Louis was born on February 18 1848, the son of Charles Lewis, who was the founder of a jewellery company. Louis' first artistic training was as a painter, studying under George Inness. At the age of 24 he became interested in glassmaking and in 1885 he founded his own glassmaking firm. He invented
In 1893 his company introduced a new technique, "Favrile", for making hand-blown vases and bowls. Much of his other work was in making glass picture windows, but his company designed a complete range of interior decorations. He used all his skill in the design of his own house, Laurelton Hall, in Oyster Bay, Long Island, completed in 1904.
Among the companies that he founded were L.C. Tiffany & Associated Artists, the Tiffany Glass Company, Tiffany Studios, Tiffany Furnaces and the L.C. Tiffany Furnaces.