One Fixture at a time

Apparently, even a jet-setting photographer needs a hobby. John Scarpati has taken to scouring old Hollywood studio supply warehouses in search of restoration worthy movie lights. Scarpati favors lights by famed makers Bardwell & McAlister and Mole Richardson. Utilizing only models produced between the 1920s and 1960’s, each is a one-of-a-kind original, complete with period accurate stand. The patina on these things is as good as it gets. Complete with new wiring, and a fresh bulb socket, the lights are 100% suitable for home use. Scarpati offers access to his lovingly restored, authentic, Hollywood movie lights from his Etsy shop. Each light is the real deal. Made with old-school industrial quality, they were meant to serve as serious tools, having spent decades on southern California soundstages and movie locations.

Meticulously restored & converted for home use. The more you look, the more amazing you’ll realize they are. Talk about a quick way to add drama to any space!

Old Hollywood Light Company brings a limited number of pieces from Hollywood’s storied past into the present. With careful attention to detail, legendary movie lights by Bardwell McAllister, and Mole Richardson are meticulously curated and converted into modern home electrics.

These lights can be purchased here Old Hollywood Light Company

Fresnel_lantern It’s pronounced “Fray-NEL,” with a silent “s”, and if that seems strange, it’s because it’s French. The light, or more accurately the lens found in the lighting fixture, is named after the French engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel who invented the technology for lighthouses in the early 1800s. His invention was so well received at the time that he was nominated to be the commissioner of lighthouses in France.


I currently restore fixtures from 3 companies:


Mole-RichardsonAlso known as Mole, is a stage lighting instrument and motion picture lighting manufacturing company originally based in Hollywood, California. The company was started in 1927 by Sicilian immigrant Pietro “Peter” Mule (changed to Mole). Born November 10, 1891, in the Italian town of Termini Imerese, Palermo, Sicily, he first worked for General Electric (GE) in New York.

In 1927 he began selling incandescent tungsten lighting to the film industry, which allowed a more natural lighting than the previous arc lights. The new lights were also silent, an advantage for the new sound films.

Mole-Richardson invented the Fresnel Solar Spot unit in 1935, adapting the fresnel lighthouse lens for use in motion pictures. It won the first of four technical Academy Awards the company has earned.


Bardwell & McAlister – (B & M Lighting) has been in the business of manufacturing motion picture lighting and production equipment since 1926. Although the company has changed hands several times throughout the years B&M has always maintained the respect of professional filmmakers, providing television and major motion picture studios with quality products and services. During the 1940′s B & M had over 200 employees in five separate plants here in southern California and published it’s own in house news paper called the Spotlight. B&M dedicated three of those facilities to producing bomb loaders and other military equipment for the war effort based upon the design of their camera dolly and other production products.


Otto K. Olesen – Was the first to provide lights for shooting motion pictures inside a studio. Hollywood’s original illumination engineer was inducted into the Scandinavian American Hall of Fame in California, at the Nordic Spirit Symposium.

Otto K. Olesen, who died in 1964, emigrated from Denmark to California in 1911 as a 20-year-old college graduate. Starting with two abandoned military searchlights, he developed his lighting technique and within a few years launched the use of lighting for premieres. He was the first to provide lights for shooting motion pictures inside a studio.

He went on to become the first lighting engineer for the Hollywood Bowl and Los Angeles Coliseum. He provided the lighting for the 1927 grand opening of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood and the 1937 opening ceremony of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which utilized 500 searchlights fed by 30 miles of cable.


These lights can be purchased here Old Hollywood Light Company