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  About Klemm  

Klemm is  an experienced restorer of historic lighting and a manufacturer of custom lighting fixtures of all types.  We can also perform modifications to existing lighting fixtures.  We have a fully equipped fabrication shop.  We perform our own metal fabrication, polishing, painting, welding, abrasive blasting, patina work, glass bending and various other operations.  For other needs, such as castings, extrusions, etc., we have many reliable subcontractors, some of which we have been working with for over 50 years.  Our products bear the UL listing mark and the union label.

               

We work in various metals such as steel, stainless steels, brass and copper alloys, aluminum, glass, plastic, plaster, fiberglass among others.  We work with sheet forms, plate, bar, extrusions, castings, and others.  We have restored and manufactured fixtures weighing from under one pound to over one thousand pounds.  We have made fixtures that would fit in the palm of your hand to assemblies that would fill a room, in quantities ranging from one piece to thousands.  As you view our website, please remember that there is little that we cannot build.                 

 

      Our History     Michigan_Senate_Chandelier_300.jpg (112608 bytes)

Klemm was founded by Bernard Goetz in 1855 as the "B. Goetz & Co.", a manufacturer of day-lighting reflectors. In 1871, he partnered with Fredrick Klemm founding the American Reflector Company, housed in Klemm's perfumery building at 5th & Cherry Sts in Philadelphia. By 1875, Goetz, and his partner Fredrick Klemm were manufacturing double-cone reflectors for gas and oil, winning a contract to provide all of the exhibition hall lighting for the 1876 Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia.  Examples of this reflector survives in the Michigan State Capitol, where ten of our original fixtures grace the Senate and Assembly chambers, and have since 1879, and in our collection as well.  Bernard Goetz left town in 1878 and the company was operated by Fredrick Klemm alone.  The company changed their name to Klemm & Co. in 1892 when Klemm's sons George and Howard became involved and moved aggressively into electric fixtures, patenting several fixtures on their own.  Bernard Goetz resurfaced in NYC to found the B. Goetz Manufacturing Company in 1887.  After Fredrick Klemm's death in 1913 the company was operated by George and Howard Klemm. 

 

In 1926, the company was acquired by the current owners, now in its third generation and incorporated as the "Klemm Reflector Company".  George Klemm held a position until his death in 1934.  New designs were added and another patent was granted for stage foot-lighting.

During the Great Depression, Klemm survived by taking any type of lighting work to supplement its product line. This was the start of our custom manufacturing business.

                         

During World War Two, our operations were switched over to war work as we worked as a sub-contractor to manufacture 61 million detonator caps for artillery shells.  

After World War Two, Klemm abandoned it¡¯s product line altogether and concentrated exclusively on custom project work.

In 1975, Klemm was asked to duplicate a chandelier similar to that in an old photograph for the restoration of the first operating theatre in the new world at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.  Working from a photo supplied by the hospital and our own historical data, we provided a copy.  Shortly afterward, due to a resurgence of interest in preservation of historic buildings, Klemm was asked to restore fixtures from Bryn Mawr College and University of Pennsylvania. We have completed many projects since that time.

How we can help you

On restoration projects, we prefer to review the site before we even quote a project.  We find this to be necessary due to varying conditions from fixture to fixture on most projects.  missing, broken, or damaged parts, corrosion, and degradation to polished finishes make each fixture, even within a given type, unique.  We detail the condition on our quotations  This review process allows us to interface with the contractor to coordinate removal of the fixtures with a minimum of damage, and allows us to discuss details with the customer or specifier that can become problems later.  We store the fixtures in our facility until restoration commences, performing all restoration work in our own facility.  We have found these methods to be effective in minimizing potential damage to, or loss of irreplaceable historic artifacts.

When we build a custom fixture, we strive to build a fixture that is durable both in finish and construction.  Our extensive experience in fixture restoration has given us great insight into construction techniques which will withstand the ravages of time, and the elements, and help us to build a fixture which is easily serviced and maintained.  A fixture designed with an eye toward ease in handling and assembly, resulting in minimal potential damage during installation.  Our extensive experience in custom lighting and restoration can provide our customers with the help and advice needed in planning a project, from design concept to installation.                    

Whenever practicable, we like to meet with the Design Professional, Construction Manager, Contractor, and/or Owner's Representative to coordinate project details as early as possible in a project's design phase.  We believe that we have a wealth of experience to offer our clients and that our experience is taken to best advantage early in a project's life.

We hope that you will be impressed with our work.

 

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