Pike Stained Glass Studios, Inc. 1908-2017

A Family Business for Three Generations

Pike Stained Glass Studios is among the oldest stained glass studios in the country. We are among the leading designers and manufacturers of one of a kind stained glass windows and the most expert and informed restorers of antique windows.

William Pike and the artists of Pike Stained Glass Studios: After apprenticing to and working for Louis Comfort Tiffany in Long Island, the current owner’s Great Uncle Pike formed his own studio in 1908 in Rochester, NY. Pike partnered with freelance designer Herman Butler of H. J. Butler & Co., Inc., located in the Aeolian Building on 33 W 42nd Street in New York City. Over the next 40 years, the studio’s designers included: Herman Butler, Henry Keck, Norman Lindner, Frank Von der Lancken, Walter O’Brien, Fritz Beeger and Matt Martirano.

Herman Butler eventually moved to Canandaigua, NY where Walter O’Brien also lived. Both Butler and Norman Lindner received the Lillian Fairchild Award from the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester for their designs for the stained glass windows at 3 Generations - Religious in 1934. The annual award is in recognition of the finest contribution to art and literature by a citizen of the Rochester area.

Henry Keck studied at the Art Students League in New York and the royal Academy School of Industrial Art in Munich, Germany. He apprenticed at the Louis Comfort Tiffany studios from 1848 to 1933, where he met William Pike. He first worked at a stained glass studio in Chicago, then moved back to New York to work at the Montague Castle Studios before working for the Pike Stained Glass Studios in Rochester between 1909 and 1913. Keck went on to found his own studio in Syracuse, NY, working until his death in 1956.

Franck Von der Lancken’s first appointment was as an instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY in 1903. In 1904, he moved to Rochester to teach at the Mechanics Institute (now the Rochester Institute of Technology) and became superintendent of the School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1909. He supplemented his teaching with commissions in portraiture, and continued to create landscape paintings throughout his career. His artistic versatility also included illustration, sculpture and mural painting. In 1912, William Pike hired Von der Lancken to design the windows at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester, NY.

Fritz Beeger moved to the United States from Germany and created designs for the studio from 1956 to 1962. He was featured in a Rochester Democrat and Chronicle article on the studio on October 25, 1959 (page 106). Some of his designs can be seen on our Designs by the Artists

Matthew Martirano designed many stained glass windows and murals for Pike Studios before moving back to his home town of Montreal to design for the Guido Nincheri Studio for over 30 years. The Nincheri Studio was the oldest studio in Canada. Matt’s article on stained glass in Montreal was published in Stained Glass Magazine in the Spring of 1967 (Vol. LXII, No. 1).

James O’Hara, Pike’s nephew, began working for his uncle in 1948, and eventually purchased the business from him. Pike continued working at the studio until his death in 1958. Jim O’Hara held a master’s degree in Fine Arts from City College in New York City and had work experience in industrial design and teaching before moving to Rochester.

Jim’s mother, Helen Melvin, managed the studio office from 1950-1970.

Norma Lee O’Hara, Jim’s wife, who also held a master’s degree in Fine Arts from New York University, assisted in the design of windows and color selection from 1948 to 1976.

Other notable figures who worked in the studio are: Ruth and Frank Hall – Frank was a glazier from 1956 to 1962, and Ruth was a glass painter from 1929 to 1964. Louis Schneider worked from 1924 to 1986 as a glass cutter and glazier, repairer and installer; and Sam Carafice, who worked from 1949 to 1969 cutting glass, glazing and installing and repairing the windows.

Valerie O’Hara began working for her father in 1966, at the age of 12, part-time after school and during the summers. After graduation from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1976, with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, she began working full time designing and creating one of a kind custom commissions, as well as repairing and restoring stained glass. Valerie purchased the studio from her parents in 1987, and continues to design, create, repair and install stained glass windows with the help of her assistants, including:

Alesha Hall, who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design, and continued her education to receive her Masters in Art Education. She has been an adjunct instructor for the State University of New York at Oswego since 2011, teaching graphic design and art history. Alesha has had her work displayed in several shows throughout New York, while her first solo show was presented in 2015.

We are continually updating our archives and welcome additional biographical information and photographs.