Light Fixtures for FLW's Davenport House

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pharding
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Light Fixtures for FLW's Davenport House

Post by pharding »

We will be reproducing FLW wall sconces for the Davenport House. We have been talking with Artemus Lighting in Cleveland, who did the Westcott House fixtures. Our fixtures will be typical FLW fixtures from 1901 which have a stepped cast brass base and a cast brass end piece with an opening for the bulb. A cost issue is the expense of these cast brass pieces. Artemus has proposed fabricating them from brass plate with soldered or welded corners as a way to save money. Is there another vendor out there who has made cast brass components for FLW Prairie wall sconces? I faintly recall that a custom lighting shop in Indianapolis had this capability. Can anyone help me with the name of that shop or another source?
Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

A large part of the cost of casting would be the pattern, wouldn't it ? If you were able to create this yourself of wood and/or other appropriate material, after consulting with the foundry for release angles, shrinkage factors, etc, you might save a lot. How many are you going to make ?


SDR

outside in
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Post by outside in »

I'm not aware of any specific cast brass fixtures used in 1901 - generally fixtures were fabricated from relatively thin sheets of brass - pounded, press, turned or otherwise made into shapes, much like a sheet metal fabricator. Where were cast brass sconces used?

PrairieMod
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Post by PrairieMod »

You might want to approach Historical Arts & Casting in Salt Lake City, Utah:

http://www.historicalarts.com/

They do beautiful work and are familiar with Wright's work since they used to be FLWF Licensees...they may be able to work with you to accomplish your need.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Image Robie

Image Dana

Image Willits

The above illustrations are found in Donald Hoffman, "FLLW - Architecture and Nature"

Image

Image

SDR
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Post by SDR »

By pattern I mean of course the prototype or model of the cast part, which is used (in sand casting, at least) to create the mold into which
hot metal is poured. Pattern-making as a craft is no doubt largely a thing of the past -- a woodworking specialty of long duration. The large
gears and sheaves (pulleys) in wood that one finds in antique shops, etc, are in fact patterns. . .

Paul, are the Davenport sconces anything like the Willits pieces shown above ?


SDR

outside in
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Post by outside in »

Yes, in his later years, and for houses with bigger budgets Wright was able to design custom cast sconces, probably made by Winslow or Adams and Westlake (Ward Willits company - made the Martin House lights) - but I had to laugh, because the lights in the Dana House are actually designed by Walter Burley Griffin for the Emery House in Elmhurst (1902), and the Willits House lights are not cast, but made from sheet brass and barstock - no cast components.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

If you have seen and handled these fixtures directly you would be in a position to describe their material and method of construction. I have not. It is not possible to tell one way or the other from the photos above, I suppose -- though the large B+W photo of the Willits sconce certainly appears to have a cast element at the top (in direct light.) And I find it hard to believe that the dozens of complex Robie fixtures, as shown, would not be most economically made by casting rather than brazed, ground and buffed fabrication.


SDR

rightwaswright
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Re: Light Fixtures for FLW's Davenport House

Post by rightwaswright »

pharding wrote:Is there another vendor out there who has made cast brass components for FLW Prairie wall sconces? I faintly recall that a custom lighting shop in Indianapolis had this capability. Can anyone help me with the name of that shop or another source?
Winona Lighting from Winona, Minnesota. They are expensive but they have the capability to do everything you've described.

http://www.winonalighting.com/custom

sjnorris
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Post by sjnorris »

Lite Makers Inc.
43-49 10th Street, Long Island City, New York 11101
718 729 7700
http://www.litemakers.com/index.html

Aurora Lampworks 172 North 11th St.,
Brooklyn, NY 11211
http://www.auroralampworks.com/

D. Shawn Beckwith
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Joined: Wed May 03, 2006 9:23 pm

sconce lights

Post by D. Shawn Beckwith »

Mr. Harding:
Arthur Klein and Dave Baben at Artemus Lighting will give you the quality fixture you deserve for your project. They are real good folks to work with.
Also at the Westcott Lauren Burge from Chambers, Murphy and Burge recieved a message from Mr. Thorpe on another vendor that also made this light fixture. It was for the Sutton House in Missouri ( I believe). We had one of thier samples and it was very good. We opted to stay with local Ohio ( Go Buckeyes) vendors for the Westcott.
You can contact Conner's Architectural Antiques Sid and Cheryl Conner at connersaa@aol.com or 402-435-3338.

Stanford supplied some good sources also. Stanford Did Steve tell you the recent Historical Project I have been involved in?

D. Shawn Beckwith
The Durable Restoration Company Florida Branch
www.DurableRestoration.com
Construction Project Manager of the
Burton J. Westcott House

Ps. we used a microcrystilne wax on the fixtures Renissance

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Thank you all for the interest and information. I appreciate your generous input.
outside in wrote:I'm not aware of any specific cast brass fixtures used in 1901 - generally fixtures were fabricated from relatively thin sheets of brass - pounded, press, turned or otherwise made into shapes, much like a sheet metal fabricator. Where were cast brass sconces used?
The majority of FLW houses of 1901 used cast brass components. Two other 1901 FLW projects from the same period used modest sized wall sconces with a cast 4" x 4" base and cast cap with opening for the light bulb. This includes Fricke and Heurtley Houses. From photographs it looks like FLW used cast fixtures of a completely different design on the 1901 Henderson House. Davenport light fixtures were made by T.W. Wilmarth Co. according to the close-out documents for the project. T.W. Wilmarth made custom light fixtures, including cast brass, generally for large commercial projects, i.e. movie theaters. The common FLW Prairie wall sconces that followed substitute a wood base trimmed with a brass angle for the cast base. This was a more cost effective iteration. I have been told that these fixtures were made W. B. Brown Company, of Bluffton, Indiana. The original Davenport fixtures have been lost and we could not find any documentation of what they looked like. It seemed reasonable to look at FLW light fixtures from the same year that were appropriately scaled to the house. Larger FLW fixtures from the period would not have fit the scale and budget for Davenport. If a period interior photograph shows up and I am wrong, then the light fixtures can easily be swapped out. Like all of the original hardware for doors, windows and cabinets, and electrical accessories, the light fixtures will have a Bower-Barff finish which is a quite beautiful matte brown black finish. This finish was used by Louis Sullivan. It is really beautiful against the warm, slightly reddish, medium brown stained wood.
Paul Harding FAIA Owner and Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, the First Prairie School House in Chicago | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

ozwrightfan
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Location: Sydney Australia

Post by ozwrightfan »

I would think pattern makers would still be around. Many things are still cast and most moulded plastic items would still have to have a pattern maker make the original pattern. They would be the best ones to make a pattern as they have contraction rules etc and would know correct shrinkage rates and correct draft for pattern removal from moulds. For a complex design you may need core boxes made to produce the sand cores to go into the mould prior to casting. Obviously the fabricator of the lights would have a preferred pattern shop and foundry as they will have to machine and fabricate the finished casting into the completed light

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