JOHN A. WILSON BUILDING
WASHINGTON, D. C.
14th and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. The torchieres
are located on the north and south sides of the 14th Street and 13 1/2
Date of manufacture: C.1908. Materials: Cast iron. Overall dimensions: Base: 20 1/8” x 20 1/8”. Height: 90 3/8” (excluding glass globes). Maximum width: 29 3/8” (excluding glass globes).
A tapered column on a base. The base is square in plan and is raised on four(4) “flattened spheres.” The column tapers out as it rises above the base terminating under a “torch” support disc.
Four(4) small “torches” are equally spaced around the disc and visually
pass through four(4) projected “support arms.” A larger center “torch”
extends above the support disc. Each of the five torches is capped
off by a glass globe. Existing globes of unknown origin consist of
three(3) large (14” dia.) And five(5) small (12” dia.). One of each
was provided by the contractor for sizing of replacement globes.
The glass is translucent, referred to as “opal” by the industry.
Each lamp fixture consists of an assembly of cast iron components manufactured by the sand casting process. Machine screws are the means for attachment of the smaller components to the column. The column is bolted to the base with four(4) bolts and nuts.
Sand cores were used extensively in the casting process. Torches delivered to our studio loose appear to retain the portion of their sand core that formed the inside of the "handle.” It is likely that moisture (from water leaking into the torch) held by the sand was a major contributor to the rust deterioration of both the torches and the support projections cast as an integral part of the support disc/column. In some cases the torch handle suffered longitudinal cracking. Freezing of water held by the sand is a likely cause. In one case one third of the handle was severed by the process and subsequently lost. Of the sixteen small torches, four(4) have been lost prior to this restoration.
For the most part damage to the small torches is confined to the area of connection with the support projections. With the exception of one base; the support projections have apparently fared the worst of all components of the fixtures. Eight(8) exposed by disconnected or missing torches vary in completeness from about 5% minimum to about 50% maximum. It is expected the condition of the remaining eight(8) will be found to be similar after disassembly.
One of the four bases sustained sever rust damage followed by extensive breakage. The other three(3) bases appear to be in good condition. Of these, one(1) is missing a foot (flattened sphere).
Of purely ornamental components attached to the columns by machine screws, apparently only the base connecting elements that visually join the columns to their bases have sustained more than superficial damage. Most of these sixteen(16) pieces have deteriorated across their thickness along edges of contact with their base and column.
For the most part (torch support projections being the exception) the column castings are in very good condition with minimal exterior rusting. Interior rust, although extensive in appearance, has (percentage wise) barely penetrated the ½” to ¾” estimated thickness of the castings.
One area of concern on the column castings is the underside of the column
to base mounting flange. This area is exposed on the column with
the broken base and shows substantial rust penetration. Little separation
between the mounting flanges and bases of the other three(3) fixtures is
a good indicator of less rust penetration on those fixtures.
LAMP POST LOCATION / IDENTIFICATION AND COMPONENT TRACKING
As shown on the architects drawings; Each lamp post location with respect to the compass will be used to identify a particular fixture and its components i.e., Northwest (NW), Southwest (SW) etc.
Notes on the architects drawings and photographs taken prior to the removal of the fixtures from the job site will be used to determine the particular placement and orientation of each fixture.
Individual components, where their original locations are known (i.e.,
they were still in place upon delivery of the fixtures to the studio) or
can be determined by drawings and photographs, will be identified
by their location on an individual fixture with respect to the compass
(the individual lamp taken as the compass center) e.g., a particular
small torch may be designated ST/NW/W (small torch, on the northwest
fixture, on the west side of the fixture). Torch parts will
be similarly designated with the torch taken as the compass center e.g.,
a part might be designated ST/NW/W/S. In this manner parts can be
identified for reattachment at their original location.
INDIVIDUAL FIXTURE EVALUATION
Photographs, notes and drawings will be made as disassembly proceeds
on each fixture. Shop draws will be revised to designate each individual
component, indicate its location, its condition and remedial
action to be taken prior to reassembly.
PRIOR TO DELIVERY PRIOR TO DELIVERY
JUST OFF THE CRANE
A BASE REMOVED
DETERIORATED BASE REMOVED TORCH
REPAIR OF ORIGINAL
PARTS READY FOR REASSEMBLY
MATCHING COLUMN TO A NEW BASE
COLUMN READY FOR PAINT
MATCHING A TORCH
REPAIRING BASE CONNECTING ELEMENTS
PATTERN AND CORE BOXES FOR A NEW BASE
NEW BASE, ROUGH CASTING DRILLING FOR MOUNTING BOLTS
BEGIN OF THE TORCH PATTERN
PATTERN PARTS ON THE LATHE
THE TORCH PATTERN IN PROGRESS
LOOSE PATTERN PIECES
ASSEMBLED TORCH PATTERN
TO BE DRAWN FROM THE SAND INDIVIDUALLY
PLASTER CORE BOX
"NO-BAKE" SAND CORE
PATTERN IN THE FLASK MOLD READY FOR ASSEMBLY
READY FOR SECOND CORE PLACEMENT
CASTINGS BEING FINISHED
CASTINGS BEING FINISHED
ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS FOR TWO LAMP POSTS
ANCHORING THE BASES
14TH STREET ENTRANCE
READY FOR WIRING, 14TH STREET ENTRANCE
COMPLETED TORCHIERES, 14TH STREET ENTRANCE
REPLICATION OF EXTERIOR DOOR HARDWARE
LAYOUT OF MATCHPLATE
BRONZE HARDWARE CASTINGS
BRONZE HARDWARE , 14TH STREET ENTRANCE