I acquired this lantern from fellow collector Claire Pendrous on 9th September 2006. The lantern originated from York Avenue, Wolverhampton. It was mounted on a Revo Moseley cast column complete with swan neck. The entire column was replaced in 2005/6 with the new lantern being a Holophane Syracuse.
The lantern is now fitted with a polycarbonate outer globe, but originally would have carried a curved glass bowl. Luckily the lantern still has its original glass refractor ring. An 80w MBF/U lamp is fitted, and no photocell has been drilled into the lantern's canopy. Full restoration is required on this lantern, and this includes removal of the old top entry thread, repaint, and fitting of a better replacement outer globe. The lantern has been painted a number of times over the years in various shades of green. This will have to be removed before any repainting can commence.
Restoration: I decided to begin the restoration right away, as I had no primer to continue other jobs. The first task was to strip the lantern down into its component parts. I then removed the perfect glass refractor ring and cleaned it. The enamel relector plate is also in excellent condition, and so just needed a wipe off.
Next, once the canopy was empty, I set about removing the old spigot conduit jammed in the lantern. A small section of the conduit thread was cut out with a hacksaw blade, taking care not to damage the threads of the lantern itself. Then a piece of the conduit thread could be knocked out. The remaining thread was now able to be squashed, and then unscrewed out of the lantern. Now the lantern could be screwed easily onto a new bracket.
The next step was to remove the layers of old paint off the canopy; this being done using paint stripper. Great care must be taken to avoid contact with eyes and skin when using this product. I gave the canopy of the lantern a few treatments and, after a lot of elbow grease, it looked much improved. The picture below shows the lantern before the bowl retaining ring was begun in earnest. The REVO lettering was now as clear as day.
The lantern was now completely stripped of the old paint. This was a very fiddly task as the paint was all around the crevices of the lantern and the 2 stainless clips. These were luckily in perfect condition, and once the paint was removed looked good as new. The interior of the lantern was also stripped and the old blackened paint/grime cleaned out.
Once the lantern was stripped of the old layers of paint, it was rubbed down and then primed. Both the inside and out were sprayed in grey primer and red oxide respectively. The only areas not being painted were the stainless steel catches, and so these were masked accordingly.
Next the lantern was finished inside and out in hammered silver grey paint- as it was believed to be originally. The guts of the lantern were also refurbished before it was re-assembled. The stepped lampholder can be seen- allowing various types/wattages of lamps to be focussed by the refractor ring.
And finally the lantern was completed. The only work required in future would be to find a glass bowl for the lantern..
Thanks to John Thompson, a Revo glass bowl was located, and I could complete the restoration in April 2007.
There are no Bell Top lanterns in Plymouth city, the lone remaining example being removed in 2004. There are however a pair known of in the seaside town Of Dawlish in Devon.
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İDavy Warren 2009