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Lighting & Design Glossary - P

P
Parchment

Made from the skin of sheep, goats, or other animals and prepared for use as a material on which to write.

Path Light

A landscape lighting fixture designed specifically for outdoor applications along pathways, usually with most of the light directed downward to illuminate those pathways and the surrounding landscape.

Pendant

Suspended light fixture with one shade; sizes range between large drum pendants and mini pendants.

Pharmacy lamp

A functional lighting design based on floor lamps and table lamps used in 19th century apothecaries. Offers adjustable task lighting in a subtle classic design.

Phosphor on LEDs

Most LEDs today are able to produce white light by using blue LED chips coated with a yellow phosphor. As yellow stimulates the eye's red-green receptors, this blue-yellow combination effectively creates white light. The proportion of blue to yellow determines the LED's color temperature and CRI. Also increasingly available with an ultraviolet LED paired with RGB phosphor coating.

Phosphors on CFLs

In compact fluorescent bulbs, phosphors coat the bulb's interior and convert UV rays into visible light. As with LEDs, the exact mix of phosphors in CFLs also determines the color temperature and CRI of the light.

Photocell

A sensor that can detect how much daylight is present. Primarily used in outdoor lights, photocells allow the light to turn on and off automatically. This saves energy, money and improves safety at night.

Photocontrol

Another term for a photocell light control. Turns a light on and off automatically depending on surrounding light conditions (on at dusk, off at dawn).

Photometry

Basically, the measurement of light in terms of perceived brightness to the human eye.

Pile

The material used to make a rug, apart from the backing. Pile height helps determine a rug's texture, wearability, and ease of maintenance.

Pilling

An effect to the surface of fabric caused by cleaning or abrasion, which unravels fibers. The resulting loose ends twist to form little balls, or pills, on a fabric's surface.

Pin Base Fixture

Refers to a fixture that accepts one of a variety of pin base bulbs. These specialized bases (Bi-pin, Quad, GU24, etc.) are most commonly associated with fluorescent and halogen bulb types, making the fixture that accepts them inherently more energy efficient than its screw base counterpart.

Pin-Up Kit

Allows a wall light to be plugged into an electrical outlet (instead of being direct wired). It is like adding a extension cord to a wall sconce.

Pitch

1) The angle/slope of fan blades (blade pitch)
2) The inclination angle of a roof (roof pitch)
2) Resin produced by plants or made out of petroleum.

Pivot

1) A short shaft or rod upon which something rotates or swings
2) The center point in a rotational system.

Plisse

From the French term, "to pleat." Fabric that's given a puckered finish via treatment with a caustic agent (i.e. sodium hydroxide); also the term for the finish itself.

Plywood

Made from thin sheets of wood (aka veneers) that are glued together to form a plank. Some of the benefits of plywood include strength, durability, and resistance to cracking, shrinking and warping. Many wood fan blades are made from plywood.

PMMA

Stands for polymethyl methacrylate, a transparent thermoplastic sometimes used as a shatter-resistant alternative to glass; for example, the barriers around an ice rink. Trademarked under the names Plexiglas and Lucite.

Polished Glass

Glass with high-gloss surface texture; created by buffing to a high sheen (by hand or machine).

Pond Lights

Pond lights are built to endure full water submersion to create dramatic effects in or near water features like pools, fountains and waterfalls.

Polycarbonate

A fancy word for plastic. More succinctly, polycarbonate is a synthetic thermoplastic resin used for molding furniture designs.

Polyester

A variety of synthetic polymers. Commercially, polyester is usually found in the form of polyethylene terephthlalate (PET), which is used to make plastic bottles or, when produced in very thin threads, a silky feeling fabric.

Polyethylene

A widely-used type of plastic that is primarily used in packaging, including plastic bags.

Polyurethane

A flexible and durable polymer that is often used in making, among other things, foam seating, carpet backing, airplane wings and baby toys.

Porcelain

From the Italian "porcellana." A glassy ceramic material made by forming clay and baking it in a kiln at high temperatures. Its strength and translucence is largely dependent on the exact temperature at which it is fired. Sometimes referred to as china (since China was where the product originated).

Postmount

A wet location lighting fixture specifically designed for outdoor lighting applications where light is needed at eye-level or higher, but mounting to a separate structure/building isn't possible. The post light design is typically a lantern-shaped fixture mounted on top of a tall metal post, and it is most often used to illuminate driveways, paths and other entrances. Most post lights sold on Lumens.com do not include the post.

Post-Modern

A movement away from modernism, postmodern design became largely popular in the 1970s and 80s. It is a rejection of the functional, minimal use of materials and lack of embellishment adopted by modernist designers. Post-modernists typically place form over function.

Powder-coated

A dry powder finish applied electrostatically and then heated, allowing it to flow together and form a skin. The powder is typically a thermoplastic or polymer applied onto a metallic surface. It is a thick coating, highly resistant to scratching, cracking or peeling.

Prairie

An architecture style popular in the late 19th, early 20th Century so-named due to the focus on blending in with the surrounding landscape, most easily observed in the horizontal lines, solid construction and natural building elements and hues. Coined by H. Allen Brooks, an architectural historian who used this phrase to describe the popular architects of the time. Similar to the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Pressed Glass

Glass-making technique originated in the U.S. in the 1820s whereby molten glass is pressed into a mold with a plunger; commonly used to mass-produce carnival glass and beads.

Puck Light

A display or under cabinet lighting fixture named for its shape: generally round and flat. Also known as a button light.

Purism

Purism was a form of art and architecture that rejected the decorative trend of cubism and encouraged a return to clear, ordered forms expressive of the modern machine age. Popularized by the French painter Amedee Ozenfant and the architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier).

Pulegoso Glass

Glass that is made with many air bubbles, to the point that it is nearly opaque. The process itself is intriguing – a homogeneous and refined molten mass (with no air bubbles or impurities) is vigorously mixed in with salts (generally sodium carbonate or bicarbonate) that decompose due to the heat, liberating gases (carbon dioxide) that disperse in the form of bubbles of different sizes.

PVC

Short for polyvinyl chloride, PVC is a biologically and chemically resistant substance that has been combined with additives to make it more malleable. It's commonly used in sewage pipes, window and door frames--even vinyl records.

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