Introduction

Some recent discoveries have resulted in a rewrite of the original Sturdy Lange page to incorporate new findings. In this particular case, a newly discovered individual, Edward Bruns, was found to have been very active in the L. A. Art Glass area at a crucial time when Greene & Greene were producing many of their greatest architectural accomplishments. A new page has now been written dedicated to Bruns.
As with much research, these new discoveries also involved the additional interest, input and work of others, plus a degree of luck.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Gaye Richardson and Bo Sulliivan, both of Portland who first brought me up to speed with Bruns. Many thanks to Ann Scheid, Curator at the Greene and Greene archives, and Edward Bosley for granting permission to use images from the Greene & Greene archives.

Thanks to James Kaas for the Lange family updates and wonderful photos and also Colleen Powers for her research in Davenport. Thanks also to Louise Thornton for her updates on Harry Sturdy.

While new details and history of the glass artists are now coming to light, much of Sturdy and Lange's background is included in an excellent book: A New & Native Beauty, edited by Edward R. Bosely and Anne E. Mallek, published by Merrell, ISBN-10: 185894452X.

In addition to editing this book, Bosely and Mallek were among several authors, each covering a specific aspect of Greene & Greene's work. Julie Sloan authored an excellent chapter "The Stained Glass Of Greene & Greene" and included important background on the Sturdy-Lange company and their contributions made in conjunction with designs from the Greenes.


Sturdy-Lange

Sturdy Lange were a little known studio that played an important role in the creation of the Greene and Greene interpretation of the Arts and Crafts movement. They were instrumental in producing the art glass for several of the Greene & Greene architectural masterpieces, including The Blacker House and The Gamble House.

Los Angeles in the early 1900s was attracting skilled glass workers from the Midwest and the east coast. What is clear is that these workers, whether they be designers or glaziers were seldom tied to a single studio or home location. Based on what the city directories show, many frequently moved their place of residence. It is probable that, for some, assignments were temporary and somewhat short in duration, engaged on an as-needed basis perhaps as demand was sporadic. There were also retail decorating companies that although few in number, supplied household furnishings, decorations of all kinds and the fulfillment of stained glass windows and lighting to complete their offerings. Stained glass was very much in vogue. These decorating companies included Barker Brothers, Holtzclaw, Allen & Co, offered design and customization services not only to retail customers but architectural firms too.

Emil Lange joined forces with Harry Sturdy, a decorator at Barker Brothers, in July of 1906 to form a new studio, possibly to satisfy significant ongoing demands of the Greene & Greene commissions. Colleen Powers, a researcher for the Scott County Historic Preservation Society in Davenport, came up with an account of the 1906 incorporation of Sturdy-Lange Company in July of 1906 together with the significance of Arthur Stibolt's investment in the new studio pointing back to his roots in Davenport. I have adapted her account to reflect new findings.

The Sturdy-Lange company directors include: 

  • Harry Sturdy, previously a decorator at Barker Brothers now becomes President.
  • Mary Sturdy, Harry's wife
  • Emil Lange, Secretary  & Treasurer
  • Arthur Stibolt, director and designer
  • Lucy Shroeder, a book keeper

So far, non-director employees of Sturdy-Lange include:

  • Edward Barton, Glazier (1907)
  • Harry Nielson, Designer (1907)
  • Enoch Neerman, Foreman (1909)
  • Claus Willenburg, Trainee (1906)

Willenberg was an 18 year old trainee. He later went on to work at a number of studios, including Judson Studios in 1917, L. A. Art Glass, Pasadena Art Glass and others. Following that, he did work for Donovan Stained Glass. Betty Donovan's daughter, Carol Donovan Kelly, worked with him closely for many years. He was an expert painter and worked largely as a freelance artist for as many as five glass companies at the same time in the L. A. area.

While there's little detail of the specific workings of the company or the nature of the relationship between Sturdy, Lange and the Greenes they may have still had spare capacity despite the demands of the Greenes projects. They advertised in the International directories for 1906-7 and in each case, they listed their business capabilities as "Art Glass, Hand Wrought Metal and Decorators". Hand wrought metal may have been a skill that Lange brought from his past employment in 1904 at the American Engineering & Foundry. The Greenes certainly needed metal skills to fashion lanterns and other fixtures. These advertisements were in several languages, English, German, Spanish and French.

