New Haven, CT – The restoration of 188 historic gothic-style pendant lighting fixtures from Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful Lodge is nearing the final stages of completion.
The fixtures are currently in final assembly, where they will be wired, and tested in compliance with UL testing procedures. A total of 1184 panels of medium amber colored, Wissmack-type glass with a dew drop pattern coated in a 3M SCLARL #150 safety film will be installed in fixture’s frames. The historic fixtures will then be packaged and crated for the journey back to the lodge for delivery early April.
The restoration of the historic luminaires began in December with the repair of numerous bent spears and twisted frames. Many frames had required re-assembly as older rivets had broken free, compromising the structural integrity of the entire fixture. The top loops were modified from their original design which had accommodated a 1/8″ threaded rod, to accommodate a new 1/4″ threaded rod that would be better suited for the SVT cord and porcelain socket configuration requested by the park.
Originally, Grand Light was asked to clean the fixtures while preserving the original finish. Our artisans tested 3 cleaning formulas before selecting the best formula for the various metals (Aluminum, Steel, and Galvanized sheet metal) and current condition of the fixture finish, yet even the best outcome was not satisfactory. After testing and inspecting several samples, there was a significant indication of existing fixture finish failure. It was then suggested refinishing the fixtures would be a better solution, thereby insuring decades of continued service to the park.
Once agreed upon to refinish all of the historic luminaries it was determined that a 15% gloss black powder coat finish would be applied. This was the best coating option for the aging galvanized steel frames which had blistered and hardened in a drip formation on several of the fixture frames. The powder coat finish applied 3 to 4 times as thick the paint, thus creating a much smoother finish. In addition, the powder coat is 100% more durable than the paint, will not flake, and will offer 3 times more corrosion protection for these historic fixtures.
The first step in the powder coating process was plastic bead blasting in order to remove all surface contaminants and previous coatings of paint.
Next, the fixtures were sand blasted to achieve a smooth, uniform surface in preparation of powder coating. Once blasted to the bare metal, the fixtures are then submersed in a pre-treated rinse bath removing all particles that have attached to the surface of the fixtures.
After the surface of the fixtures are prepared the 15% gloss black powder coat was then electro-statically applied each individual metal component.
Following the application of the powder coat, the components were sent down the line to the gas fired conventional oven set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 minutes. When the fixtures exited the oven, the powder began curing on the surface. This process is described as “thermo-set”, in which the molecules cross-link, preventing the powder from ever getting soft and flaking from the surface.
Powder coated fixtures await rewiring & reassembly.
Some of the 198 freshly powder-coated components from Type A, C & D fixtures.
Exactly 216 socket assemblies were prepared for the restored originals and 28 replications.
For more information about this project including additional photos, please view the project page.
About Grand Light:
Grand Light, located in New Haven, Connecticut since 1929, is an experienced restorer of historic lighting fixtures and a manufacturer of custom lighting fixtures. We have restored, replicated and manufactured custom lighting fixtures at every scale. Past projects include work for clients such as Yale University, Minute Man National Historical Park, the Shubert Theater, the New Haven Museum and the Otesaga Resort Hotel.