Project of the Month for August, 2005
William Penn High School
This project consists of the restoration of two cast iron lanterns for the school entrance. The lanterns were manufactured by the Smyser-Royer Company of York (their factory was 10 blocks from the school). The lanterns were stuffed into a mechanical room in pieces (photo). We picked up the lanterns in our truck and brought them back to our facility for restoration. Each weighs 351 lbs.
The cast iron was completely disassembled, and stripped of paint and rust after researching the original finish. Disassembly was made easier by the original manufacturer's use of brass screws.
The existing glass was cleaned and replacements found for the broken panels. new parts were fabricated to replace missing or badly deteriorated parts. The parts received an epoxy primer on all surfaces before assembly began. After assembly of the iron components, with sealer between each part, the lanterns were primed again and finish-coated. This will prevent rust-streaking of the finish coat.
Some restorers may just sandblast an assembled fixture and paint. Water is then drawn into crevices via capillary action, causing rust to run out of the crevices, streaking the fixture. The finish coat was a clear urethane with the original bronze powder mixed in, followed by a clear urethane top-coat. The top-coat protects against the exposure of the bronze powder to the elements in the color coat.
Clear tempered glass panels were placed in front of the original patterned glass for security and sealed in place, Drain holes were opened up. A new mounting template was made for setting mounting studs. The lanterns were wired for two 70 watt metal halide lamps with electronic uni-volt ballasts. All fasteners were replaced with 18-8 stainless steel. The lanterns were returned to site for installation.