Lamb Brothers & Greene

Lamb Brothers & Greene Parade Float
© Thomas Keesling 2014 All Rights Reserved
We see them practically every day but not always acknowledged. Made in big numbers in Nappanee Indiana, Lamb Brothers & Greene produced a vast array of styles in leaded glass. These were economically priced, affordable by many of the general public and on occasion featured clever and in some cases complex designs. In Nappanee, the their lamp business was started to augment an already established assortment of other products; their timing to enter the field was good.

It's a very familiar story during a period when great opportunities existed to capitalize on the growing adoption and increased demand for electric lighting. Electric lighting came a little later in the mid-west as supplies of gas were plentiful and cheap, but things really got moving for the company around 1910 a couple of years after electric leaded lamp production had already started to peak in the east and business prospered until about 1925, a good run.

Company History - Jan Lamb

Jan Lamb, most likely a descendant of the family, provides this brief history of the Lamb family companies in Nappanee and transcripts of newspaper clippings from The Nappanee News comes the following history and it is compiled from these sources.

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 Brothers & Greene Parade Float
© Paul Crist 2017 All Rights Reserved. Motorized Parade Float

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 Brothers & 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 Brothers & Greene, a victim of changing tastes and the Great Depression.

Dorothy Greene

The following is an extract from a document authored by Dorothy Greene. While it includes most of the information above, a few additional details are worth noting. Thanks to Paul Crist for sharing the Dorothy Greene history.

Charles McFall ... was hired and became an outstanding head designer for the leaded lamps. There was a lady named Madeline Campbell who designed lamps also. She was the designer of the "Tiffany" glass lamp shades. It was one of her first jobs and being very talented, though not formally trained, many of her designs were chosen for production. The lamp stands were cast right at the plant out of lead zinc, which was called spelter. This was made from lead, zinc and antimony. They had iron hoses that they would put a pipe through and then plate it with brass in the plating room. The lamp factory did its best business in the late teens.

Advertising in the Press

Saint Louis Furniture News, June 1915
Saint Louis Furniture News, September 1915

A Few Examples

Lamb Brothers label on lamp stem. Lamp with two electrified light sockets. Cream art glass shade with pink flowers and green leaves. Acorn finial at top. Overall height 21.5 inches.

Stained and leaded glass table lamp, Lamb Bros & Greene, circa 1920, unsigned, 17" diameter

Attributed to Lamb Brothers, the bronze vase surmounted by a leaded glass shaded decorated with butterflies and roses.

Lamb Brothers Geometric Table Lamp, 18" diameter with an irregular border decorated with red & green arrowheads 25" High.

Lamb Brothers & Greene Water Lily motif.
Antique electric table lamp made by Lamb Brothers. The lamp has heavy, cast iron base with a brass plated finish and a floral, stripe and diamond design around the top of the base. Towards the top of the stem the lamp is marked with "Lamb Bros. & Greene Nappanee, Ind. Lamb Lamps Are Best." Bottom of the base is marked with 318 in raised numbers. The shade is a leaded glass shade with various shades of caramel slag glass throughout. Measures 8 1/4" in diameter at the bottom of the base, 18 1/2" in diameter at the shade and approximately 22" tall.
Arts & Crafts style leaded glass lamp. The 16 1/4 inch shade has a geometric drop design in pink and green, amber tortoise shell band and a green slag dome. The humble, bronze color metal base has two light sockets, marked with an E mid and arrow and having jingle-bell pulls. Combined height 24 inches.
LEADED GLASS SHADE. Leaded glass lamp shade attributed to Lamb Bros. has butterscotch geometric panels with a border pattern of white and yellow flowers and green leaves encircling the skirt creating an irregular border. Top of the shade around the fitter ring is a band of stylized green leaves. Unsigned. SIZE: 18" dia. CONDITION: Very good to excellent with only a few tight hairlines.
Lamb Brothers Prairie Leaded Glass Lamp. Original base. Measures 17" in diameter and stands 21" tall.
Stained Glass Table Lamp by Lamb Bros. Beige slag glass with red and green highlights Height: 20.00 inches, Width: 16.00 inches
An American Leaded Glass Lamp, attributed to Lamb Brothers,
the domed geometric shade with a foliate lower irregular border, set on a tubular stick base over the oval foot.
Height overall 22 1/4 x diameter of shade 16 1/4 inches.
Lamb Brothers Leaded Lamp
Lamp Brothers geometric leaded glass lamp. Gold finish on base and shade. The shade accent green and red glass really jumps off the shade. Has a lot of sparkle when lit. It measures 16" in diameter and stands 22" tall.
Geometric design shade on bronze base, early 20th c.; Lamb and Greene sticker on base; 23 1/2" x 18"
The shade is a design with neutral tones. Most of these antique leaded lamps have tight heat cracks in them, but I have not noticed any in this shade. It`s open topped and sits on a shade rest then is covered with a copper cap. The base is copper plated iron in really good shape. It has 2 sockets that have paddle key sockets (which are original to the lamp) and has been re-wired with cloth covered cord. It has a loader on the bottom that is covered with felt. The lamp stands 22" tall, the shade is 16 1/4" across and the base is 7 3/4" across.
Leaded stain glass lamp with gilt bronze made by Lamb Bros. & Green of Nappanee, Indiana, ca. 1910, 22 in. Tall.