This chandelier was purchased by the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York for use in the church located on the village green. The chandelier was in excellent condition except that much of the original finish had deteriorated and the fonts were missing. The museum wanted to restore it as an electrified solar chandelier.
Work started with complete disassembly of the chandelier. Since the museum did not elect to refinish it at this time, all parts were simply cleaned using a mild detergent and warm water. Work began by resizing the rings that support the solar fonts. The original rings were made to support a font with a slightly larger diameter than that of the standard solar font and so it was necessary to cut out a small section of the rings so that the fonts would fit properly. The fonts were fitted with all of the parts that would have been used for an oil-burning lamp except for the internal spiral tube and wick adjustment assembly. Note that, as a result of careful design work, the source of light is in the same location as it would be if the lamp were oil burning. A gold gilt finish that was followed up with a dragoon-blood tinted lacquer was applied to the fonts. Since chimneys and shades (globes) are not commercially produced, it was necessary to locate and work with a skilled glass blower to develop these items. The shades are properly frosted on the inside as they once were when they were not cut with a decorative design.
The most challenging part of any electrification project is finding a way to route the wires in the least noticeable way possible. Certain criteria must be met and other factors taken into consideration before a particular method can be decided upon. It is important to note that the electrification of this chandelier is reversible, that is to say, should it ever be decided to return the chandelier to its original oil-burning state, there will be no visible trace left by the electrification procedure. It was decided to route the wiring from the point where it exited the solar fonts along the decorative S-shaped support arms. The insulation on this portion of the wire was carefully painted and antiqued to match the finish on the support arms. From a distance of three or so feet the wire is virtually indistinguishable. The large round casting at the base of the chandelier was utilized as a junction box where wiring from the four fonts was broken down into two circuits.
The four wires that make up the two circuits were run up through the chandelier's central support column. Running the wire through the large, pear-shaped decorative piece located near the bottom of the column presented the biggest challenge.
After much careful measurement it was determined that four small brass tubes could be inserted through this piece. They were soldered in place and served as conduits for the wiring in this portion of the column.
It was an easy matter to run the wiring up through the long, spiral-fluted column. The multi-leafed casting located at the top of the fluted column was drilled so that the wires could exit through it to the very top of the support column.
A special fitting had to be machined to prevent the wire insulation from being cut where the wire exits the top of the multi-leafed casting. From this point on, the insulation was painted and antiqued to match the finish of the surrounding parts of the chandelier and the support rod that was used to hang it from the ceiling.