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Calamity Kris

An "Alpo-esque" Question Antique Restoration

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I have a pair of Rembrandt's.  Not this Rembrandt:

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This Rembrandt.

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The one on the left is dated about 1921 and the one on the right is dated about 1917.  I am in the process of doing some minor restoration work.  (rewiring and replacing the shades.) 

 

I showed some pictures of the lamps to a friend and she asked if I would clean them up and make them shiny again.  I asked why?  They are about 100 years old.  They have earned all their patina and oxidation.  She said she thought they would look better shiny again.  What does the Saloon think?

 

The shafts are brass.  The bridges are iron.  The one on the right also has some marble inset into the base and the shaft, as well as an iron crest just above the base. 

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I'm old fashion'd.  Making them shiny again makes them look like a Chinese Reproduction.  I'd clean 'em up, rewire with new sockets and new shades and then brag on good they look!!

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I actually have one original Rembrandt shade and one very good reproduction.  As soon as I get them re-wired, I'll put them on.

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8 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

I'm old fashion'd.  Making them shiny again makes them look like a Chinese Reproduction.  I'd clean 'em up, rewire with new sockets and new shades and then brag on good they look!!

 

+10

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I vote just clean them and leave them beautiful. 

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What were they originally? A lot of brass came from the factory with patina.

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Posted (edited)

Chris,

Those are stunning. Maybe clean and a bit of polish. When rewiring, look into code compliant thread wrapped wiring. Has that old look yet is safe.

Edited by Whiskey Business
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And also, use Edison style bulbs ~ these are about $17 a pair at Lowes.   :)

 

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Ask any collector and they’ll tell you to leave the patina alone. 

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1 minute ago, Yul Lose said:

Ask any collector and they’ll tell you to leave the patina alone. 

If it was created with patina you must leave it that way, if it obtained patina through the aging process, you must leave it. There is just no reason to brighten it up.

 

 

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Turn them over and look under the base, as that's likely the original finish. I don't think they were shiny when new. Leave 'em alone.

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3 hours ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

I'm old fashion'd.  Making them shiny again makes them look like a Chinese Reproduction.  I'd clean 'em up, rewire with new sockets and new shades and then brag on good they look!!

There 'tis!  It's what I'd do too.

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My first question is "How do you like them?" Beyond that, if they were mine, I would clean them up, removing as little of the patina as possible, and display them.

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Look at your cowboy pards. We're not too bright and ya love us.Same-same patina

 

Imis

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Easy answer.  It is a lot of work to remove that patina and you can't undo it, but you can always clean later.  The most perfect time to start any project is tomorrow (or next week)

 

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My Mother is in the antiques business and the number 1 rule on antiques is NEVER refinish/ polish the patina that the piece has. it will ruin it's collector value. There was an Antiques Road show where someone brought in a chest of drawers for an appraisal that they had cleaned and made it look like new, It was beautiful with the grain of the wood showing, The had a picture of it before they cleaned it. The appraiser told them that in it's current cleaned up condition it was worth maybe $5000.00, But if they had left it as it was in the picture, it would have been worth $15,000.00 .

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Thank you all for the answers.  I personally hadn't intended to clean them up.  I love the old patina.  I was just checking to see if I was missing something by not cleaning them up, like antique value.  Since cleaning would hurt more than help, I'm great with leaving them the way they are.  I am going to knock some of the dirt out of the Griffin, the crest and  the Sea Horse to make the detail clearer.  They are amazing!!!!

 

As soon as I get them re-wired and re-shaded, I'll post pictures.

 

23 hours ago, Whiskey Business said:

Chris,

Those are stunning. Maybe clean and a bit of polish. When rewiring, look into code compliant thread wrapped wiring. Has that old look yet is safe.

 

That is exactly what I ordered.  I also have as close to period as possible plugs, socket husks, "uno-fittings" and shades.  My intent is to use them in as close to original condition as I can get.

 

 

22 hours ago, Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 said:

And also, use Edison style bulbs ~ these are about $17 a pair at Lowes.   :)

 

767702184_EdisonBulb.thumb.jpg.1c0aaa00bc7e9c135a826d480d0e3c28.jpg

 

I'm thinking about that but the shades will be hiding them so it may not be necessary. 

 

 

23 hours ago, Subdeacon Joe said:

What were they originally? A lot of brass came from the factory with patina.

 

They were originally shiny.  I've had one of them apart looking at how to thread the new wire through it. 

 

Thanks again!!

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