There are a lot of weird side paths you can examine once you start looking at construction history. I want to talk a bit about Luxfer prisms.


That panel above the roll-down shutters is not ordinary glass block. It’s a group of Luxfer prisms, intended to catch nearly-vertical daylight and deflect it to go nearly horizontal, to provide daylight to the back of a deep and narrow store. Each glass block had dozens of tiny prisms cast into it; the blocks were laid up by a mason in the same manner as ordinary block. It’s a really clever solution to the problem of lighting a deep room in the era of oil lamps and gas lighting: it uses free daylight, it provides light without the danger of flame, and it requires almost no maintenance.

One final note: the name “Luxfer” is meant to be a version of the Latin for “light bringer,” but a version without any association with “Lucifer.”

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