twelfth century French queens vied to be included on it with the saints. The 18th century thought it barbaric and would don’t have anything to do with it. Center class nineteenth century Victorian householders couldn’t think about an appropriate dwelling with out it. What was it? Why it was stained glass, in fact, the important high quality that turned a easy rowhome into one thing particular, a contact of gentility and sophistication that mentioned good style. And in Allentown and locations across the Lehigh Valley when stained glass was considered, a minimum of since 1903 it has been Neff-Chattoe & Firm that many individuals turned to. Just lately Brandon Wunder, Allentown native, artist and photographer, has filmed a documentary on Neff-Chattoe that was proven on April fifteenth on the Arthaus on Hamilton Avenue. He has been working carefully with Ray Cole, who has run the enterprise since 1981. For the documentary Wunder has been filming round Allentown a few of the many native tasks the corporate has performed in its over 110-year existence.
Stained glass has been round since historic occasions. Some credit score the Close to East because the place the place it was first seen. This was performed for vases and different delicate objects. By the first century AD rich residents of historic Rome thought it the peak of style to have a small stained-glass window of their properties. However the period most related to stained glass home windows is the Gothic cathedrals of the Center Ages. Historian Henry Adams in his traditional guide Mont St. Michel and Charters believed the latter church’s huge round Rose Window represented the excessive level of the artwork kind:
“It’s the crowning glory of Charters…different church buildings have glass-quantities of it, and really fine-but we’ve been attempting to catch a glimpse of the glory that stands behind the glass of Charters, that offers it high quality and feeling of its personal.”
Adams notes that two French queens are depicted in glass in Charters home windows, and he senses their presence depicts a rivalry between the 2, every one evoking the Virgin Mary to her facet. As romantic because it all sounds, likelihood is good that the glass was a minimum of partially helpful to inform the story of the New Testomony to a inhabitants that might not neither learn or write.
With the rise of the Reformation within the seventeenth century and the Age of Purpose within the 18th century, stained glass went into an eclipse. Many Reformers believed that the glass inspired worship of saints somewhat than Christ. The truth that it was used primarily in Catholic church buildings made it extremely suspect. The 18th century noticed itself as a tradition that most well-liked mild to darkness and the previous musty church buildings have been simply the other of their mind-set. The extra excessive radicals of the French Revolution smashed the stained-glass home windows and stabled horses in cathedrals. To worth stained glass was seen on the very least as superstitious.
It took the so-called Romantic motion of the nineteenth century to see a worth in stained glass. Amongst its main advocates was Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, favourite architect of the French empress Eugenie de Montijo, spouse of Napoleon III who dominated France from the 1850s to the 1870s. Though his experiments and theories are regarded on as suspect at present they did revive curiosity. In England at roughly the identical time there was a response in opposition to the Industrial Revolution that sparked an curiosity in all issues having to do with hand craftsmanship, together with stained glass making. And from there it started to unfold to America.
The post- Civil Struggle period started a powerful curiosity in stained glass right here that was sparked by John LaFarge and Louis Consolation Tiffany. LaFarge was a grasp of a number of artwork varieties, however his stained glass was notably placing. He was of French background and had studied in Paris.
“His work rivaled the fantastic thing about medieval home windows,” notes one supply, “and added new assets by his use of opalescent glass and by his authentic strategies of layering and welding glass. Opalescent glass been makes use of for hundreds of years for tableware, but it surely by no means had been shaped in flat sheets to be used in stained glass home windows…”
Tiffany was the son of New York jeweler Charles Tiffany. His stained glass screens have been quickly adorning properties throughout the nation. President Chester A. Arthur had a few of his glass screens put in within the White Home’s East Room. It was in all probability tough to discover a dwelling in America with out a Tiffany lamp with a stained-glass shade. One of the widespread featured a dragonfly design. It could have been impressed by a summer season canal boat journey Tiffany took on the Lehigh and Delaware canals in 1886.
If America had an Independence Day for its home stained glass trade, November 10, 1879 would have been a good selection. On that day LaFarge filed the primary patent software for opalescent glass for home windows. It was granted as No. 224,831 on February 24, 1880.
It was Melvin Neff’s luck to reach on the scene simply as America’s stained glass future was dawning. Born in Slatington on September 15, 1873 he attended Slatington public faculties earlier than relocating to Allentown. He realized his stained glass-making abilities in 1886 as an apprentice in Philadelphia the place he lived till 1900. One supply means that he met his future enterprise companion John Chattoe, a French Canadian, in Harrisburg. From 1902 to 1906 the present state capitol constructing was below development and the variety of stained glass tasks it included actually may have drawn many artists to the capital.
Because it was Chattoe solely briefly stayed with Neff as a enterprise companion, however his title was by no means faraway from the corporate. However there is no such thing as a argument that they began their enterprise in Allentown in 1903 at 34 North seventh road. It could have a variety of areas through the years. Maybe probably the most detailed account of what the early days there was like appeared within the Morning Name in 1913:
“The opining just lately at No. 33 North 10TH Avenue of the handsomely appointed workplaces of the Neff-Chattoe and Firm, producers of art- stained glass, memorial home windows, and metallic sash- calls consideration to one of many busiest of Allentown’s most distinctive industries. Heretofore the workplaces of the bustling firm have been headquartered on the manufacturing unit at 431 N. Howard Avenue, and the truth that it had this location there as a thriving trade that offers employment to a variety of expert workmen was identified however little outdoors the constructing trades and contractors by whom a considerable amount of the output was dealt with.
Attracted by the flowery show of stained glass on the new workplaces, the Morning Name dropped in on Melvin B. Neff, head of the agency, the opposite day to seek out Mr. Neff busily engaged over a draughting desk in a memorial window quickly to adorn a church edifice. To study that this metropolis is ready to boast of an trade the place a memorial stained glass window is manufactured full from an preliminary drawing via the processes to the completed home windows, able to be put in, got here as considerably of a shock to the reporter, and an attention-grabbing journey to the manufacturing unit adopted throughout which the scribe realized a factor or two. The in depth use to which leaded glass is being put in current day constructing operations has created a requirement for the product and it’s matter of pleasure that Allentown provides to its contractors and builders the benefits of a prepared supply.”
The reporter went on to notice the in depth use of leaded glass that Neff-Chattoe had contributed to the then new H. Leh and Firm division retailer, and a stained-glass window for a church depicting Christ holding a Lamb. He expressed fascination of how each bit of glass was fitted on a diagram that resembled a jigsaw puzzle. “The identical course of follows for each piece of labor turned out. Be it glass for the best transom to an elaborate designed window to grace the stairway, library or lounge of a mansion.”
As Allentown constructing was booming in these years, so was Neff-Chattoe. However like many issues good occasions didn’t final perpetually. In 1935 within the coronary heart of the Nice Melancholy Melvin Neff declared chapter however bounced again a yr later and the enterprise as soon as extra revived.
On October 5, 1945 Melvin Neff, age 72, handed away after an sickness of 4 months. He was succeeded by his son, Eugene Neff. In 1981 longtime worker Ray Cole took over. Few companies at present can supply an extended monitor document than that.