Grand Light Background

Around The Factory

American Artisans At Work Preserving History
Gowanda Theater Luminaries Restoration Work Continues

Gowanda Theater Luminaries Restoration Work Continues

New Haven, CT – Grand Light has had the Gowanda luminaries under work for the past few weeks. Upon their arrival, the fixtures underwent a complete individual inspection: each fixture was photographed and it’s condition was evaluated based on mechanics, electronic, glass and finish condition. The Grand Light artisans were discouraged to discover that the condition of most luminaries would result in having to completely refinish most of these fixtures.

It was originally specified that all the fixtures would be thoroughly cleaned  and conserved with as little color modifications as possible. However, the Grand Light inspection showed aggressive signs of rust and pitting in the majority of the fixtures, making the finish unstable. Moreover, it was noticed that some of the fixtures, in attempt to hide the rust, have been spray painted gold, without any preparation or expert painting. It was determined that working on these fixtures without stripping them of their original finish, would be unstable as well, and sub-par.

With the luminaries evaluated, the restoration work commenced. The work started with cleaning the glass globes and panels (see picture), some glass pieces were damaged by years of smoking patrons and needed to be gently blasted to be cleaned. Grand Light artisans then continued by cleaning and conserving those of the fixtures with stable finish. After being cleansed with water, they were polished with buffing compounds, in filled with a recipe developed by Grand light which will blend the fixtures perfectly, and a  coat of Incraylic or wax, depending on the fixture type , was applied to protect the conserved finish. Fixtures that received this treatment are pictured below.

The other luminaries are to be stripped, and will be refinished. The process for completely refinishing these fixtures begins with removing all the electrical wires, leaving only the exposed metal frame. The fixtures are then blasted until all rust, previous coatings, and surface contaminants are removed exposing the base metal. These fixture frames will them be cleaned with a pre-paint solvent, and primed. The base coat of gold is then applied, and Grand light artisans will then apply a hand rub which has been specially formulated to achieve the desired look of a warm coppery tone that is present on the original finish.

After several attempts, the formula for achieving the look of the original finish has been perfected and applied to one of the type A wall sconces as a mock-up.


On the right, glass pieces before cleaning. On the left, glass pieces after cleaning.
F.jpgFinished F type fixture

I.jpgFinished I type (cleaning without refinish).

L.jpgFinished L type fixture
  photo 9.JPGType A wall sconces will be first to undergo refinish. A mock-up is created for customer approval. Type A fixture shown on the left shows a fixture in its original state, fixture on the left is stripped to base metal and will undergo a specific 6 step refinishing process which includes a lot of hard application of a specially formulated metal rub.

A2.jpgShown above are the various stages the fixtures will undergo during the restoration process.
mock-up.jpgShown above is the final mock-up in comparison to the type L fixture that has been conserved. The match is nearly identical.

Recent Projects:    arrow

Leave a Reply