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Jacoby Art Glass

September 30, 2009
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Our building has had several reincarnations. It is a credit to its builder that is has lived on beyond its original purpose. It has been fascinating to learn about the people and the work done here.

When the technological changes in the telephone industries resulted in Bell divesting of 822 Wilmington, its next owner, Jacoby Art Glass, made their home in the building for the next 25+ years. There is a very good website that documents the work of the studio over the years: http://www.tropicalsails.com/jacobyoppliger/

Here is the passage that mentions the studio purchasing the building:

“In anticipation, and because of a fire at 2700 St. Vincent, after many political meetings, he succeeded in purchasing a former telephone building in a residential area near his home, at 822 Wilmington Avenue under a special use permit. Accordingly, the firm moved there in 1945, and in 1946 things began to “boom,” and the studio couldn’t keep up with the demand.”

St. Louis was a kind of a hub of Stained Glass production and Jacoby is one of several firms that have a well respected history.  We have discovered remnants of their work both in the construction of the building as well as the artifacts they have left behind. We think the ‘office’ area was likely initially built by the Jacoby folks, given the 50’s vintage look of the casework and the area of flat files. There are also two examples of a type of ‘faceted glass’ Jacoby apparently experimented with in the 60’s.

“Faceted glass was coming in, and after first rejecting it as too cumbersome (requiring steel reinforcing for the concrete). We were introduced to epoxy compounds by Bob Benes, who was a chemist with our cement (waterproofing) and putty supplier. He was starting his Benesco Company, and we made a number of samples to learn the technique. Now all we had to do was convince a client to utilize this new material, and more importantly, with us. Our first such installation was in a small Methodist Church in Chillicothe, Missouri. Not long thereafter, in 1961, we furnished and installed the 23 ft. diameter faceted glass skylight in the S1. Louis Chancery Office, designed by Ernoe Koch.”

We believe the glass skylight and glass door panel are likely this type of installation. There are a few leaks but they are probably a result of the deferred roof maintenance- the water is coming through the flashing. The leaks don’t appear to be coming through the glass.

Faceted Glass Skylight

Another remnant of the stained glass studio was a pile of drawings we found in the basement. They are large scale sketches of window designs. We hung one example for exhibit at our open house party.

Stained GLass Window Sketch

At some point, we will go through the stack carefully and try to document where they are from, as much as is possible. There are some lovely drawings. It is interesting to see how the designs start with geometric patterns which are fleshed out with more organic elements like the lily in this drawing.

We love finding these kinds of relics. It brings the history of the place alive with objects created by the people that came before us in this place. We are looking forward to figuring out how we can restore and incorporate the things we find into our design.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary J permalink
    October 15, 2018 9:36 pm

    My surname was Jacoby and, until I got involved in stained glass painting around 2012, I never knew about the jacoby Stained Glass business that was in St. Louis. A lady who had a stained glass shop had one of the large beautiful New Testament “cartoons” in her shop, plus the huge stained glass window of this. I don’t know if she had replicated it or if it was the original. Their huge windows are beautiful.

  2. Janet Harrington permalink
    March 12, 2018 11:10 am

    Our First Presbyterian Church in McAlester, Oklahoma, has stained glass windows contracted to Jacoby Art Glass in St. Louis on November of 1923. Any information on these? I can send pictures if that would help. J. Harrington

    • Sue permalink*
      March 12, 2018 11:29 am

      We’d love to see photos of your windows!

  3. Barbara permalink
    November 13, 2016 9:29 pm

    Sue, thank you for sharing the darwing & Jacoby history. Possibly any of the drawings for a stained glass window depicting Saint Barbara? Our church, The Old Post Chapel, Ft Sill, OK has just learned from the Stained Glass Association of America that our Saint Barbara window was created by Jacoby Art Glass. Fortunately, the window and church name are on a list among archived papers. Unfortunately, no further details.As you can imagine, your post has me hoping there may be something more. If helpful, I can send a picture or http://www.17thartilleryregiment.org/wp/saint-barbara/ has one of the window.

    • Sue permalink*
      March 8, 2017 7:58 pm

      Barbara- in the project listing that Bill Oppliger shared, I don’t see Ft Sill or Lawton, OK listed. They had a branch office in Texas for a while. It might have been produced out of there. Sorry I couldn’t offer more assistance!

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