A Beauty by Gill Glass

Gill Glass & Fixture Company was located on Amber Street in Philadelphia, and occupied most of the block between East Tioga and East Venango Streets. The factory backed up against rail lines, as was common, and there would have been a rail spur leading directly to Gill loading docks.

The Gill buildings are extant, although they look a lot less attractive than they did as pictured, proudly, in Gill catalogs. The immediate area around the factory was all housing (and still is), and it can be assumed that many of these homeowners worked for Gill – an easy commute.

All this seems like an ancient time, a lost age far, far away when America actually made stuff. Quality stuff, too. And when people didn’t have long commutes to work, and when railroads were powerful and important. Sigh.


The Gill Glass factory.
The Gill Glass factory. See all the empty land? In reality that was, and is, filled with housing


The factory today.
The factory today.


This is the housing directly across the street.
This is the housing directly across the street. Most of these houses would have likely been occupied by Gill factory workers.


Gill Glass produced some truly incredibly lighting from the 1920s to at least the 1950s. The glass on their fixtures was particularly notable.

Today, I listed a chandelier which just takes my breath away. It was first produced in the late 1930s, and was sold, I believe, until the early 1950s. The fixture was from Gill’s Bellaire series, which offered six models. In 1949, the chandelier was priced at $25.68. I know, you laugh, but that was WAY expensive! This was during an era when a new car was $1,600, gas was 26 cents a gallon, and a nice house was $14,000.

Hard to imagine.

Just stunning.
Just stunning.


Oh my.
Oh my.


Who does such work today?


So, to all the fine men and women who worked at the Gill Glass factory, and lived across the street raising families, I salute your fine, fine work. Your art.

Your efforts lives on. Thank you.


My online vintage lighting store.

13 Responses to A Beauty by Gill Glass

  1. Do you sell vintage globes or know a of good sources for globe replacements? I have a wonderful ceiling light fixture from the 1920s, however the beautiful glass globe broke. Although I saved the broken pieces, it’s likely too fragmented to put back together.

  2. Do you have a Gill catalog or catalogs. I found a few simple sconces by Gill not the ornate deco ones. Wanted to identify if possible. Thanks

    • Valuations are difficult to ascertain. Too many factors affect price, including condition, location, the time of the year, local/national economic conditions, seller reputation, presentation, etc.

      Like, for example, if you put a fixture in a yard sale it would get very little. If you listed the same fixture on Craig’s List it would get more. If you consigned the same fixture to a NYC auction house it might get much more!

      One thing to consider is that most old lights, unrestored and with old wiring, sell for less than $100 on eBay.

  3. My parents worked at Gill Glass and that is where they met.
    I still have one piece that my father made there. It is a glass Christmas tree lit from inside with a bulb.

    • Ed,
      I have a base to a Gill tree and have looked everywhere for a green tree to make it whole. Do you have any resources regarding replacement pieces?
      Thank you for your time.
      Sue Amondson

    • I am looking to purchase the glass Christmas tree lamp made by Gill Glass in the 1930s. Do you have any idea if anyone has one available for sale?

    • My Great Grandfather and his 2 brothers came from Ireland and founded Gill Glass. Did you ever hear stories about the owners? I never heard much except they lost their money during the depression. Thanks, Janet

  4. The identical pattern in glass can be found in a vintage 16″ diameter heavy glass shade which would sit atop a vintage torchiere. In fact, the silver fitter pictured is also found as a standard fitter/shade holder on such a torchiere. Below the torchiere fitter, you would have a neck spacer (usually), which would be attached to a vertical ribbed lamp sleeve which would run down to a lower spacer which would sit atop a lamp base (with or without an onyx, marble or slag glass center insert). I didn’t know that Gill made the glass. This lovely fixture screams ‘torchiere’ to me. Lighting manufacturers were eager to capitalize on every market and it is always interesting to see the crossovers! Thanks!

  5. My grandmother worked at Gill’s in the 50s putting the fixtures on lamps and chandeliers! I still have one of her lamps !

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