Some of the most unique and beautiful lamps that have come into the shop at House of Andala are called St. Clair Lamps. These lamps are extraordinary examples of art glass and have an Indiana connection.
In the late 19th century glass artisan John St. Clair and his wife Rosalie came to the United States from the Alsace-Lorrain region in France. At the time, they were escaping the turmoil that occurred with the German annexation of that part of France. They later moved to Elwood, Indiana where the glass industry was booming thanks to an ample supply of natural gas and quality local sand in the area.
In Elwood, a company called MacBeth Evans opened a large glass facility. John and his son John (Pop) and a number of Pop’s five sons went to work for the company, where they were encouraged to practice, invent and create after regular working hours. The St. Clair sons took advantage of this to perfect the art of intricate glass flower design which was a big part of their native country’s culture.
When the gas boom faded in 1938 all of the St. Clair’s moved to Dunbar West Virginia, except Pop’s son Joe. Joe and his wife Ellen remained in Elwood to start his own modest glass making business and to continue developing and practicing his designs and ideas. In 1941 the whole St. Clair family returned to Elwood and soon after the end of World War II the family began producing their own handmade art glass as the St. Clair Glass company. The business grew and flourished with some large accounts like Marshall-Fields in Chicago.|
In the 1960’s Joe, who took over the plant when Pop died in 1958, started experimenting with color and molds. This started a new pressed glass era for St. Clair Glass. By the mid 1960’s Joe St. Clair’s carnival glass was a great success.
The business was sold in 1971. At that time, Bob and Ed St. Clair (two of Pop’s other sons) along with Joe Rice (their nephew) left St. Clair glass to start their own company, The House of Glass, which is also in Elwood, Indiana.
Here are four St. Clair lamps that House of Andala has refurbished recently.
The owners of these lamps trusted us to clean, polish and rewire the lamps, which are very valuable today. Now a collector’s item, a full-size St. Clair table lamp can be worth $800 to $1,000 and more.