Just after World War II, when Andrew Bevolo founded Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights, he’d had a lot of experience in metallurgy. After emigrating from Italy in the early 20th century, he’d worked at Ford Motor Company, then was part of the first crew to build Sikorsky helicopters in the 1930s. That led to work at Higgins in New Orleans, making the D-Day landing craft.
Bevolo opened his chandelier and lighting shop in 1945, making repairs and building new fixtures from scratch. He found a niche in gas lighting—so much so that he was asked to repair gas streetlights damaged during the London blitz. Some were very old, “but pure copper can last up to 300 years,” explains Drew Bevolo, Andrew’s grandson and the company’s third-generation owner. “My grandfather put the first rivets into those old London streetlights,” he says, which preserved their integrity. Drew Bevolo says that his grandfather found a new market for riveted copper lighting in his adopted country. Bevolo gaslights, still made in historic patterns and sizes, grace streets from the Vieux Carre to Boston and beyond. Gas lighting burns so efficiently, it rarely has to be turned on and off: “My grandfather lit lights in the French Quarter that are still burning today.”
In recent years, Bevolo has introduced various lines of electric-only copper lights, many of which fit neatly into the Arts & Crafts oeuvre. Some, like the spun-copper pendant series, are made on a lathe. Others feature the precise, gracefully hand-bent casings adapted from gaslight fixtures. With more than 500 different styles of lights in the repertoire, each generation has had something to contribute, Bevolo says. “We never discontinue a light.”
All copper fixtures are handcrafted from U.S.-mined copper, then usually given the antique finish Bevolo is known for. The copper is very pure, Bevolo says, so it ages with the house. All lights have a lifetime guarantee. “If it’s got our name on it, we take care of it as long as you have it.”
Bevolo Gas & Electric Light
New Orleans, Louisiana