The duration of the company was short. From its inception in mid July of 1906, cracks appeared with Harry Sturdy's departure being evident sometime before the end of 1909. Three surviving invoices of the period have headers that list both Sturdy and Lange. The December invoice of 1909 has Harry Sturdy's name crossed out. One of the remaining two from 1910 make it clear that Emil Lange is now without Sturdy. Just how long the company endured is unclear, and Sturdy's reason for leaving is still unknown at this time. However, Julie Sloan indicates that the amount of stained glass used by the Greenes' declined after the Thorsen house was completed in 1910 so the business may not have been viable financially after that.

Harry Sturdy is shown working as a foreman at Holtzclaw Stubbs in 1910 after he left Sturdy-Lange. One year later in 1911 he was now back at Barker Brothers as a decorator where he originally started in 1905. The advertisement seems to indicate that Barker Brothers were expanding by bringing Holtzclaw along too, also a designer of some merit. Harry Sturdy died in 1913 at the age of just 43.

Emil Lange's future is sketchy with few signs of his activities after Sturdy-Lange. He is missing from the 1911 Directory as is Sturdy-Lange which indicates the studio's demise to be sometime during 1910. However, he is back in the 1912 directory listed under Art Glass Manufacturers and it has been reported elsewhere that he did some work for Judson at some later point. Emil Lange died in 1934 and was buried back in Davenport.


Gallery

  • Blacker1
  • Blacker2
  • blacker3
  • BlackerLantern1
  • gambleHouse1
  • gambleHouse2
  • gambleHouse3
  • LangeBruns
  • GGUSC-Gamble-923
  • GGUSC-Gamble-924
  • GGUSC-Gamble-922
  • Blacker1
    Lotus Chandelier from the Robert R. Blacker House, Pasadena, California
    Photo Copyright 2010, Sotheby's, All rights Reserved
  • Blacker2
    Lotus Chandelier from the Robert R. Blacker House, Pasadena, California
    Photo Copyright 2010, Sotheby's, All rights Reserved
  • blacker3
    Chandelier from the Robert R. Blacker House, Pasadena, California
    Photo Copyright 2017, Sotheby's, All rights Reserved
  • BlackerLantern1
    Exterior Lantern from the Robert R. Blacker House, Pasadena, California
    Photo Copyright 2012, Sotheby's, All rights Reserved
  • gambleHouse1
    Gamble House, Front Entry.
    Copyright Colin Hansford, 2010. All Rights Reserved.
  • gambleHouse2
    Gamble House, Front Entry, Lead Overlays
    Copyright Colin Hansford, 2010. All Rights Reserved.
  • gambleHouse3
    Gamble House, Front Entry, Lead Overlays
    Copyright Colin Hansford, 2010. All Rights Reserved.
  • LangeBruns
    Photo Courtesy of The Greene and Greene Archives, Gamble House, University of Southern California.
  • GGUSC-Gamble-923
    Photo Courtesy of The Greene and Greene Archives, Gamble House, University of Southern California.
  • GGUSC-Gamble-924
    Photo Courtesy of The Greene and Greene Archives, Gamble House, University of Southern California.
  • GGUSC-Gamble-922
    Photo Courtesy of The Greene and Greene Archives, Gamble House, University of Southern California.

Edward A. Bruns (1871-1946)

Edward Bruns came into the Sturdy-Lange domain quite by chance when Gaye Richardson, a researcher at The Architectural Heritage Center in Portland, Oregon landed on my page originally dedicated to the Povey Brothers.

She had made the discovery that a well-known photo, long purported to be of the Povey Brothers Studio, was in fact the studio of Edward Bruns. This was based on matching cartoons and designs in the photo to matching ones in Bruns advertising at the time.

