- December 22, 2006
- Dear Friends,
- It has been just over three years since
I wrote the last news letter and a lot has transpired in the
time that has elapsed. The various fixtures, glass shades, and
chimneys that are displayed on the Argand,
Sinumbra, and Solar Lighting and the
Glassware and Miscellanea galleries testify to all that has been accomplished.
It has been quite a struggle but very rewarding.
This past year has been a good one. Sales of both lamps and glass
have increased to a pleasing level. Here is a run-down of the
past years accomplishments as well as plans for the coming year.
- The website has just been expanded
and reorganized in an effort to make it more informative and
easy to use. A new section that is devoted to educational and
interesting material that relates to these superior oil lamps
has been added and it is accessible in the Argand,
Sinumbra, and Solar Lighting gallery
to visit this new section titled Related
Topics click on the photograph
at the bottom, right in the gallery. New material will be added
to this section as it becomes available and of course, new products
will be added as well, so please visit the site from time-to-time
to see what is new.
- Four new Argand shades have been developed
and they have proven to be quite popular. We have also developed
new methods to frost shades so that the transition between frosted
and non-frosted areas is not sharply defined but rather
a hazy transition that is like that on period wheel-frosted shades.
Lotus Shade, Trumpet Shade, Vase Shade, Chimney/shade
- The solar 3-burner chandelier is very
close to becoming a reality all casting and spinning work
has been done and all that is left to do is
the machining of various parts, assembly, and finishing. Early
chain has been reproduced and after a trial assembly I think
that this will be a stunning chandelier.
- The solar harp lamps have been
finished; the first two were sold to the National Park Service
and sent to Wyoming for use
in the general store at Fort Laramie.
- Work has just gotten underway on an
Argand table lamp a copy of the drawing of this lamp that
appears in the 1820 Rees Cyclopaedia of Arts, Sciences, and
Literature is posted on the Argand,
Sinumbra, and Solar Lighting gallery.
This is an early 1800s lamp and very appropriate for use
in homes dating to the Federal period. This lamp should
be available by the spring of 2007. For more information, click
on the photograph at the top of the gallery page.
- In early November a four-burner version
of the Argand 3-burner chandelier was shipped to the Hardwick
Historical Society in Hardwick, MA. In the 1800s it was
customary for lamp manufacturers to sell a particular chandelier
with 2, 3, 4 or more burners and in keeping with this practice
we are doing the same.
- Solar Harp Lamp
- Circa 1845
- Argand Table Lamp
- Circa 1817
- Argand 4-Burner Chandelier
- version of the 3-burner
- The New Year will also bring several
new shades a small spherical solar shade that will fit
on the chimney retainer nut and also one or more different-sized
sinumbra shades. The shades will be developed to not only meet
the requests received from people who have lamps with no shades
but also because plans are underway to have one or more sinumbra
table lamps and chandeliers available later in the coming year.
The photographs below have been copied from 19th Century Elegant
Lighting by Gerald T. Gowitt.
Small Solar Shade
- Several years ago I started doing the
majority of the machining for the various lighting fixtures that
are now available. This required purchasing a better lathe which
I have since completely disassembled, modified, cleaned, and
painted. Quite an investment has been made in the tooling that
was needed for both the lathe and milling machine. In-house machining
has resulted in better use of funds available for the research
and development of new lamps and has made it possible to increase
the number of new reproductions that have been completed as well
as those in the planning stages.
- 9 South
Bend Lathe made in 1937 - it was originally built as a Model
C and has been converted
to a Model A by adding a quick-change gearbox and a carriage
with auto cross feed.
- Our shop facilities have been greatly
expanded and updated and a room devoted solely to finishing has
been added. A new and much larger spray booth has been purchased
and installed and procedures involving the storage, handling,
and disposal of finishing materials have been implemented in
order to address sensitive environmental issues.
- This past year I gave presentations
about Argand, sinumbra, and solar lighting at several historical
societies. In order to demonstrate the inner workings of an Argand
lamp, a lamp made predominantly from glass has been built (to
see photographs, click on the top photograph of the Argand, Sinumbra, and Solar Lighting gallery page). It has been a very effective
tool used to show the flow of fuel from the font to the wick
and also how the spiral wick raising mechanism works. I am in
the process of developing a more comprehensive presentation and
am looking forward to doing more of this type of work.
- Not long ago I was very fortunate to
find a copy of a rather rare booklet which is part of Websters
Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy. The lengthy section that
is titled Artificial Illumination is extremely interesting
and informative. It has been scanned and digitally enhanced in
Photoshop and is being made available in a spiral bound edition.
Details are on the Argand, Sinumbra,
and Solar Lighting gallery click
on the photo on the bottom, left. There is also some equally
interesting information in the Cyclopaedia or Universal Dictionary
of Arts, Sciences and Literature by Abraham Rees and this
will also be made available in the near future.
- And finally, if in your travels you
should be coming through Central New York State, you are more
than welcome to visit the workshop. It is located in the town
of Westmoreland less than one mile from Westmoreland Exit #32
on the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) and just 10 miles
west of Utica and 40 miles east of Syracuse. Be sure to call
before stopping to make sure that I will be in. As always, it
will be a pleasure to hear from you with your thoughts, comments,
questions, and suggestions. And please, if you should find any
information within the website that you believe to be inaccurate
I would be most grateful if you would bring it to my attention.
- Sincerely yours,
- Joel Paradis