University of Pennsylvania Dental School
These wall brackets were not originally electrified. As there was no provision for electric or gas, we must assume that they were originally candle or oil lamps. Sometime between the 1880s and present, the brackets were retrofitted for electric with the wiring taped to the outside of the fixture. This wiring was in such poor condition that the fixtures had to be taken out of service due to short circuits. As the fixtures were low enough for the public to touch, they were an accident waiting to happen! There were several coats of paint, the last one being flat black.
We began our restoration with a complete disassembly and stripping of the finish. As the layers of paint fell away, from black to orange to green, the base metals of brass and pewter appeared. So we set about the task of restoring the original polish of the brass and pewter. While this task was being performed we were also fabricating new brass knobs to replace missing units, modifying the fixture for internal wiring and repairing the deteriorating solder joints on the candle cups. Finally, reassembly, rewiring, and a coat of clear lacquer.
The difference from start to finish was so stark and the results were so spectacular that the owner asked us to duplicate four new units in a smaller size for an adjacent space.