What soon followed was the realization that Edward Bruns was also the man next to Emil Lange in the Los Angeles studio photo held by the Greene & Greene Archives at the University of Southern California.

For the full story of Bruns and his significant contributions to the Arts & Crafts movement, click here to visit the Edward Bruns page.

Per the information below, a word of caution about entries published for a specific year in the city directories. The directories routinely had closing dates well in advance of the their actual published date. This was to allow for timely layout, printing and distribution. Consequently, some directory years will reflect information that was current at the time of the closing date for a given year. While the closing dates are not known for these directories, this could be a period of several months in some cases. So, for example, the 1904 directory published in the spring of that year will show details from late 1903.

My thanks to Gaye for her ongoing enthusiasm and information sharing on all aspects of Edward Bruns and his career. Also to Bo Sullivan for his insight, additional findings and editing of my original text. 


Little is known about Bruns's early career. He was born in Chicago in 1871, and at 17, the Lakeview city directory shows him working as a clerk. He married his first wife Lucia in 1892. Five years later he is listed as a designer, most likely in the glass industry, but, as yet, unconfirmed. However, his first appearance in Los Angeles is in 1902 where he is working as a designer for H. Raphael Glass Company. They were a large, well known business specializing in doors, windows, plate glass, art glass, and leaded ornamental glass. In August of 1903, the L. A. Times show him as a manufacturer of art glass windows.

828 Santee Street, Los Angeles

In 1904 Emil Lange is shown working at this address, American Engineering & Foundry Company. This is the first year he appears in any of the directories. He is no longer there in 1905.

823 Santee Street, Los Angeles

Number 823 was a multi-tenant building. It housed several businesses including Pacific Copper Works (ground floor), and an Art Glass business owned by Bruns (second floor). In 1904, 1905 and early 1906 Bruns is at 823 Santee. Directories show him working at the business listed as Pacific Copper Works.

Names also listed as working at Pacific Copper Works include:

  • Charles T. Wilson, Glass Worker (1905, 1906)
  • Henry Sanders, Glass Worker (1905-1906)
  • Earl King, Glass Worker (1905)
  • Frederick Andrews, Glass Maker (1905)

Names listed as working for the Bruns Art Glass business include:

  • Edward Bentzien (1906)
  • Robert W. Bruns, Glazier (1906) Bruns's brother
  • Neal R. Gross, Glass Worker (1906)
  • Fred Kerkow, Glass Cutter (1906)

Significantly, Emil Lange is also working as a Glass cutter for Bruns at this business.

Fire At The Edward Bruns Glass Company

The L.A. Herald reported on March 22, 1906 that a fire had started around 11:30pm the night before in the southwest rear corner of the second story of 823 Santee Street, destroying nearly the entire wood-frame building. The Pacific Copper Company plant occupied the south portion of the ground floor, while the south part of the second story, where the fire started, was occupied by the Edward Bruns Glass Company.
This appears to be a pivotal event for both Bruns and Lange. Subsequent newspaper reports confirmed the initial police suspicions that the fire was caused by an arsonist.

After the fire, Bruns no longer appears in the L.A. directories.

Because Bruns and Emil Lange are together in this studio photo, it is clear that this is the 'Art Glass Works' studio at 823 Santee, and not the Sturdy-Lange studio at 1500-02 E. 9th Street..

After the fire at 823 Santee, Bruns was involved in a highly publicized domestic dispute. The dispute concerned the insurance proceeds from the Santee fire and the identity of a woman who reportedly absconded with much of these funds. The Los Angeles Herald article of July 5th reported that after the fire Bruns spent 4 months in Mexico with a "grass widow" from Kentucky. This would have been April until July of 1906, more accurately 3 months, when the couple went on to New Orleans. The Herald reports that Bruns had interested the woman in the possibility of creating a new business in Mexico. However, the Los Angeles Times, on the same date, tells that Bruns had intended to start the new business in New Orleans. This would seem more likely. Regardless, Bruns's time after the fire was spent on matters other than glass.

