limelight

limelighter, n.
/luym"luyt'/, n.
1. Theat.
a. (formerly) a lighting unit for spotlighting the front of the stage, producing illumination by means of a flame of mixed gases directed at a cylinder of lime and having a special lens for concentrating the light in a strong beam.
b. the light so produced.
c. Chiefly Brit. a lighting unit, esp. a spotlight.
2. the center of public attention, interest, observation, or notoriety: He seems fond of the limelight.
[1820-30; LIME1 + LIGHT1]

* * *

Early form of theatrical lighting.

The incandescent calcium light invented by Thomas Drummond in 1816 was first employed in a theatre in 1837 and was widely used by the 1860s. Its soft, brilliant light enabled it to be focused for spotlighting and to create effects such as sunlight and moonlight. The expression "in the limelight" referred to the most desirable acting area on the stage, the front and centre, which was illuminated by limelights. Electric lighting replaced limelight in the late 19th century.

* * *

▪ theatre lighting
      first theatrical spotlight, also a popular term for the incandescent calcium light invented by Thomas Drummond in 1816. Drummond's light, which consisted of a block of calcium heated to incandescence in jets of burning oxygen and hydrogen, provided a soft, very brilliant light that could be directed and focussed. It was first employed in a theatre in 1837 and was in wide use by the 1860s. Its intensity made it useful for spotlighting and for the realistic simulation of effects such as sunlight and moonlight. Limelights placed at the front of the balcony could also be used for general stage illumination, providing a more natural light than footlights. The expression “in the limelight” originally referred to the most desirable acting area on the stage, the front and centre, which was brilliantly illuminated by limelights.

      The greatest disadvantage of limelight was that each light required the almost constant attention of an individual operator, who had to keep adjusting the block of calcium as it burned and to tend to the two cylinders of gas that fuelled it. Electric lighting in general and the electric arc spotlight replaced the limelight late in the 19th century.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • limelight — lime light , n. (Theat.) That part of the stage upon which the limelight is cast, usually where the most important action is progressing or where the leading player or players are placed and upon which the attention of the spectators is therefore …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Limelight — ist der englische Name für Rampenlicht in der übertragenen Bedeutung des Wortes, den Film Rampenlicht, das auch als Bühnenbeleuchtung verwendete Drummondsche Licht sowie der Name einer britischen Heavy Metal Band. Außerdem ist das Limelight ein… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • limelight — ► NOUN 1) (the limelight) the focus of public attention. 2) an intense white light produced by heating lime in an oxyhydrogen flame, formerly used in theatres …   English terms dictionary

  • limelight — [līm′līt΄] n. 1. a brilliant light created by the incandescence of lime, formerly used in theaters to throw an intense beam of light upon a particular part of the stage, a certain actor, etc. 2. the part of a stage where a limelight or spotlight… …   English World dictionary

  • limelight — index publicity Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • limelight — 1826, popular name for DRUMMOND LIGHT (Cf. Drummond light), a brilliant light created by the incandescence of LIME (Cf. lime) (n.1); adopted for lighthouses and later for the Victorian stage, where it illuminated the principal actors, hence the… …   Etymology dictionary

  • limelight — [n] public attention eminence, exposure, fifteen minutes of fame*, focus of attention, glare, hype*, media attention, photo opportunity, prominence, public eye, public interest, public notice, public recognition, renown, spotlight; concept 261… …   New thesaurus

  • Limelight — For other uses, see Limelight (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • limelight — noun VERB + LIMELIGHT ▪ grab, hog, steal ▪ She accused her co star of trying to hog the limelight. ▪ enjoy ▪ seek ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • Limelight — Luz de escenario. El Limelight es un tipo de luz de escenario, que se utilizó en teatros y escenarios musicales en el siglo XIX. Funciona cuando una llama de oxihidrógeno se proyecta sobre una malla cilíndrica de cal viva (óxido de calcio),[1] …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.