Washington DC Metropolitan Court Complex

This project involved the restoration of several types of historic lighting fixtures for the entry areas of the building.  This page shows the type A2 torchieres.  The torchieres were constructed of cast and wrought iron between 1937 and 1939.  Construction techniques varied between the two buildings, even though they were they were built by the same company two years apart.  The restoration of the torchieres was a general restoration but we are only detailing the unusual issues here.   The finished photo is at bottom. 


Several torchieres, which weighed 502 lbs assembled, broke apart due to a design defect aggravated by poor maintenance.  While the drain holes in the lantern head were generous, they were poorly placed, allowing water and dirt to collect and rust through the central pipe supporting the lantern head.  All pipe stubs were removed and new stubs welded in.  Drain shields were added to channel water toward the drain holes to prevent future damage.  Tempered glass lenses were used to prevent breakage which would allow water to enter.



The lantern heads were also damaged by water entry.  The cast iron bases were fractured, most likely by continual freeze/thaw cycles after water entry.   New casting patterns and castings were made and grafted onto the existing lanterns.  Several steps were taken to prevent water entry such as covering the vent slots in the lantern cone and gasketing the glass.  The lanterns and poles were shipped separately to minimize the chance of damage.


A special assembly was made to manipulate the assembly while welding, grinding and painting.


The project also required two new torchieres to be supplied.  The existing torchiere was measured and a CAD file produced.  The profiles were printed full size and parts manufactured to match and welded together.