An article in the Financial Times 'Hard cash underpins the spirit of independence' by Tim Harford, April 24, 2010, concluded that entrepreneurs learn by example and they profit from social connections.

 This prompted me to look back over the lives of prominent interior designers and artists for evidence to support this theory.The case is borne out by the life and work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. cheap tiffany earrings His father, Charles Lewis Tiffany, together with John B Young, a fellow townsman, whose sister Charles Tiffany subsequently married, opened a "stationery and fancy goods" store with a $1000 advance from Charles Tiffany's father. $1000 was a lot of money in 1837. The shop they opened was to become Tiffany and Co in the 1850s By 1870 Tiffany and Co would be the leading supplier of jewellery, watches and clocks as well as tableware and Bohemian glass.

Charles Tiffany was not only backed financially by his father but from an early age worked in his father's general store and tiffany necklaces His father had a cotton manufacturing business. Louis Comfort Tiffany benefitted from the experience, social connections and capital built up by his father and grandfather.Charles Tiffany and Thomas Edison together created footlights for the theatre and investigated other ways of lighting Louis Comfort Tiffany would himself join forces with Steele MacKaye (a school friend and theatre impresario) and Thomas Edison to work on the Lyceum Theatre in New York. Edison himself helped install some of the lighting in this theatre. His school friends collaborated on projects with him.

 Many of Tiffany & Co's clients would have been prominent and wealthy members of society including Vanderbilts,cheap tiffany and co australia Astors, Whitneys and Havemeyers. In 1882 Louis Comfort Tiffany decorated some of the rooms at the White House in Washington. He also decorated Henry O. Havemeyer's new home in New York, a project completed in 1892. Havemeyer was an American Entrepreneur who founded the American Sugar Refining Company in 1891.

 Access to capital, an appreciation of the glass imported by his father and his father's involvement with Edison were undoubtedly key factors in his development of glass lamps first fuel lamps and then tiffany and co jewellery His early experiments would have been costly but he had access to a wealthy client He undoubtedly had opportunities and social connections not available to everyone. There was a certain amount of luck too. He was around at a time when electric lighting would take over from the oil lamp.

 Louis Comfort Tiffany learnt by example from his father, who had learnt from the example of his father and he was able to capitalise on his father's social connections. This is not to say that he didn't have the interest, drive and ambition but rather to put his success into context of his wealthy background and his access to a wealthy clientele, a clientele who would undoubtedly have had every motivation to please his father.


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