Around The Factory

American Artisans At Work Preserving History

Historic Cathedral of St John the Baptist Renovation

Located in Paterson, New Jersey, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist began construction in September of 1865 on sixteen lots of land. The Cathedral was planned by the church’s thirteenth pastor, Very Rev. William McNulty and designed by prominent church architect, P. C. Kiely, in a neo-Gothic style. St. John’s was built by the volunteer labor of members of the parish and completed in July of 1870.

Grand Light was selected by Arthur John Sikula Associates Inc and the Diocese of Patterson for the restoration, replication, and manufacturing of new lighting for the cathedral. This project included the design and custom fabrication of pendant fixtures resembling an existing historic fixture, the replication of a missing exterior fixture, and the restoration of all historic interior and exterior lighting fixtures of the cathedral.


Shown above is a historic luminaire of the cathedral. The design of this fixture was used for the concept of a custom fixture that was going to be added in the chapel, which is connected to the main cathedral.


Grand Light engineers then created the concept which was then to be fabricated for the cathedral.


The fabrication of the raw components consisted of cast aluminum Fleur De Lis and Rope Tassel finials, and each panel was cut from 6061 aluminum plate and the details were cut with our CNC machine. Each component was then welded together, making the fixture sturdy and achieving the same look of the hand forged iron original. Custom loops for the hanging chain were all hand forged giving the top crown a masculine look.


A two-tone finish was had applied utilizing Aqua Leaf Pearlescent Metallic on the Fleur De Lis, Rope Tassel finials, and the top loop. An extended life satin black finish was applied to the body which incorporated multiple applications of primer, top coats, and protective layers of UV resistant lacquer. The fixture was then diffused with a special clean acrylic panel with one side frosted, keeping with the look of the historic used for inspiration.


The completed fixture looks stunning and will be enjoyed by the members of the parish for years to come.


Over time one of the exterior lanterns had gone missing and a new one was to be replicated. The original wall mounted exterior frame and bracket featured intricate detailing and a beautiful verdigris patina, all of which were accurately reproduced on the replicated fixture. Grand Light artisans replicated every detail exact, even down to the use of bronze for the base metal.


Upon completion of fabrication, the replicated lantern then received a custom verdigris patina and three coats of a UV resistant lacquer, which was blended to match the original. Custom frosted seedy glass panels were installed in each side of the lanterns.


Are you able to pick out the difference in the replicated and the original, which was restored as well?


A complete custom lantern, replicating the style, scale, and detailing of the original exterior lantern.


The custom replication installed on the exterior facade of the church.


Out of the twenty original luminaries that were restored, some of the project’s more unique fixtures are twelve chandeliers which feature incredible detail and highly decorative components.


The surface of each component is cleaned and media blasted before an application of museum grade wax. To restore the historical integrity of the chandeliers, all dissimilar, non-original chain links, decorative bells, and acorn finials were replaced with custom replicated matches of the original components.


The rejuvenated polished brass finish on the restored chandeliers perfectly compliments the elaborate stained glass windows, aesthetic furnishings, and decorative design of the beautiful chapel. Contact us today to discuss your lighting project needs and see what we can do for you!

For more information regarding the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist project, you may review the Lighting Restoration Project Homepage or the Custom Lighting Project Homepage.

Leave a Reply