AT A GLANCE
Lantern and Scroll is not your ordinary lighting store. In fact, as you may have seen by now, Lantern and Scroll is not at all like anything you imagined. We are glad to have changed your perception on small business, family business, American made products and on lighting stores in general.
We won’t lie; we also hate shopping for lights, being bombarded by salespeople and paying a giant mark up or a premium for local, USA made products. This is exactly why we exist. To be different and to give customers what WE would want when shopping for lighting: high quality, fairly priced products, cheaper than you imagined; all with stellar customer service.
Lantern & Scroll designs and handcrafts exceptional exterior and interior light fixtures. We were born out of innovation and change as a Southern family business re-structured to move with the times, transitioning from textiles to lighting, and we haven’t stopped innovating and changing to suit our customers’ needs since.
Our core collection of lanterns are historical reproductions of lights that graced many of Charleston’s historic homes. Today, at the urging of our designer customers, we also offer many contemporary options as well. Our unique custom design service allows customers’ ideas and inspirations to become a reality.
Lantern & Scroll makes all of its gas and electric copper lighting in Cayce, South Carolina, from design to production every step of the fabrication process takes place in our factory. Our artisans begin with a large sheet of copper, which, over the course of many man-hours, will be cut, bent, soldered, riveted, sanded, and finished. Our manufacturing process is a labor of love and attention to detail.
HOW WE GOT STARTED
Sit back and experience the history of our little company, Lantern & Scroll. It really is the story of America—hard work, dedication, tenacity, reinvention, and success.
Lantern & Scroll is wholly owned by our sole manufacturer, Copper Lighting Company. My husband and I run Lantern & Scroll and my parents, John and Vicky Henderson, run Copper Lighting Company. Copper Lighting Company is not only a wholly family owned corporation, but also an industry leader in copper lighting manufacturing, however, our inception was quite by happenstance.
My family has been rooted in South Carolina since before the Revolutionary War. Typical to the South, textile mills were the primary employer, and my family was no exception. (In fact, my children will be the first in my family not to work in a mill.) This was honest and demanding work in which you could make a comfortable living. Both my father and mother would follow in the footsteps of many generations of Southerners before them and begin work in a textile mill after high school graduation
My father always had an eye for design and detail and eventually ended up working in the design and development department of a large textile firm designing undergarments. My mother had a more managerial and problem-solving mind and would end up managing the sewing floor of another large textile mill. My mother began reaching the top of her field in a male-dominated industry at a time when the glass ceiling was very much un-shatterable. In 1982, a more senior position became available at the mill my mother was working at and almost everyone within the company assumed the position would go to the best qualified person, my mother. However, when the position was filled it went instead to a less-qualified employee, based solely on his gender.
My mother realized that breaking through the glass ceiling was not possible at that moment in time, in the South, in such a male-dominated industry. In a brash decision, the following week, my mother barged into the owner’s office and said, “I quit and I’m taking a number of loyal, longstanding customers with me. If you try and do anything about it, I’ll sue you.” From thereon our first family business, Javlyn, was born.
By 1983, Javlyn (short for John and Vicky Lynn) was up and running and flourishing as a top-producer of inexpensive belts for the garment industry. By 1985, the company was so wildly successful that my father had to quit his executive position to come onboard and help run Javlyn. The company continued to prosper through the 1980s. By the early 1990s, things had settled to a familiar pattern with Javlyn, and my father longed for a more design-oriented outlet for his creative talents than manufacturing cheap belts.
A CHANCE READ OF THE CLASSIFIED ADS
In the spring of 1992 fate reared its head. My parents inquired about a small local lighting factory advertised for sale in the local paper, thinking this could possibly be a more sophisticated manufacturing business for my father to tinker around with. While rummaging through the remaining stock of mostly outdated wooden hanging fixtures, they discovered what appeared to be antique copper street lights. They learned that these were lanterns that the company had made for at least 30 years. The lights were sold through a small shop off the market in Charleston to locals that needed historical replacements or new fixtures for their historic homes. My parents were so struck by the character and quality of the lights. They knew they had to be made available to a wider market. So, after some negotiation, and with the help of the closing factory’s 76 year old master coppersmith, Copper Lighting Company was formed.
WITH THE BIRTH OF ONE COMPANY COMES THE DEMISE OF ANOTHER
In the beginning, Copper Lighting Company was a small, truly artisan company located within Javlyn’s immense factory. It would take about 6 months to ship a light with each one made to order by a single copper smith. Our quality was always exceptional and our prices very reasonable. The orders continued to come in and Copper Lighting Company began to grow under the leadership of my father while my mother continued to run the now-fledgling Javlyn.
By the mid-1990s, and the opening up of the manufacturing powerhouse, China, it was soon apparent that the textile industry in the South was collapsing. Without a government bailout in sight, Javlyn would eventually lay-off nearly all of its sewers. In the late 1990’s it was evident that textile manufacturing in the South would no longer be a reality. One day my mother conferenced with her last 3 sewers and said, “look we’re going to have to go over to the lantern business and grow that business or we’re going to have to go be greeter’s at Wal-Mart.” And with that meeting the metaphysical doors of Javlyn shut and not another seam was sewn. The sewing machines were all moved to storage and in their place came metal working benches.
By the 2000’s Copper Lighting Company experienced tremendous growth led by the efficiency of my mother and the design concepts of my father. Today our lanterns are sold in over 300 stores worldwide and we truly are an industry leader. We’ve taken many of our assembly methods, learned over years of textile manufacturing, and implemented them in our lighting manufacturing business. Even with our increased output we have never sacrificed the quality or craftsmanship found in our original products.
THE LANTERN & SCROLL CONCEPT
As you can tell, as my parent’s daughter, I also have a passion for American made manufacturing. I’ve worked in our factories since childhood, and am grateful to have the opportunity to continue the tradition of quality USA made products. In 2007, my husband and I opened Lantern & Scroll in Charlotte, North Carolina to offer my family’s lighting line to the retail market. Having always been in manufacturing and interacting only with lighting showrooms, it is refreshing to have an outlet to speak directly with our end consumer. Lantern & Scroll not only sells Copper Lighting Company’s beautiful lighting, but also acts at the research and development arm of the company. In our showroom we test new lights and styles, different finishes, and receive feedback.
Today through our website and online store we hope to offer you the same quality, craftsmanship, and customer service that we have always offered in the Carolinas. Thank you for reading our American story and we hope that our lanterns can become a small part of your American home.
Karen H. Good