Restoration Files: 16 Lights


Chandelier restoration project

A long-time customer purchased this lovely lady for his historic register home, and what a mess it was! The first problem was a frame that needed polishing.

The second problem was a box full of unlabeled, unwashed, and barely wrapped crystal. I’m always amazed at how badly sellers can pack crystal. But, nothing was broken, so it could have been so much worse. As it was, it was more like a 3D puzzle. Just a small challenge.

The arms on this fixture are hollow, squared pipe – not as sturdy as one would think. That, combined with the ridges in the pipe, dictated that everything had to be polished by hand, which looks better in the end – a nice, satin finish is usually the result. After the entire fixture was disassembled, Richie polished the brass frame by hand, added new electrical components, cleaned the crystal breaks, and reassembled the fixture.

Next, we tackled the crystal trimmings. There were a total of eight different styles of prisms – some of which looked original to the fixture and were quite striking. Some soaking, polishing, and re-pinning and they were all beautiful again.

The origin of this chandelier is a bit unclear. It definitely retains some original gas elements, but the upper candles were added, perhaps when the fixture was originally wired. You can see the drilled holes in the lower and the upper arms – with the electrical running on the outside of the scrolled portion of the upper arms. The stem had been modified as well, with the crystal breaks being a more modern addition. Like many affordable antiques, it is a mixture of periods. Eclectic and lovely.

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  • Nancy Daniel
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