Project of the Month for July, 2004
St. Paul's Rock Creek Parish
This project, originally erected in 1707, involved the rehabilitation and modification of two 19th century chandeliers. The specification called for the addition of an up-lighting component to the chandelier. The original chandelier had been candle-powered and the arms were solid, with no wireway.
original wiring (above)
An earlier, recent electrification ran the wiring along the outside of the arm using 22 ga., clear speaker wire, not suitable for fixture use, resulting in the burning of the insulation near the lamp holder. The wires were attached with a fine steel wire which was wrapped around the arm and twisted together.
re-routed wiring (above)
We offered the architect two solutions: to route the wires along the top of the solid arm , or to remove most of the arm and replace it with a tube to match the size and shape of the arm, through which we could route and conceal most the wiring. The architect chose to replace the arms with hollow material. From a preservationist standpoint, we were uneasy with the idea of such a modification but knew that it was the most practical and aesthetically pleasing choice.
We also had to fabricate an up-light housing to the architect's specifications, engineer and supply a support frame for the motorized lowering devices to be used and generally alter the interior to accommodate the wiring, such as drilling new wire passages, securing components to prevent rotation, etc.. One of our major goals was to save as much of the original chandelier as possible.
Removal of the solid arms resulted in a 50 lb. reduction in the chandelier weight, down to 175 lbs. The parts were not lacquered and had been polished many times, leaving much polish residue and the resulting corrosion behind. We polished the parts and applied a clear lacquer finish prior to assembly.
Thank you to Atelier Architects for using Klemm.
There were also eighteen candle sconces which needed cleaning, polishing and lacquering (below).