Boyd Lighting at the San Francisco Opera

For the 1932 grand opening of San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House, Boyd Lighting installed numerous light fixtures which continue to light the opera today.

In the fall of 2016, as Boyd Lighting's 95th year was coming to a close, a new fixture was released from the Boyd Archives. The aptly named Opera House Ceiling flush mount combined a faceted glass shade and cast sunburst ceiling plate whose history dates back to 1932 and the grand opening of San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House. Inside the historic landmark are numerous Boyd fixtures which continue to light the opera today, including those that inspired the new fixture.


On November 11, 1931, the cornerstones of the War Memorial Opera House were laid in San Francisco. Architect Arthur Brown, Jr. designed a building that TIME magazine would call "easily the most attractive and practical building of its kind in the U.S." The article about the opening went on to say, "This year, when Chicago's and Philadelphia's opera houses are dark, the lights will go on in a house made possible by all the people of San Francisco.” (Source: Boyd Lighting has been illuminating the San Francisco Opera since the opera house opened on October 15, 1932. (It is also home to the San Francisco Ballet, and served as home to the San Francisco Symphony until Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall opened in 1980.)

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Photo: Hisashi Sugaya. Source: Carey & Co.

The pendants and torchieres that still grace the grand hallway are Boyd Lighting.



Boyd Lighting CEO, Jay Sweet, remembers as a young man counting Boyd Lighting inventory by hand in the San Francisco headquarters. Among the many parts and pieces he counted, some dating back to Boyd's inception in 1921, Sweet remembers coming across cast sunburst ceiling plates wrapped in newsprint documenting the rise and fall of Hitler. He contemplated the world his grandfather, William Boyd, and the War Memorial Opera house experienced.

Years later in 1983, Sweet traveled to an auction at the Rodefer-Gleason Glass Company and successfully purchased the mold used to make the faceted glass shades of the torchieres which line the grand hallway of the opera house (tall, center glass shown below). He would hold onto the glass mold and all those newsprint-wrapped sunburst ceiling plates for several more years before re-imagining them.



As Boyd Lighting neared it's 95th year of family-owned operation, Sweet wanted to honor the company's history by releasing a vintage fixture every year. Crawling over nine decades of fixtures and considering the lighting marketplace, Sweet decided on the fixture that would kick off the Boyd Archives program. He combined two vintage parts - a cast sunburst ceiling plate and faceted glass shade - to create the new Opera House Ceiling fixture.

The fixture is available in two sizes; the larger size is perfect over doorways or in foyers, and the smaller size is perfect for corridors or used as a sconce on a wall. There are 4 finish options on the cast sunburst ceiling plate. The faceted glass shade is available in clear or window pane etched glass.