Author Topic: Guidelines and ideas  (Read 1271 times)

Offline \\-olff

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Guidelines and ideas
« on: January 14, 2015, 10:32:18 PM »
I will preface this post with the statement that we all have, or will have our individual opinions on the subject of rehabilitating antique fire equipment, here is what I did, have done, would do when presented with the ownership of not just an antique fire alarm box, but antiques in general.

As a member of the National Historic Trust, professional sculptor, collector of various antiques, and owner of a non-profit art gallery/museum, I have always held to these concepts, guidelines and thoughts when it comes to antiques:

Rule #1 is the most important: Do no harm! do not replace original parts with modern ones unless absolutely necessary and all other options exhausted.

Every antique has an irreplaceable history, and a story to tell us and future generations, everything from small original factory flaws to the original paint is part of the history and story.
A great deal of history and story line can be gleaned from carefull, close up visual examinations, any disruption of this definitely destroys some of the intrinsic value and history, this is one reason why collectors and museum curators will strongly say such things as to never clean old coins to make them shiny again, never remove the valued patina of age from brass, bronze, copper, stone etc by means of sandblasting, abrasive sanding or chemicals. Using these items removes or otherwise destroys part of the object's original surface material. In the case of brass, bronze, copper etc which was to be exposed to the outdoors and weather- the brown tarnish which eventually turns to the green patina is a protective film that naturally forms on this metal and protects it from further corrosion.

Treat an antique like it is- an antique, you will notice that museums will never take damaged artifacts or antiques and try making them look like new, you will never a museum taking an ancient Roman carved marble statue with a broken nose or missing head and trying to sculpt on a new one with bondo! why? because the larger value in the work is because of it's original intactness, modern materials such as plastics, resins, bondo, vinyl etc have no business on an antique.

Why would anyone want a 100 year old antique to look like some cheap mass produced plastic junk that just came over on a container ship from a factory in China?

Could someone find a model T Ford in excellent condition, and then "restore" (according to their claim)- by sandblasting the original black paint off and repainting it with super high glass pink automotive paint, and then adding on "flame" decals to the hood? this is the same in my mind to what I see some people doing to 100 year old fire alarm boxes with super high gloss bright red automotive paints, highlighted lettering and borders in white and gold, polished hinges and so forth.

All the ones I have seen photos of treated this way look like they are made out of fiberglass instead of cast iron, and are reproduction knock-offs made in China.

People are improperly calling that treatment "restored" or a "restoration" when in fact it's more properly terms "reconditioned", reconditioning involves replacing parts, repainting etc.

I want to expand on this subject some more over time and add some photos as well, for now I will post this to get it started.
Sculptures are drawings you fall over in the dark