Tuesday, October 23

Lamb Brothers Lamps of Nappanee, Indiana & History

In Jan Lamb’s brief history of the Lamb family companies in Nappanee and transcripts of newspaper clippings from The Nappanee News comes the following history & it is compiled from this information.

'In March 1900, George L. Lamb moved his brush, easel, and novelty factory from Goshen to a former furniture factory in Nappanee, Indiana.  In September 1903, Lamb added a two-story addition and dry kiln to the former furniture factory.  Lamb constructed a new building for his novelty furniture business in late 1906.
In July 1908, Lamb displayed a selection of mission lamps at a Chicago merchandising show.  Lamb’s mission lamps sold well.  Wishing to capture a portion of the growing leaded shade lamp market, George L. Lamb, David Lamb, and H. B. Greene created a new business entity to manufacture art glass shades in April 1909.  A newly built, three-story factory building, located on Jackson Street, housed the factory.
George L. Lamb continued as sole owner of his novelty furniture business as well as serving as a partner in the new enterprise.  George’s brother David moved from Los Angeles to manage the new factory.  Harry B. Greene, George Lamb’s son-in-law, was the assistant cashier of the Farmers & Traders Bank.  J.C. Newsom of Louisville, KY, was hired to head marketing.
Forty workers were employed.  The October 5, 1910 issue of The Nappanee News reported: “The elegant styles and finish of their goods is finding a market for them in Texas and Canada, as well as in nearly all the states of the Union…They operate two dynamos, one used in the plating process room and the other for lighting the factory.  They also have their own gas plant which furnishes fire for the bench men in the soldering room….”

Lamb Bros. & Greene initially imported art glass shade designers and craftsmen from Chicago.  Charles McFall, a graduate of the Chicago Art Institute, remained in Nappanee, eventually marrying Charles Lamb’s youngest daughter Mabel Irene.   Madeline Campbell also designed Tiffany-style lamps for the company.  One of Campbell’s designs was inspired by a robin’s nest containing four eggs in a tree outside her window.  Campbell’s red and white stripe and blue shield with stars design was removed from inventory when the United States government complained about Lamb Bros. & Greene’s commercialization of the flag.
George Lamb withdrew from Lamb Bros. & Green in 1925.  As tastes shifted from art glass to silk lamp shades, business declined.  To help make ends meet, the company did plating for outside contractors.  In June 1931, a receiver sold the real estate and personal property of Lamb Bros. & Greene, a victim of changing tastes and the Great Depression.'

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