A lamp may be as much an object of art as a paintingor a piece of statuary. In fact, it should be.
—Tiffany Studios, a company advertisementIn 1903 a strike was brewing at the Tiffany Studios in New York. The menof the Lead Glaziers and Glass Cutters Union were demanding that LouisComfort Tiffany fire Clara Driscoll and thirty-five women who workedfor her in the glass-cutting department. The men complained that Clara’sthirty-five-dollar-a-week salary was a personal affront and that the youngwomen were taking jobs from men who needed to support their families. The men got the dirty work. They assembled the lampshades andsoldered the cut pieces of glass, while Clara’s department designed theshades, selected the glass, and cut the individual segments.
At the encouragement of Thomas Edison, Tiffany had invented theelectric lamp with a decorative stained-glass shade. After being exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the lampsbecame all the rage in the United States and Europe. Ten years later, Tiffany lamps were still in high demand. Tiffany trusted Clara, whose de-The Tiffany Girls at Tiffany Studios, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of
American Art, Winter Park, Florida, © Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation, Inc.