Tiffany Lamps, more than just lamps!

Tiffany lamps are the lamps which are made by the same technique as how stained glass windows are made. A design is drawn and serves as the glass cutting pattern. All the edges of each single cut piece of glass are framed in a thin copper foil. These pieces are soldered together making the final lamp shade. Glass lamp shades made in this way are very stable. 

We see ‘Tiffany lamps’ in all sorts, forms and prizes and every lamp shop has at least some of them in the assortment. They come in a wide variety like floor lamps, bureau lamps and table lamps and all of them in many different colors, shapes and designs.
A 'Tiffany lamp' is not only a light source, it is a piece of art as well, and therefor these lamps are very popular for interior decoration. 

Louis Comfort Tiffany

When we go back to the roots of these lamps and want to know why they are called 'Tiffany lamps', we have to go back more than a hundred years ago.
This type of lamp was first made at ‘Tiffany Studios’. 
Tiffany Studios was the company of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848 – 1933). He was the son of the founder of the well known company Tiffany & Co, New York.    

A reproduction of one of the first models of Tiffany
The Nautilus lamp

Louis Tiffany showed great interest in art and started as a painter. At the age of 23 he was already a famous artist and a member of the National Academy.
From 1865, after a trip to Europe, he became also interested in glass art and the making of glass. He started as an interior designer and became well known for his glass paintings and stained glass windows.

Since he couldn’t find the glass, what he wished for his creations, he started in 1885 making his own types of glass. This led to totally new types of glass like the famous ‘Favrile’ glass. But he made also the glass types named Drapery glass, Ripple glass, Fracture glass, Streamer glass and many more. 
The Magnolia Floor lamp

All these glass types were in the beginning used for creating his stained glass windows. Many of his famous designs were based on the natural world and his new glass types, with there special textures, were used to emphasize the natural element in his designs.     

The first lamp, as what we now know as Tiffany Lamps, was made in 1895. 
Although Louis Tiffany was a gifted artist the most beautiful lamps from his company came from the hand of Clara Driscoll. She was the manager of his glass cutting section and start to work for Tiffany Studios in 1897.

By 1906, Tiffany Studios had developed more than 300 lamp shade designs. His lamps were an immediate hit with the wealthy class, who could afford them. Famous Tiffany Lamps are the Magnolia, the Wisteria, the Nautilus and the Dragonfly.

The Flying Lady lamp

In 1918 Louis Comfort Tiffany retired, but still kept a close watch on his company and its craftsmen. 
In the 1920s, the Tiffany Lamp began to fall out of style. The art nouveau style of the first twenty years of the 20th century was not popular anymore and new styles of lamps were favored.
Nowadays the original Tiffany Lamps are worth a fortune and are found in musea and personal collections all over the world. 

Tiffany Studios didn't only made Tiffany Lamps but also other types of lamps like lamps with blown shades and many other products for the interior. Nowadays, however, most (or many) people call lamps 'tiffany lamps' when they are talking about the stained glass type of lamps. 
They are also called tiffany style lamps which in fact is a better name than just ‘tiffany lamps’. 
Floor lamp with blown favrile glass lamp shades (Tiffany Studios)

The Wisteria shade lamp

Many people like tiffany style lamps, either reproductions of original models, or totally new designs. In a relatively dark interior, with much wood, they really fit and it doesn’t matter if that is a living room, a restaurant or a pool billiard cafe. 

There are also numerous hobbyists in the world who like to make tiffany style lamps for there hobby. For them there are specialized hobby shops who supply all the different glasses and the other materials that you need to make them.

Some people adore tiffany style lamps others don't like them at all. Personally I belong to the group of people who doesn't admire these type of lamps. However, I must say with the story of the pioneer Louis Comfort Tiffany in my head and knowing now how these lamps are made, it makes me respect the people who make these lamps out of numerous pieces of different colored glass and soldering them all together. From the original tiffany lamps I think that the Flying Lady and the Nautilus are special pieces of art.

On the internet you can find many people who sell tiffany style lamps and it is worthwhile to have a look at the following sites to get a good impression: 
Tiffany style lamps are very popular so this manufacturer made this funny Coca Cola lamp out of plastic. I don't think Louis Comfort Tiffany would have liked that his idea would ever show up like this!

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