Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights
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Ever wonder where those great old gas fixtures in the French Quarter come from? They're all the work of Drew Bevolo, his uncle, or his grandfather. Since 1945, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights has been producing the distinctive copper lanterns that grace the Cabildo, Jackson Square, Brennan's Restaurant, The Omni Royal Orleans, and hundreds of other buildings and courtyards. Still based in the Vieux Carre, the business has grown to include customers in 50 states and 26 countries, with each fixture still individually hand-crafted and hand-riveted by coppersmiths schooled in traditional methods of metalworking. Beginning with solid sheets of copper, the craftsmen use shears, templates, and old machinery to fashion the dozens of established styles or new designs requested by architects and designers.
Andrew Bevolo, Sr., started the business just after World War II. He had been working with Andrew Higgins building PT boats and decided to open a small shop where he could use his coppersmith skills to repair old fixtures. At that time, New Orleanians were bringing gas lanterns from London, where they had been made with soldered seams, and he had the idea of using rivets by hand as an alternative, since commercially soldered lights come apart over time. Hand riveting was a great innovation that is still used today--a major contribution to the history of gas lighting.
Andrew Bevolo, Sr., who had worked at Ford
Motor Company and later, helped build the first Sikorsky helicopter,
was a master craftsman whose abilities were soon discovered by
leading architects such as Richard Koch, Samuel Wilson, Jr. and
A. Hays Town. In fact the design of the now-famous French Quarter
fixture found on all the street lamps is attributed to Town, who
happened to be passing the shop one day and heard the sound of
the smiths at work upstairs. Needing gas fixtures for the campus
of what is now LSU Lafayette, Town worked with Andrew Bevolo to
design the new lantern, which came to be used throughout the French
Quarter, thus earning its renowned name. Designs of great local
and national architects and designers have become part of Bevolo's
standard line, and still come to Bevolo with new designs for fabrication,
others for advice about which fixtures would complement their
building. Bevolo works with individual customers too, helping
them select the right size and style. Clients send photos, elevations,
or plans and a recommendation is made based on the intent of the
Not to compromise quality, Bevolo still produces everything by hand--no shortcuts. The lanterns are works of art. The French Quarter style is the most popular, but the London street lamps, colonial Williamsburg fixtures, and traditional coach house lanterns are equally handsome. All lanterns are lifetime fixtures with an antique copper finish. Bevolo never discontinues a style and will take care of the lights as long as you own them. There's not another lighting company like this in the country.
To learn more, or view Bevolo's online catalog of hand-made electric and gas lighting, click here.