Staircases .................. Illustrated Architecture Dictionary


Newel - The central post or column around which the steps of a circular staircase wind, and which provides support for the staircase

Newel-post - A tall post at the head or foot of a stair, supporting the handrail; often ornamental

Open newel - Stair railing that curls back on itself (term used in the 18th century)

Found in almost all western styles of architecture

Newel post light - In Victorian era style newel posts, including Queen Anne style,  sometimes gas, and later electric, newel lights were installed atop the post.

Arts & Crafts Lighting

A house with an upper floor might also have a newel post light at the bottom of the stairs. This could be anything from a lamp post to an upside-down pendant to an elaborate figural light, generally involving a young maiden in diaphanous draperies with a couple of lights worked in for effect.

- Jane Powell, "A Thousand Points of Light," in Old House Journal, January-February 2010, p. 37

See also:

Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:

Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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