Edward F. Caldwell and Victor F. von Lossberg founded Edward F. Caldwell & Company in 1894 in New York City. They became the most prominent manufacturers of custom lighting fixtures and metalwork in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Their success was due to their ability to incorporate popular and eclectic styles from French Neoclassical to Art Deco into their designs for electric lighting fixtures.
Since they worked with the leading architects of the day, Caldwell lighting fixtures and decorative metalwork appeared in many major building projects, including the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Andrew Carnegie's mansion (now home to Cooper Hewitt), and the 1902 renovation of the White House. For these projects, architectural plans would be brought in and drawings and occasionally models would be created. By the 1920s, Caldwell & Company had one of the largest foundries in New York City. They were one of the few American firms that mastered the techniques for applying enamel decorations to metalwork and were renowned for their casting and gilding of bronze. They produced fine metalwork objects such as tables, lamps, clocks, desk sets, fire screens, and statues.
All items were custom made with few exceptions. Due to the Depression, the firm was forced to scale down their operation. The company was liquidated by the Internal Revenue Service in 1956, but reorganized and reemerged that same year as E.T. Caldwell Lighting Company. The Plastic Illuminating Company was a subsidiary of the Caldwell Lighting Company. The company eventually went out of business entirely in 1959.