Biography:Tom Kretzschmar

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Tom Kretzschmar (born July 21, 1957) is an United States inventor and entrepreneur. He created the Contour Lighting Projector,[1] used primarily in art lighting projects, and a lighting mechanism[2] for adjustable shelving. He is also the owner of Illuminations Lighting Design, a Houston-based lighting design company, and Phantom Lighting, an art lighting supplier also based in Houston.


Kretzschmar’s contour lighting projector design [3] includes a housing mechanism that allows for installation in the ceiling. Using a proprietary lensing technology, the contour lighting projector is made to enhance artwork and sculpture displays. Like many projectors, Kretzschmar’s contour projector design can be altered with the use of masking templates that change how the projector performs. Kretzschmar’s proprietary adjustable shelf lighting design is not dependent on a shelving configuration, unlike traditional wired lighting systems, which are made to fit a single shelving convention. Instead of using the hard wiring found in traditional lighting technologies, Kretzschmar’s adjustable shelf lighting design uses bus bars as a primary shelf support. The bus bars are attached to brass contact pads, which conduct electricity delivered from the bus bars to the lighting fixture.

Electrical career

Kretzschmar credits his electrical career for providing the foundation for his inventions. After working for several lighting businesses, Kretzschmar moved into a steady role with Rulon Electric, a Houston-based contractor. During his time with Rulon, Kretzschmar worked on high-end residential lighting installations. This experience inspired Kretzschmar to improve on lighting technologies that were non-standardized. It was during this time that Kretzschmar invented adjustable shelving lighting technology and the contour lighting projector. In 1981, Kretzschmar founded Phantom Lighting, an art lighting supplier that provides his proprietary technologies to installers. Kretzschmar currently serves as the CEO of Phantom Lighting.

In 2008, Kretzschmar and his lighting design company was selected to complete the gemini ii conservation and lighting redesign at Jessie H. Jones Hall.[4]

Personal life

Kretzschmar lives in Bellaire, Texas with his wife Lisa and two children, Hannah and Sam. He graduated from Bellaire High School in 1975, and from Southwest Texas State University in 1980.


1. US Patent Office 2.Google

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