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Unknown Medium Swan Neck Bracket

Genre: Swan neck bracket

The "swan neck" bracket probably gained prominence as the electric arc lamp became popular in the late 19th century. The arc lamp required suspending above the roadway by its canopy, so a sweeping, curved bracket was utilised to position the lantern relative to the column. With the advent of the inverted mantle, gas manufacturers followed suit; suspending lanterns by their canopies prevented shadows and the dark spaces associated with the early post-top Windsor style frame lanterns. Finally, the first lanterns for tungsten filament bulbs followed the trend and were also top-entry.

The swan neck was easy to manufacture from a iron or steel rolled tube. They were either fully formed to support the lantern directly, or finished on the horizontal so a decorative finial was required. Other decorations included the purely aesthetic scrollwork and collars, whilst tulip and leaf husks not only beautified the spigot cap, but also provided additional protection from rust at the joint between the bracket and spigot.

The swan neck was a popular choice for a "gas conversion" in the 1940s and 1950s where the original gas post-top lantern was removed and replaced with a swan neck and high level termination. As columns were originally made in various heights, swan neck brackets were also made in different sizes so the lantern height above the road could be standardised.

By the 1950s, the swan neck bracket was still extremely popular, as manufacturers were still producing large numbers of top-entry lanterns. However, the lines became simpler, and the decoration was eventually scaled down and finally removed entirely. It was a practical move: scrollwork and spigot joints formed dirt and moisture traps where corrosion could set in.

As side entry lanterns became popular, the swan neck declined in numbers. Brackets evolved into simple bracket arms, or became part of the column (as with the popular "hockey stick" column). However, the swan neck does live on, albeit in smaller numbers, and is still available as a "traditional" option for decorative and/or heritage style street lighting.

Name: Unknown Medium Swan Neck Bracket
Date: Circa 1930s - 1960s
Dimensions: TBA (height), TBA (width)
Specs: Small Flower finial, no scrollwork, no collar, small oval fuse box with spigot
Lantern: ESLA Bi-Multi Group "AL" Two-Way 175°


This bracket is currently unidentified. There are no maker's marks or numbers. Therefore the history of this bracket remains a mystery.


Whilst the maker of this specific swan neck is unknown, this style and size of bracket used to be common in the UK.

The Bracket In My Collection

facing profile

Found rusting away in a Devonshire back garden, this medium sized swan-neck column is slightly too small for the large ESLA Bi-Multi Group "AL" Two-Way 175° lantern attached to it.

front profile

I kept the lantern and bracket together, restoring both and repainting them gloss black (which appeared to be the original colour).

trailing profile

The bracket and fuse box are completely featureless. Therefore I've not been able to identify the bracket.


The flower finial suggests either REVO or A C Ford but the rest of bracket and fuse box isn't representative of either firm.

fuse box: road side

Just above the fuse box, the streetlight's original identification plate has survived. This soft piece of circular metal is stamped with a '5' and is attached to the bracket by a piece of twisted wire.

fuse box: pavement side

Strangely the fuse box cover is entirely blank with no elaboration, decoration or maker's mark. It's held in position by four brass screws which have survived remarkably well.

fuse box: interior

Two large porcelain fuses are still fitted but don't bare any maker's mark or number. Whilst the fuses can be removed, the wiring screws have seized so the fuses are currently bypassed and the bracket is wired by means of the modern terminal block.

Medium Bracket As Purchased

This was how this lantern and bracket arrived, after being found in the undergrowth of a Devonshire garden. The full restoration is detailed here.