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American Artisans At Work Preserving History

A “Roaring 1920s” Relic Restored

The Union League Club of New York City is one of the few private clubs in America that was founded in 1863. Its fourth and current clubhouse is located at 38 East 37th Street on the corner of Park Avenue, in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. It was designed by Benjamin Wistar Morris and opened on February 2, 1931. The building was designated a New York City landmark on October 25, 2011. Many prominent civic, state, and national leaders have enjoyed the fellowship of the Club, including Theodore Roosevelt, J. Pierpont Morgan, John Jay, William Cullen Bryant, Chester A. Arthur, and Thomas Nast.

Grand Light was selected by the Club to restore the historic 1920s chandeliers located in the renowned Lincoln Hall.

Grand Light’s on-site team recently took a trip into New York City to conduct a site evaluation on these beautiful historic fixtures to determine project cost projection, operation and maintenance considerations, design and construction principles, and required restoration processes.

During the examination, our survey team discovered the original manufacturer was the Sterling Bronze Company, a prominent late 19th and early 20th century New York artistic lighting firm.

Grand Light On-Site Evaluations Includes:

On-Site Inspection By Grand Light Specialists

Detailed Condition Report

Hands-On Analysis

During the on-site evaluation, all existing chandeliers were thoroughly photographed and documented. Profile drawings were created for use in detailing materials, lamping information, assembly, damages/deficiencies, finishes, dimensions, mounting details, structural modifications, and special provisions.

The Grand Light Team worked tirelessly to restore the original gold and silver finishes. The cleaning process involved a combination of industrial ultrasonic cleaning tanks with patented high performance generators followed with a delicate hand cleaning process.

Multiple hand applications of a new Inca Gold finish with silver metal rub highlights were hand blended to enhance the existing finish.

Each historic chandelier includes thirty-two alternating aqua/cobalt decorative glass panels. One side of each glass panel’s surface is composed of a dual layer of reflective mercury and black paint, contributing to a unique mirrored finish. Unfortunately, the mirrored finishes had deteriorated significantly, dulling the appearance and color of the decorative glass and causing numerous visual inconsistencies. Our artisans individually hand-washed each glass panel before applying a new custom 2-layer reflective and black finish, for a renewed, consistent mirrored appearance.

Additionally the existing reflectors, composed of cardboard and painted white, also had numerous and varying levels of deterioration resulting in surface cracks and separation. New reflective .018 Alcad aluminum reflectors were custom cut and slumped to match existing, while a new white finish was applied to the top of each reflector, simulating the function of the existing cardboard but with an improved reflectance, durability, and longevity.

There are a total of three unique gold motifs that decorate each of the thirty-two glass panels. The vast majority of the existing gold motifs had deteriorated 40-100%, requiring Grand Light artisans to replicate each of the existing designs. Each design was hand traced before being digitally scanned and modified for print as a new vinyl stencil. The new stencils were then hand applied to each glass panel, allowing a new gold finish to be applied to the glass, faithfully restoring the original gold motif.

Grand Light’s on-site team, working in conjunction with Union League personnel, carefully transported, assembled, and installed the glass diffusers and custom reflectors on the restored chandelier.

Our hope is that The Union League Club members and guests will enjoy these truly unique, beautifully restored fixtures as much we enjoyed breathing new life into them!

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