Colorful, bright, intricate, detailed and vibrant, are the words that come to one's mind with the thought of a Tiffany lamp. These artworks have adorned the interiors of our beloved spaces for years. However, only a little is known about them to most of us.
The art of making these lamps is about a hundred years old, which is kept alive even today. These designs are enigmatic, hypnotic, and surely the ones that you would want to adorn your walls with. But do you know how this really started?
Who Started It?
The famous Tiffany and Co, a jewelry firm has another interesting claim to fame. The founder of this jewelry store, Charles Lewis Tiffany's elder son Louis Comfort Tiffany, had a more creative side to him than his father. His love for art drove him to steer a little away from his family business of jewelry designing.
He used bits and pieces of stained glasses that were thrown away to turn them into home decor items. He started his own glass foundry to make stained glass pieces, to make the real life lamps match his imagination.
Production of Lamps
Tiffany's creative mind always kept him on his toes in order to meet the demands of an art loving crowd. While fixing his first lamp at a movie theater, he met Thomas Edison. The duo later collaborated to make several other light fixtures.
The eclectic colors of the Tiffany stained glasses were carefully hand-fitted into copper foil enclosures, to keep them light weight and sturdy at the same time. The complex designs of his lamps were produced with the help of several skilled craftsmen, and an artist who was later recognized as Clara Driscoll.
Favrile, is a type of glass that is linked with Tiffany's lamps. Opalescent glass, streamer glass, fracture glass, fracture-streamer glass, ripple glass, ring mottle glass, and drapery glass are the types of glasses that Tiffany used to make his lamps. He made a clever use of each of the features of these glasses, to make the light transmission eye catchy.
Besides being a writer of Tiffany lamps history, Louis Comfort Tiffany was a painter, interior designer, collector, world traveler, photographer, manufacturer and an avid gardener. He truly was an ardent student of art that still remains invisible to our eyes.
He produced the first stained glass window in 1878 under his own company, Louis C. Tiffany & Co . Later, the name of his company was changed to Tiffany Studios. His esteemed clientele includes the presidential White House, Mark Twain and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Nautilus, Dragonfly and Tyler Scroll, were some of the famously used patterns on the Tiffany lamps. With his father's connections and his novel designs, Tiffany's business flourished amongst the rich and wealthy, who could afford his art. Louis retired in 1919 from his company, but held the President's position till he died at age of 85 in 1933.