A Celebration of Craft – The Somers Family
Born in 1882 of Dutch descent, William D. Somers first learned the art of stained glass from the glass masters of the 19th Century. Among his teachers were Louis Tiffany, John LaFarge and fine European Craftsmen. He started as a young boy of fifteen working as an apprentice at LaFarge Glass Works. In later years he also studied with the craftsmen of Tiffany Studios. He wanted to learn more about art so he attended night school; first at Cooper Union, then at Pratt Institute where he studied under several European Stained Glass painters.
At the age of twenty he formed his own company, William D. Somers Studios. For over a half a century he created thousands of stained glass windows for commercial, residential and religious institutions around the country. One of his many accomplishments was to be commissioned by Eleanor Roosevelt for a stained glass window for the military chapel at Camp Upton, now the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
. Somers passed away in 1954 leaving his business to his sons. They shortly changed the name of their business to Somers Studios. The second generation of Somers flourished for eighteen years enjoying the new construction of churches and synagogues though out the United States. In addition to the manufacturing and installation of new stained glass windows, their father taught them well in the art of stained glass restorations and repairs on existing stained glass windows.
In 1968 the four brothers of Somers Studios disbanded. Harold, the founder’s third son and master craftsman, opened Somers Stained Glass with his younger brother. They also experienced success with the revitalization of the tiffany style lamp. Somers Stained Glass was one of the first companies to recreate Louis Tiffany’s work, which was nearly extinct.
In 1975 Harold’s eldest son Guy joined the nationally renowned stained glass company to begin the third generation of Somers in stained glass. Soon afterwards Harold’s other sons Gary, Glenn and Gregg would also learn from their father to become master craftsmen. It was 1982 when Harold wanted to pursue his dream and start his own stained glass studio with his sons. Harold, and his four sons, left Somers Stained Glass and formed Somers Designs Inc. At their original factory in Holbrook, NY, the third generation Somers, with the guidance of their father, created new original tiffany style designs that would have made Grandfather Somers proud. Years later, their studio moved to Huntington, NY. Gary Somers left the company and moved to N. Carolina to start his own stained glass business.
Growth was sure to come, and the Somers family needed a larger factory. Their studio moved to Smithtown, NY. Here they completed over 5,000 tiffany style lamps and hundreds of stained glass windows for the popular eatery TGI Friday's Restaurant at over 500 locations worldwide. Harold, though semi-retired (yes he'd rather be fishing) oversaw the day to day operations for the family business started by his father. Carol, his wife of over forty years (affectionately known by all as Mama) helped out with the phones and purchasing of the hobby supplies. Guy handled the corporate sales and managed the office. Glenn and Gregg were the master craftsman in charge of designing and production. In addition to TGIF the Somers Family created hundreds of custom tiffany style lamps, stained glass and beveled glass panels for other national and local restaurants, commercial buildings, religious institutions and residential homes.
2585 Middle Country Road, Centereach, New York 11720, United States
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