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ichael Krauss seen through the office window, which had once served as the furnace doors in the toothpick factory located on this site.
Michael Krauss seen through the office window, which had once served as the furnace doors in the toothpick factory located on this site.

Authentic Designs was founded by my father, Danny Krauss, in 1966. He had been in the commercial art business, but he also loved building furniture, and immersed himself in restoring an 1820’s farmhouse that we moved into on Long Island in 1963 or so. He had sensitive and refined tastes and an impeccable sense of craftsmanship, and not finding any period lighting fixtures that he liked, began building his own.

The first fixture he built was made from a section of used copper waste pipe that he converted into a simple chandelier. He began to make more and friends said “can you make me one?” Those early efforts led to the purchase of a small worshshop next door to the Sutton Clock Shop on 61st Street and Lexington in Manhattan.

He began doing more research and would take the whole family on camping trips that often revolved around particular museums or restorations such as Winterthur, Old Deerfield, the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, and the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. In the early 70’s Dad partnered up with Abe Flam and his wife Anna. They shared a shop together in upper Manhattan. Abe was a skilled coppersmith and tin knocker who had been orphaned, grew up in Poland and Austro Hungary, and by the early 30’s owned a successful sheet metal shop in Vienna that employed almost 60 people. He narrowly escaped on Kristallnacht and fled to America. His wife Anna was also a holocaust survivor. Abe was about 5’ tall, very tough, took no guff from anyone and I apprenticed with him through my 4 years of college and beyond.

In the late 80’s, Dan moved his shops to West Rupert, Vermont and bought the pick mill building, which had been partially destroyed by a fire. He restored the space, laying slate floors, disassembling the ruined boiler-face and repurposing  it as an office window, creating a functional machine and metal shop, paint rooms, plating booths, and assembly rooms.  The renovation was done with an eye toward open-windowed workshops, apple trees, and a garden out back for everyone’s collective well-being.

Around that time we began taking on more custom work, building planters, liners, kitchen hoods, copper shopping bags, decorative metal furniture and other unusual objects in metal and wood.

Dan retired in the early 90’s, passing the shop on to myself, my wife Maria, and our two sons Sam and Luke. Although retired, he played an active part in our shop until his death at age 79 in 2010.We have officially been in business since 1966 (50th birthday coming up soon) and in Vermont for over three decades. We hope to be doing our work here for decades to come.

We look forward to carrying on the tradition of thoughtful craftsmanship and design in which my dad and Mr. Flam participated, and we continue to implement new plans, like apprentice programs and green design. In addition to our reproduction lighting, we have created numerous transitional pieces of our own design as well as countless lighting fixtures for architects, designers and interior decorating firms.

---Michael Krauss, Owner