National American Glass Club Spring - Research Report 2009
A very good photo was received of a blown glass lamp. It is unusual, with a vertical interior floral stem that seemed vaguely familiar. I wondered if these motifs might also be found in certain mid-20th century paperweights These colorful floral blooms, with their oval, blown interior bubbles, often exaggerated, must have been created by one special "House" or glass blower. This led me, finally, to three generations of a remarkable family, who brought to this country the art of glass making from Alsace-Lorraine.
consulting a number of books, publications and articles, I finally found that the familiar "floral" look appeared
on objects made at the Saint Clair Glass Works,
Baptiste Singler whose
family named became changed to St. Clair, came to
Baptiste, now St. Clair, went to work in a glass factory, newly built in the 1890s in Elwood by George A Macbeth, one of
the plants he an his partner, Thomas Evans established, singly or together. They had a
two plants were located in this area of
However, son, Joseph L. St. Clair, "Joe", did not move. He and his wife, Ellen, stayed in Elwood. He wanted to increase his hand blown glass production which he was successfully developing at his "Glass House" furnace in his backyard.
In 1941, the
St. Clair family returned from
By the 1950's Joe, with the help of his father and two brothers, developed new colors and molds. The latter were for their new line of pressed pattern glass, a "carnival" ware, a successful addition.
1958, father, John B.
After 1964, a new larger glass works was built and their pressed version of "Carnival" glass "took off." Their blown art glass however remained their best seller.
By 1971, Bob M. St. Clair, built a small "Glass House" Studio in his backyard With the St. Clair brothers, Edward and Paul and nephew, Joe Rice they began again.
Joe St. Clair purchased back the original family glass works which had been sold to Courtney and Gregg Now there were two (2) "Glass House" works by two brothers in Elwood, both growing and doing well into the 1980's.
Joe St. Clair wanted to continue to make his signed Rose paperweights, "which he did most successfully." But then Joe died in 1987 while Bob had died in 1986.
However, this is not the end of St. Clair glass. In 1987, Joe Rice, their nephew reopened "the House of Glass" under the name of, "Joe Rice's House of Glass" which is doing well in Elwood, today.
Joe Rice is a third generation, a great grandson of John B. Singler (St. Clair). He began at the age of 12 working after school with his uncles Joe, Ed, Bob and Paul in their glass works. His love of glass "blossomed" and his many hours of practice have made him very accomplished. When the estates of his two uncles, Joe and Bob, were available in 1987, Joe bought much of the equipment and glass from both. He then could establish his own new "studio."
This is where you will find him today. His assortment of blown glass includes an array of paperweights, blown fruits -- apples, pears, etc.; decorative art glass; bowls, colognes,
penholders and electrical lamps like that in the photo sent to me with this query. Who made the lamp?
This ends the trail, worth undertaking.