Peerless history

Over a Century of Lighting Innovation

The original Peerless Light Company was founded in Chicago in 1892 by three immigrant brothers. All three were inventors, holding some 50 patents among them, and the company developed and manufactured a number of their original ideas. By the 1920s, Peerless had expanded, with operations in Chicago, New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco.

During the Depression Samuel Herst, son of one of the founders, successfully reorganized the company, and by the 1950s Peerless had produced its first patented uplighting fixture, a fluorescent luminaire designed for classrooms. This was the beginning of a revolution that has led to widespread use of indirect lighting in educational environments and office workplaces.

Sam's son Doug joined the company in 1965, and was instrumental in the development of luminaires designed around contemporary architectural forms. With their crisp, clean lines and names like "beam," "truss" and "duct," the designs had great appeal among architects and designers, providing further impetus to the advancement of indirect lighting.

To ensure that the quality of light produced by these linear systems matched the caliber of their design and construction, Peter Ngai, a young engineer with a genius for optics, was hired by Peerless in 1976. Peter’s intimate knowledge of light itself - how to measure it, control it, bend and disperse it - has been central to our mission of providing the highest quality "lighting for people."

In the spring of 1999 Peerless became part of Acuity Lighting Group, providing the resources to expand our research and development efforts and move into new segments of architectural lighting. In 2005, Peerless moved its production from its Berkeley, California facility, to its Garrett, Indiana and Monterrey, Mexico facilities. Today we continue to pursue the design and manufacture of lighting products that are truly peerless - without equal.