Louis Tiffany rejected the idea of joining his father’s business. He decided to be a painter, and his water color and oil paintings became famous. Louis loved travelling, and his paintings were influenced by his travels, especially when he became interested in painting medieval glass. Consequently, he became more interested in interior designs. He aspired and aimed to popularize the level of decorating art to the level of fine art. Soon, he was successful in his efforts and gained recognition by decorating the White House and the houses of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Mark Twain. The interior designs created by L. Tiffany particularly included skillfully crafted stained-glass for windows.
During 1885, Louis established his company and continued focusing on techniques of glass making, and included glass in shades of colors that had not been used or seen. Simultaneously, he started working in association with Edison, who was preparing the lighting arrangements for Lyceum, the earliest movie theater. Edison’s latest invention of that time, the filament bulb, further encouraged Tiffany to experiment with lamps. He produced superb minute glass windows with stained glass that worked as lampshades for filament bulbs, which illuminated stained glass during the day as well as the night. And that’s what led to the birth of the Tiffany Lamp.
These lamps continued to be produced from 1885 to 1920. They typically had elaborate bases made from bronze and uniquely stained shades of glass. By 1933, when Tiffany died, the lamps did not remain so popular, mainly due to the change in artistic tastes, with people considering these to be too gaudy. Nevertheless, during an exhibition of Tiffany’s Lamps in 1958, these lamps became popular once gain, and individual collectors and museums renewed their interest in these lamps. Today, you will need to pay more that two million dollars (U.S.) for procuring an original lamp from Tiffany.
These days you can find lamps in Tiffany-style at many department stores. Usually, they comprise of a graceful brass base with a decorative shade made from a number of glass pieces in varying colors, sizes and shapes. Some shades have random designs, but many come with distinctive designs.
You can gauge how popular the lamps in Tiffany style are from the fact that many reproductions are made using colored plastic as a substitute for glass just to bring down the prices. It is difficult to imagine how Tiffany would have reacted to this! But let us appreciate the man who more than a hundred years ago created a simple device that keeps adding to the beauty of our homes until the current date.