The story behind E.S. Horn starts in 1952, where the small family business began producing lamps in Aalestrup, in Jutland. By 1963, they had changed their name to Horn Belysning (Horn Lighting), and produced a wide range of lights – not particularly well-known designs.
Up through the 1960s and 1970s, Horn Belysning grew bigger and bigger, and in the 1980s they were second-largest company in Denmark. The customers included IKEA, FDB (Danish Consumers Co-operative Society) and various German retail chains. The product line was a mix of own designs and lights bought, and manufactured in China – among other the famous rice-paper lamp from IKEA.
When the opportunity came to buy Lyskær-Lyfa A/S in 1991, Horn Belysning could not pass on it, and managed to get more renowned designs in their portfolio (mainly cause Lyfa owned the ABO Randers brand and the Fog & Mørup brand). The portfolio now included the famous and very expensive Kongelys lamp (originally produced by Fog & Mørup). E.S. Horn reproduced the light in limited editions on two occasions.
The 1990s was the decade of declining sales, as the market changed and competitors, as Herstal and Massive made it difficult for Horn. Horn moved the production to Asia, the collaboration with the major customer IKEA ended, and other customers in the retail industry began importing directly from Asia. The main shareholder, Harald Horn died in 1998, and a new investor Søren Stensdal and Stensdal Holding entered the company. The financial situation was still serious, and the different brands are terminated to cut costs, and new business strategies were developed. The ownership in Horn Belysning was 50/50 between Stensdal holding (Søren Stensdal) and Jan Horn (the former owner of Horn Belysning). In 2003, Jan Horn sold his 50 % of the company to Stensdal Holding, who became sole owner.
In 2005, Horn Belysning needed to change, and sold the outdoor lighting production to Nordlux. The indoor lighting production was relaunched at Copenhagen International Furniture Fair in May 2005, under the new company name Lightyears. The focus was new designers and design for the high-end segment. Lightyears is located in Aarhus, in Jutland, and owned by Stensdal Group A/S.