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restorations : revo junior sol-etern

This lantern was originally installed in the grounds of Abberley House, Great Shelford, where it lit a garage forecourt. It was rescued with permission in 2007 when the buildings on the site were being demolished.


before restoration #1
Unfortunately the lantern was vandalised during retrieval: I bent the slim aluminium column to the ground, left the site to fetch more tools, and returned to find the canopy smashed. Therefore the lantern was temporarily stuck together with sellotape just to keep all the pieces together.






before restoration #2
Removing the sellotape revealed the full extent of the damage to the lantern. The bowl had detached from the canopy but, luckily, wasnít damaged further. The canopy had broken cleanly into three pieces.

The end tube holder assembly had fallen off but this was due to corrosion. In turn, the fluorescent tubes were unsupported and had fallen into the bowl. A further piece of metal was also found loose in the lantern, but I was unsure at this stage where it was originally fitted and what its purpose was.






clean canopy #1
The canopy was cleaned with a scourer in warm soapy water. Ironically, the marks left by the sellotape were the toughest to remove.






glue canopy #1
The pieces were carefully glued back together. The breaks were clean and new, so the plastic surfaces matched back together perfectly.






bowl #1
The bowl was covered in dirt, grime, mould and moss. It was given a thorough wash in warm soapy water with a sponge.




bowl #2
The bowl came up beautifully. Despite some superficial scratches and marks, it looked as good as new.






glue canopy #2
Offering up the bowl and canopy revealed a considerable overlap between the two. Therefore, to ensure they were glued back together correctly, the bowl and canopy were refitted to the lantern and fixed in-situ. Therefore, when removed, I was certain the bowl assembly would be correctly stuck back together.






restored bowl assembly #1
After waiting for the glue to dry, the now complete bowl assembly was removed from the lantern and given a further clean.






strip down #1
I now turned my attention to the rest of the lantern. I had a mystery piece of metal, a detached end tube holder, and lots of corroded sheet metal. The entire lantern would have to be stripped down completely and repainted.






strip down #2
The thumbscrew holding the end cap was easy to undo. The interior was full of dead insects and years of accumulated grime. However, everything was complete and in place, but looking rather rusty and dirty.

The two screws holding the thumbscrew threaded hole were removed allowing the end cap to be removed from the lantern's main body.






strip down #3
The gear was extremely rusty and all manufacturerís information had disappeared. (Unfortunately this meant the date on the capacitor was also missing).

I worked out where the mystery piece of metal was originally fixed, but was still confused by its function.






strip down #4
By unscrewing another thumbscrew, the entire gear tray was slid out of the lantern along with all the wiring. This left the lantern's mounting assembly and the gear tray support.






strip down #5
The gear tray was extremely rusty but otherwise complete.

The corroded rivets originally holding the end bulb assembly, and the mystery piece of metal, were replaced with screws and nuts thus securing them again. The original supply lead to the lantern (which I cut to remove it) was also disconnected from the terminal block and discarded.






gear test #1
After checking the wiring, and the state of the capacitor, I deemed it safe to attempt to use the original gear. Therefore a plug was fitted and the original Crompton Parkinson 40W fluorescent tubes were fitted back into their sockets.

When power was supplied, the electrodes glowed red but the bulbs did not light. The tubes were spent.






gear test #2
I replaced the bulbs and tried again. The lantern sprung into life and both tubes lit instantly: the gear was fine.

Testing the gear at this point allowed me to determine if it was worth fitting back into the restored lantern. And if the lantern didnít work after my restoration, I knew the problem would be with my wiring and not the gear itself.






strip down #6
The bulb holders were then removed from the gear tray along with the gear and the wiring loom. Careful notes were made during this process so Iíd be able to put it all back together again.






strip down #7
The gear tray was now stripped of its electrical components; only the rubber grommets required removing now.






strip down #8
The paint was easily removed with a couple of applications of paint stripper. The sheet metal was also vigorously scoured with a wire brush to remove further paint and rust. Finally the tray was rubbed down with sandpaper to make it smooth.






anti-rust treatment #1
The gear tray was then painted with rust inhibitor (this turns black when the rust is converted).






respray #1
After the anti-rust treatment had dried, the gear tray was quickly spray painted with white primer.






respray #2
After the two coats of primer had dried, the gear tray was sprayed with white radiator glossy paint. Radiator paint was chosen as itís extra durable and can withstand the heat from the fluorescent tubes.






reassembly #1
With the gear tray now repainted, the bulb holders, wiring assembly, gear and rubber grommets were refitted. Unfortunately my extensive notes werenít extensive enough and I had to retrieve my other Sol-Etern from the collection to compare the two. Interestingly, whilst the two lanterns are the same structurally, the gear and wiring is completely different.






gear test #3
Again, the gear was tested to ensure my rewiring was correct. The tubes immediately sprang into life so all was well.






strip down #9
The gear tray supports were now removed from the mounting assembly by unscrewing four bolts. There was also a large screw in one of the supports which was removed, although I had yet to work out its function.






strip down #10
The paint was easily removed with a couple of applications of paint stripper. The sheet metal was also vigorously scoured with a wire brush to remove further paint and rust. Finally the gear tray supports were rubbed down with sandpaper to make it smooth.






anti-rust treatment #2
The gear tray supports were then painted with rust inhibitor (this turns black when the rust is converted).




respray #3
After the anti-rust treatment had dried, the gear tray supports were then quickly spray painted with grey primer. (I'd run out of white primer).






respray #4
After the two coats of primer had dried, the gear tray was sprayed with white radiator glossy paint.






clean #1
This left the mounting assembly. The ragged thread at the base of the bracket arm was removed and tidied up.






clean #2
The mounting assembly was then cleaned in warm, soapy water to remove the accumulation of dust, grime and dead insects. The spring mounted hooks, which hold the bowl assembly in place, were liberally greased.






reassembly #2
The gear tray supports were fixed back to the mounting assembly with the four bolts. The mysterious screw was also screwed back in place.




reassembly #3
The gear tray was then slid back into position but stopped half way into the lantern. The mysterious piece of metal which so confused me hit the mystery screw. And so the mystery was solved: in normal circumstances, the metal endpiece stopped the gear tray from being fully pulled out of the lantern when it hit the screw. Obviously this allowed lighting engineers to partly remove the gear tray and inspect the gear and change the tubes without the gear tray completely falling out of the lantern.

The plug and flex were also rewired to the lantern through the bracket arm to keep everything tidy.






reassembly #4
This shot shows the gear and wiring loom installed in the cleaned and repainted lantern.






reassembly #5
The cleaned and restored bowl assembly was now slid into place onto the lantern. The two spring hooks engaged with lugs inside the bowl to hold it firmly in place.






reassembly #6
The end cap was now cleaned in warm, soapy water. Again, it brushed up extremely well.

The thumbscrew threaded hole was refitted along with the plastic cord which stopped the end cap from separating from the lantern completely.






reassembly #7
By screwing the end cap back on, the restoration of the lantern was finally complete.






gear test #4
The lantern was tested one final time and the tubes sprang into life once again. It was now ready to be fully photographed and documented.