Bruns was very active in Portland during the 1907-1913 period. Among the 23 submissions he made to the 1908 Portland Architectural Club's annual exhibition were sketches, detailed drawings and leaded glass windows. Five items were described as using an overlaid lead technique. While the leaded overlay technique has not been attributed to Bruns himself it made an appearance in some Charles Greene's designs prior to the Sturdy-Lange period. Bruns went on to advertise his studio in the Portland Architectural Club's subsequent annuals after 1908.

In 1916, Bruns's second wife Susan died. One year later the Portland City directory shows him working as president of Noglare, an auto lens manufacturer, quite a departure from Arts & Crafts. No further record of him in Portland has been uncovered. In 1925 he is back in Chicago likely at a glass manufacturer and in 1930 he is with his brother Fred. Edward Bruns is a glass salesman. His glass connections in Chicago, particularly in his early career offer a chance for more research. Thanks to Gaye Richardson for tracing his whereabouts in Portland and Chicago.

Bruns died in 1946 at the age of 75.

Harry Sturdy

Harry Sturdy was a Canadian born of English parents on December 2nd 1869 in Guelph.
He came from a large family. His father, Frederick, is listed in the Canadian census of 1881 as a painter. Harry came to the U.S in 1885 at the age of just 16 along with Harry's brother Joseph F. Sturdy, a noted muralist working in partnership with Abner Crossman. From the Kansas Historical Society, "A watercolor artist, Crossman created a number of landscapes and pastoral scenes. He was a member of the Chicago Watercolor Club. In 1882 Crossman formed a design firm with Joseph F. Sturdy in Chicago. The firm gained a reputation for its furnishings and decorations, murals, and wall hangings." So, although Harry was six years younger than his brother, he was in good company and perhaps Crossman and Sturdy is where Harry gained skill in decoration.

There are records that show Harry marrying a Mary L. Leahy (b.1873 in Nebraska) in 1897. Mary's father was Irish, her mother was American. Census information for 1900 show them living in Chicago.

They had three sons, Herbert F. Francis (1902 - 1969) born in Chicago, Frederick H. Sturdy (1908 - 1972), and Paul E. Sturdy (1911 - 1977). Frederick and Paul were both born in L.A. Based on this date and the birth of their first son in December of 1902; it would seem that the family moved to L.A. at some point leading up to 1905 when Sturdy first appears in the Los Angeles directory as a decorator at Barker Brothers.

    • Harry and Holtzclaw, 1911

Barker Brothers were considered a prominent furniture and home furnishings retailer established in 1880. The directories of 1906 and 1907 show him still working there. During 1906, however, the Sturdy-Lange Company was formed with Harry as President. His Sturdy-Lange tenure lasted through to late 1909. By February of 1910, Sturdy-Lange company invoices indicate that Sturdy appears to no longer be with the Company.

It would appear that Harry was somewhat of a generalist in that he brought multiple skills to whichever endeavor he was engaged in. These included capacities as a Decorator, Designer, and Foreman etc. Regardless, it is clear that he was a creative individual and well respected as the Barker Brothers advertisement of 1911 attests, describing Harry as being “recognized as the best practical decorator on the Pacific Coast.”

Harry filed a Declaration of Intent to become a US citizen on 9 June 1910. On 16 May 1913, he filed a Petition for Naturalization, which was granted.

Sadly, Harry died on October 17th, 1913 at the age of just 43. He is buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California.

Quite by chance, while visiting the Wrigley Mansion in February of 2016, I noticed a letter on a corridor wall from a law firm in Los Angeles, it was dated 1930 and signed by Herbert Sturdy, one of Harry's 3 sons. Herbert Sturdy went on to work in the entertainment field including a role as a Trustee and Executor of the Walt Disney Estate.

Many thanks to Louise Thornton for contributing to details of Harry’s time in Los Angeles. We are still hoping to acquire a photo of Harry.

Emil Lange

Lange was born in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1866. His family moved some 4 years later to Davenport Iowa. From Julie Sloan’s research into Lange’s life in the aforementioned book, it would appear he had little to no experience or skills in Art Glass before moving to Los Angeles. After sustaining a large financial loss from a lumber company that he had dealings with in Burlington, he returned to Davenport where he was employed as secretary of the Iowa Mantle Manufacturing Company. This didn't last and by early 1904 he left his family and moved to Los Angeles. It is unclear whether Lange had a job offer in Los Angeles before leaving.

