Monday, August 16

1909 Suess Lamp

“The Suess Ornamental Glass Co. was established in 1886 in Chicago, Illinois and specialized in ‘decorative glass of every description.’ Their luxury table lamps represent the highest artistic designs and craftsmanship produced by the firm and featured exquisite balance, color and contour.”
Suess Ornamental leaded lamps were of superb quality, rivaling that of Tiffany, with whom, they were in direct competition. An identical lamp can be found on Click on Suess Ornamental. An illustration of the shade can also be found in page 14 of the 1906 Suess Ornamental Glass catalog, I have included a photo of this page and of the cover of the catalog.
A superb example of Suess Ornamental craftsmanship, and sensitivity to the American Arts & Crafts/Craftsman design aesthetic. This lamp displays a truly graceful and restrained 18.0” diameter, parasol-shaped shade culminating with an almost sensuous, undulating apron. The rich green color at the top gradually transitions to predominantly white mosaic glass tiles with subtle hints of green at the outer edges. The lamp, although unsigned, is clearly identifiable as a Suess lamp of the very finest quality.
The casting and patina of the 21.0” base is flawlessly executed in solid bronze and is superbly matched to the simple flowing shape and style of the shade. The subtle, ribbed flare at the bottom of the base mirror the elegant curves found in the shade. The original patina on the bronze is a deep, rich brown with hints of vertigris, again, complimenting the green in the shade.
For what I must assume to be safety reasons, the lamp cord has been replaced some time in the past, prior to my ownership, with a high-end, appropriate to the period, silk-wrapped cord. The brown plug appears to be a modern replacement.
The lamp base is equipped with a typical Suess Ornamental quality, heavy, cast-bronze, three-socket light cluster with a flared, trumpet-shaped wiring cup, mirroring the shape of the bottom of the base. There are three circular heat-venting holes radiating around the heavy cast-bronze body of the cup.
Three correct and original “raised” HUBBEL light sockets, complete with their original acorn pulls are attached to the cup. (“raised” refers to the embossed word HUBBEL under the chain guide.) This clearly dates the sockets to the period of 1905 to 1909.) These all original sockets and pulls operate smoothly and shown the proper care, should last for many more years.
The 3.5” diameter, heavy, cast-bronze heat cap with it’s integral finial and massive 5/8 diameter threaded screw post is typical of the very best Suess Ornamental Glass lamp bases. It is this high quality and costly method of attaching the leaded lamp shade to its base is one of the primary identifying characteristics of Suess leaded lamps. The rich bronze patination matches the rest of the base.

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