On a small street in the French Quarter of New Orleans sits a non-descript store front, which is home to one of finest copper lantern makers on the globe, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights.
Andrew Bevolo, Sr. opened his light company in the French Quarter in 1945 based on the skills he had learned working at several leading manufacturers of the day, including Ford, Sikorsky, and Higgins. Bevolo took this knowledge and revolutionized the gas lantern industry with a hand riveting technique. Up until that time, gas lamps were made with brittle soldered joints, which greatly reduced the longevity of the lanterns.
A few years later, renowned architect A. Hays Town found his way to Bevolo’s workshop, and the two formed a partnership and the iconic French Quarter copper lantern was born.
Sixty-eight years later, the company is now run by Drew Bevolo, grandson to the founder. Today the company has 40 employees and its famed hand-made copper lanterns can be found on some of the most discriminating homes and commercial buildings in all 50 states and in 28 countries.
Bevolo now boasts scores of different lantern designs, and can also custom design a lamp on request, working with its own designers or a project’s architect. Each lantern is still made by hand and in Louisiana — and is sure to age gracefully and beautifully with each passing year.
Craftsmanship and artistry are words that have increasingly become lost in today’s flat world, where instant gratification and demands for the lowest price now rule the day. But too much focus on low price can come at a price. It penalizes creativity, it trivializes design, and it rewards mediocrity.
Applaud and shine light on the artists and creators, and those among us who continue to honor the old way of doing things. Celebrate their individualism and patina.