James Kaas forwarded me several family photos of Emil Lange and family during the years most before the move to California. Emil Lange was Jim's Great Grandfather. In addition to providing wonderful additional photos of Emil, and daughters, it was confirmed that in conversation with his mother, Joan Lange, Emil's Grand Daughter, Emil Lange is the individual on the left in the studio photo, sporting his rather unique hat. Emil and Emma Stracke were married 20th September 1893. Edward Hagemann and the Stracke family were good friends subsequently when Emil left Emma and she committed suicide, Edward Hagemann took in Emma's daughters, who were in turn raised in the Hagemann house thereafter.

While Lange was clearly involved as a crafts person at Sturdy-Lange, he came to acquire these skills from around 1905 and almost certainly not in his previous jobs in Davenport Iowa. However, there is a strong probability that Arthur H. Stibolt knew Lange in Davenport.

I was fortunate to be in contact with Colleen Powers, a researcher for the Scott County Historic Preservation Society in Davenport.

She states "The Stibolt, Hass & Hanssen families intermarried. Emil Lange would certainly have known these families. In fact, when Emil's mother & sister Ella moved from their house in East Davenport to north central Davenport by 1915, (2314 Harrison), Louis Hanssen lived at 2322 & Emil's sister Adele & husband, Dr. H.G. Pape lived at 2326...three house in a row built about that time".

1904 Through 1905

The Los Angeles City Directory for 1904 shows him working as a laborer for American Engineering & Foundry at 828 Santee Street. The 1905 directory shows him living at 726 South Park Avenue and at some point before the start of Sturdy-Lange in early 1906 he is working for Edward Bruns as a glass cutter, close by at 823 Santee Street.

1906

After a fire at Edward Bruns’s studio in March or 1906, Lange became secretary and Treasurer of Sturdy-Lange a new company created with others to undertake substantial art glass projects from Greene & Greene. This continued through 1909 and the studio produced a wide range of art glass for the Greenes' residential houses including those for the Blacker House, Gamble House, Thorsen Houses and Spinks.

Stibolt was a designer during 1900 at Foreman, Ford & Co. in Davenport a glass related company. Stibolt would later become and investor and designer at Sturdy-Lange.

1910-1930

After 1910 it would appear that Lange worked as a freelancer for glass companies, one entry shows him working under his own name with another Foreman who was at Sturdy-Lange. 1920 he is listed in the census as being an Art Glass Merchant, 1930 still in Los Angeles but no trade entered. Although there’s little news of him in Los Angeles until his death there in 1934, he was buried in Burlington Iowa.

Davenport Window

Researcher Colleen Powers was able to meet with Mac at Glass Heritage, in Davenport. Glass Heritage discovered a file of several images of a window stained glass window. The file was marked "Emil Lange". After more research, it was established that the photos were from a house on River Drive near the Davenport / Bettendorf city line. Thanks to Mac at Glass Heritage for your help in researching the source of the images.

Colleen then drove to the neighborhood and discovered the house, a large mansion on Forest Road. This window, although terrific, would have been typical of the period and perhaps made by any number of Art Glass firms had it not been for one particular area of the window that featured overlays of sheet leading to represent bark and other textures. This is visible in the lower right area of the window, a technique that Edward Bruns and Sturdy-Lange were known for during their projects with Greene and Greene.

The house was built around 1914, so Sturdy would not have been in the picture, being deceased in 1913, but this strongly indicates that Lange may still have been connected to Iowa and perhaps undertaking commissions there even as he still was living in Los Angeles.

For additional coverage, read Julie Sloan's excellent coverage of Emil Lange's career, "A New Native Beauty" p.171-173. There still remains much to discover, including how Lange and Sturdy met, exactly what their roles were, how hands-on they were, their creative versus administrative abilities, and why Edward Bruns was not part of Sturdy-Lange after his studio fire.

