Major influence in the American Arts & Crafts Movement and hand wrought pieces
The Kalo shop was founded in the year 1900 in Chicago, Illinois by Clara Barck Welles. Its founding first workshop was located in the Bank of Commerce Building. The Kalo shop was a major influence in the American Arts & Crafts Movement and its silver articles were all hand wrought. When the company was first established, it sold quite a lot of items, from textiles, paper goods, leather goods, jewelry and hand wrought copper and later silver articles for which it is most known today and appreciated by collectors today.
What is interesting and perhaps unique about Kalo Shop is: there were 6 founding members of the company and all of them are woman. They were namely: Bertha Hall; Rose Dolese; Grace Gerow; Clara P. Barck; Ruth Raymond; and Bessie McNeal. All the 6 ladies graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago. Clara Barck Welles is also a strong advocate of woman participation in arts. It is documented that Kalo shop employs a number of Scandinavian (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland) immigrants to manufacture the silver articles while herself and other ladies does the designing.
Kalo Shop Tea Service Set Examples
Barck married to George Welles in the year 1905. George Welles was a coal merchant and also a amateur silversmith. In the year 1907, Barck bought a house in Park Ridge and established the Kalo Arts and Crafts Community House, a workshop and also a training school there. The marriage lasted for 9 years, and in the year 1914, Clara and George divorced and the Community House was relocated back to Chicago.
The Kalo shop managed to established a retail branch store in New York in the year 1912. However the shop only lasted for 4 years and officially closed in 1916 due to world war 1. World war 1 begun in July 1914 and lasted until November 1918.
In around the late 1920s, Clara Barck Welles had tried to design and create a heavily Danish-influenced silver line which she named it Norse Line. The Norse Line was created with the intention to sell through other retailer (A common practice at that time). However the Norse Line ended prematurely due to starting of the great depression in America. Silver articles from the Norse Line are rare and only a couple of dozen were known to have been manufactured. Norse Line articles are hallmarked with an additional "NS" hallmark stamp.
Norse Line Examples
World war and Great Depression
The Kalo shop had survived both the World war and Great Depression. During these difficult period, silver demand were greatly reduced. Many other silversmith were not able to survive and closed its door. However the Kalo shop was supported by many loyal customers and instead business thrive during this period although Kalo shop products were distributed and only sold through its own stores. Also during the world war 1, when silver became scarce and limited, Kalo shop started manufacturing small items and jewelry to counter the silver shortage.
The Kalo Shop Jewelry Examples
Clara Barck Welles retirement
Clara Barck Welles retired in the year 1939, 39 years after the Kalo shop was established. After Barck retirement, Kalo shop continued making copies of the early pieces, adding a few modernist items and some in the Danish taste.
Clara Barck Welles passed away in the year 1965. six years before she passed away, she passed the business to four of its silversmith. They are namely: Robert Bower, Daniel Pederson, Arne Myhre, and Yngve Olsson as its chief designer . When Pederson and Olsson passed away in the year 1970, the Kalo shop became history and officially closed it door. The reason for its closure was simple. The Kalo shop closed because of lack of silversmith.
The Kalo Shop Vase Examples
Related Articles: The Kalo Shop Flatware Patterns
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