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American Artisans At Work Preserving History

Restoring Civic Duty – 1914 New Haven Courthouse Restoration

The New Haven County Courthouse is located in the Downtown of New Haven, Connecticut. It has been a prominent and stately presence on the New Haven Green since its opening in 1914. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 16, 2003.

Grand Light teamed JCJ Architecture and Kronenberger & Sons, Inc to to restore the massive New Haven Courthouse entry doors and large exterior lanterns to their original glory. The restoration involved repairing and filling holes, removing all aged finish, and an application of a new beautiful custom red rust patina.

The courthouse and Grand Light’s contribution to the building’s restoration is featured prominently in the May 2019 Edition of the architectural magazine, Clem Labine’s Traditional Building.

The refinishing of the bronze doors, panels, windows, and lanterns involved discovery of the original finish, replication recipes, surface preparation via cleaning and media blasting of the bronze surface, hot application of a statuary bronze patina, multiple layers of a custom red rust patina applied at temperatures of 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit, and multiple applications of a protective lacquer. The repair of the doors involved bronze welding of previously drilled holes, and creating a smooth uniform surface for patination.

All decorative bronze detailing, including edges and ornamental rosettes, were meticulously hand burnished by Grand Light artisans to highlight and expose underlying bronze accents. The restoration of the exterior lanterns included refinishing all components, replacement of all electrical components, replicated slumped glass panels, rewiring with UL listed components, and HIPOT testing in accordance with UL 1598 standards.

The massive bronze entry surface preparation and refinishing work was performed entirely on-site. Additionally this work was to be performed on weekends with the scaffolding and containment curtains removed prior to 8:00 AM Monday mornings. Grand Light planned, mobilized and executed this on-site work with a team of ten artisans in only five days. (2 day and 3 day weekend)

This on-site work was approved without exception within twenty-four hours of completion.

For more information regarding the New Haven Courthouse lighting restoration project, you may review the Historic Lighting Restoration Project Webpage, or check out the Clem Labine’s Traditional Building Featured Article.

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