 

The Glass

During the preparation of this page, I was fortunate to also be in contact with John Hamm, a glass artist from California. John has been instrumental in the restoration of important stained glass fixtures, lighting and other elements in the Greene and Greene homes, including those at the Gamble House, and Blacker House. When it comes to the glass used by Sturdy-Lange, John had these interesting comments:

"There is no Tiffany Glass in any of Sturdy and Lange’s work. Tiffany did not sell sheet glass. They made tons of styles of sheet glass, but for Tiffany Studios consumption. We do know for a fact that Tiffany used Kokomo Opalescent Glass, from Kokomo IN. I have seen invoices from the sales. Huge quantities.

From research stemming out of my restoration of G&G pieces dating back to 1990-91, I discovered that there is definitely Kokomo glass in the Greene’s work. There is no record accounting for this but there is certainly a lot of KOK. There were a number of colored sheet glass manufactures in the country circa 1907-08, and they may have been used by Sturdy and Lange, but I have tracked down a number of styles of Kokomo from the Greene’s work that Kokomo still makes, or has examples of in their archives,which of course go back to 1888. And these matches are exact. We also know that Kokomo produced iridescent glass and that may have come from them as well.

I just did this sort of matching, old to new Kokomo, again a couple of months ago. Working with Kokomo I matched some glass for a restoration of a major piece from a G&G house 1905-06. And it is spot on. So all of that is very interesting of course, but very telling. Glass from one maker to the next is, and was always, very different and so distinctive. In any glass there are tells which indicate who made it. And if you know what to look for it is apparent.

Randell made an incorrect connection with a different Lange, a David Lang, who did work for Tiffany, (Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany, Rebel in Glass p.80). But we know now from Joan Kaas, Emil’s grand daughter, that Emil never lived in N.Y. City or the state, and never worked for Tiffany.

There is Tiffany Glass in the G.H., but they are pieces that Mary Gamble brought from Ohio and placed in the house herself. This of course furthers the confusion."

  • LADirectory-1906-1
    Los Angeles City Directory for 1906. Lange working for Edward Bruns Art Glass Works
  • GGUSC-Lange-6890-cleaned
    Photo Courtesy of The Greene and Greene Archives, Gamble House, University of Southern California.
  • PortlandArchitecturalClub1908-2
    List of submissions from Bruns, five of which feature leaded overlays. From the 1908 Portland Architectural Club Annual Exhibition. Image Courtesy of Bo Sullivan, Arcalus Archive. 2020

"I did find a possible clue to the meeting of Sturdy & Lange. Ancestry has a family tree for Harry Sturdy.

The 1906 Incorporation of Sturdy-Lange was included in the tree. It contains spelling errors, but one of the names on the Board of Directors was familiar to me, another prominent German family in Davenport, A.H. Stibolt. Arthur Henry Stibolt was born in April 1880 in Davenport, son of John Stibolt & Louisa Hass Stibolt. In the 1898-99 city directory his occupation is listed as designer at Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co."

In the 1900-01 city directory, Stibolt is manager of a company named Church Glass & Decorating CO and his brother John P. Stibolt is working with him. The 1900 census in Davenport lists both as "church glass designers". Neither are listed in the 1902-03 directory. Based on what followed, it's reasonable to assume that in 1902-03 Stibolt went to LA and continued working in the glass industry. In the 1906 LA city directory, A. Henrik Stibolt is listed as a designer with McCann, Allen & Co. alongside John Holtzclaw. In July of 1906 Sturdy-Lange was formed. Holtzclaw was at Barker Brothers in 1904 and 1905. So these individuals were no doubt aware of each other and the opportunities opening up for themselves at this time.

Arthur H. Stibolt changes course in 1910 to become an architect in San Diego where he is with brother-in-law, Gustav H. Hanssen; another Davenport family connection.

  • bruns1907-full
    Edward Bruns Studio, Portland, c.1907 Bruns leaning on the counter in the rear of the photograph
    © Copyright Historic Photo Archive, Portland, OR, All rights Reserved