products, the wonderfully creative Glitter Graphic series and the stunning Cosmic Window. Nostalgia & Thoughts on Fantasia by George Stadnik below …
I started working at Fantasia in 1979 in June. It was at the Valtec headquarters building off Burncoat street in Worcester. I believe that Joe Cuda was the principal engineer just prior to my arriva but he left and Valtec placed an advertisement for a designer in the local newspaper. I applied and got an interview. My Lumia studio was about three miles away on Grove Street. I showed them some photos of my Lumia work and got the job. The design department was in a closet. It was a mess. The first day there, I organized the room. There were odds and ends of lamps everywhere and plenty of glass fiber to work with.
A side note - I had heard that Fantasia was started as a way to use up scrap optical fiber and raise money for product development. They were trying to draw communications grade fiber and ended up with loads of scrap fiber. From this scrap the lamps were invented.
Fantasia lamps were hand trimmed. Essentially they were given haircuts to bring them into the shapes you see. They hired women who worked in beauty parlours and cutting salons to trim the fiber to correct length. The weight of the glass and the length of the glass fiber determined the arc of the curve in the "spray". (The term used for the glass fiber bundle.)
The trimming was done in a dark room off the production floor. The untrimmed sprays would be placed into the lamp fixtures that would rotate slowly as the women trimmed the sprays with electric hair clippers. It was an art to be sure.
My first task was to create a new lamps from existing parts. Costs were strictly controlled to meet profit margins. Spencer Gifts was the largest customer.
At the time, I believe the Firefly retail cost was about $79. The least expensive lamp was the Lovebug at about $29.
Fantasia was a magnet for inventors who would show up with lamp and ambient lighting concepts. I was reviewing these concepts constantly. They also had a warehouse of obsolete inventory with some very interesting and obscure items.
There was a Fiberoptic lamp based on the Firefly where the fibers were glued together to form a flame like shape - it looked like a large candle. There was also a terrific cube of translucent white plastic with christmas lights on a turntable with a paper mask that rotated. The filaments of the bulbs would project onto the cube surface. In about 1981 I found out about a professor at the University of Vermont who created plasma ball sculptures. We attempted to commercialize them but at that time the cost of the assembly was prohibitive. (No cheap off shore manufacturing at that point).
I worked at Fantasia from 1979 through 1983. We moved from Burncoat St to Pullman St. and I got an engineer to work with me on product design. I was the creative guy and Merrill Dana was the technical team member. We came up with a number of different types of lamps. Several used plastic fiber that we fractured with needle nose pliers. These fractures allowed the light to leak out along the length of the fiber. I think I may still have some drawings of these.
They were 4-8 ft tall in plexiglas towers with a light source at the top - they looked like rain falling but changing color as it fell. Fantasia Product Designer from 1979, George Stadnik, product designer at Fantasia talks about the production of the fiber optic sprays used in these wonderful Fantasia products.
"Speaking of sprays - You asked about how they are built - Essentially they are spooled off the draw reel and gathered into a bundle of several hundred or thousand fibers. We used rain gutters to store the long lengths of fiber. The long lengths were cut into 12 18 or 24 inch lengths. They were then soaked in isopropyl alcohol so that the surface tension would cause the fibers to stick together. These were then placed into a machined aluminium ferrule with one end sticking out.
They were then dipped in Epoxy and allowed to set. The epoxy was drawn into the bundle by capillary action. Once set, the ferrule and bundle was trimmed on a diamond saw, then optically polished. The free end of the spray was then either heat formed or trimmed.
Heat forming a spray involved rotating it fairly quickly while a circular electric heating element softened the glass fiber near the ferrule until it bent from its own weight and centrifugal force.
Fantasia Imagery | Kristopher Steel
Below one can see some photos of Fantasia's lamps, the detail to quality and the amazing light shows are a tribute to the high product quality of Fantasia. Thank you to Kristopher Steel for the images below ... Enjoy ...
Fantasia's Glitter Graphic Series. Please see images below. Fantasia created three generations of glitter lamps. One of the most beautiful kinds of glitter lamps was the Glitter Graphic series. A Glitter Graphic lamp is manufactured from a wooden box and features a very beautiful graphic piece of artwork on the front. Inside this wonderful box, there is a glitter lamp placed inside with a wide reflector. The result of this is very beautiful glittering effects on the surface of the graphics.
The whole boxes become alive and provide a very beautiful array of effects. The Glitter Graphics can be seen in the wonderful image seen below, donated kindly by Jonas. Please see the image below to document the styles produced. The biggest question is which one is your favourite. I personally admire the design with the unicorn and the rainbow. Thank you to Jonas for the images of the Glitter Graphics.
Thank you to Jonas for the information below:
Color editions: Dragon, unicorn/rainbow, clouds/rainbow, parrot/jungle, tropical fish, porcelain mask.
One color plus black/white/gray: Rolls-Royce/Poverty sucks, big rig truck, saloon, bar open, happy hour.
The Stunning Fantasia Cosmic Window. Please see images below. This page is also dedicated to the stunning Fantasia Cosmic Window.
Fantasia created three generations of glitter lamps. The Cosmic Window lamp was a very beautiful unique glitter lamp that featured a tube of fast moving glitter inside a cylindrical bottle, this was then mounted into an all reflective enclosure. This enclosure featured a reflective mirror at the back and created stunning reflections at the back of the bottle and excentuated the glittering effect.
The Cosmic Window is one of my very favourite glitter lamps. Fantasia definately created something very different with the Cosmic Window. This shows that alongside the Fiber optic based products they did have a wide range of stunning pieces. Thank you kindly to Jonas Goo for images of his Cosmic Window.
Please see images below:
Fantasia Mystery | A beautiful Bubble Design. Please see images below and click to enter page.
Fantasia History | Early Brochure Images | Celestial. Please see images below.
::: Do you have one of these lamps? We would love to feature them please drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you! :::
::: www.fantasialight.com: The History of Fantasia Products :::