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. An interesting fact in the Tiffany lamp's history is that they are recognized as a part of the Art Nouveau movement, which encourages artists to make art an integral part of ordinary life. 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. After pursuing watercolor paintings, he turned his attention to interior decoration in the 1880s. It was he who designed these gorgeous lamps by using stained glass pieces. 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. In order to make the colors of the lamp more bright and impactful to the eye, he used different methods to process the glass. This eventually gave him an opportunity to patent four new types of glasses over the span of 20 years. 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.
Types of Glasses
Louis Tiffany produced several kinds of glasses that allowed him to play with myriad colors to make those hypnotic lamps. Favrile, is a type of glass that is famously associated 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 noteworthy. He made a clever use of each of the characteristics 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.