Project of the Month for October, 2006
This project involved the reproduction of eight cast bronze columns and the completion of two cast bronze torchieres flanking the entry doors.
The entry torchieres had been partially dismantled for their protection, stored in the basement of the building some time ago and were incomplete. Everything from the top of the column was missing. The only information available was an area photograph of the library building from the 1920s or 30s.
because there was no provision for attaching the pieces together we used a method commonly used in this type of fixture; a central column. This involved fabricating and attaching a structural support to the base. We then used a 1-1/2"IPS stainless steel pipe as the central "spine" to facilitate assembly, support and wiring.
We now focused on fabricating a lamp cluster to approximate what existed in the 1920s. We used our research library of historic lighting manufacturers' catalogs an design elements on the column as a guide in designing the top cluster. All exterior fabrications are of bronze and all interior structure and fasteners are of 304 stainless steel.
The existing and new bronze elements were cleaned and hot waxed as per the conservator's instructions. The globes were intended to be glass but we have found that the horizontal globe arrangement of this design would break globe fitters easily and was the reason for the abandonment of this type of design.
We delivered and installed the bronze elements while the wiring and attachment of the base were left to the GC and EC. The finished torchieres are shown below.
We also provided (as new fixtures) the perimeter wall column lights. These fixtures were built from scratch based on an old photograph, wear patterns on the stone wall where the originals were mounted, a period manufacturer's catalog page of what is believed to be the fixture. Since J. L. Mott was mentioned on the drawings worked in that direction.
As with most cast columns of this type, basic construction consisted of a central "spine" of a pipe and base plate around which various cast components could be stacked. This allowed many variations on a design, allowing different bases and other elements to be added to a basic column.
The base metal of the original columns could not be determined but would have been either bronze or cast iron. The customer decided on bronze due to the other bronze elements in the park.
We had restored a similar Mott column a few years ago and traveled to the site to take exact dimensions. Casting patterns were built and castings were made. The castings were dressed, machined and fitted prior to finishing with the chosen US10B finish. The finish was protected with a clear urethane finish.
The columns were topped with a raised standard vapor-tight fixture and a 16" white opal glass globe.