Case Study: 19th Century Lantern Restoration Using Superfast Steel Epoxy Putty

A relighting worth waiting for – the restoration of a Victorian lamp made possible by Superfast Steel Epoxy Putty

Superfast Steel Epoxy Putty is used in the restoration of a lantern made by famous Birmingham lamp maker Arthur J. Poole and dated to the 1870s or 1880s, returning it to working order so that it could light up spaces as it did in its Victorian heyday.

Case Study Data

Repair Type
Restoration of a 19th century lantern
Broken candleholder and snapped door latch

Products Used

Superfast Steel Epoxy Putty Stick
Epoxy putty used to formulate new parts and for high-strength adhesion of metal-to-metal and plastic-to-metal

Case Study PDF

Case Study Details

Arthur J. Poole manufactured a huge range of candle-lit lanterns, lanterns for police offices, lamps for use on the railways, maritime signal lamps capable of transmitting Morse code, and copper coal buckets from his factory in the heart of Birmingham during the 19th century.

The lantern in question was candle powered, dating it to the 1870s or 1880s before paraffin became more widely used. For an item the best part of 120 years old and which had clearly spent most of its life as a working lantern, it was in remarkably good condition.

There were two areas which needed attention before it could be used once again. The lantern no longer had a latch to close the door in place. Whenever there was a breeze or the device was being transported by its handle, the door would therefore swing open and the candle inside would be extinguished.

Original fitting for holding a candle in place. A new part needed to be made to hold larger, modern day candles

The other problem was that the original candleholder was very small, and not suited to most modern day candles. To overcome this, it was decided to make a round platform that could take tea lights or other larger candles and fix a spike on the bottom that could slot into the existing candleholder.

This was done using Superfast Steel Epoxy Putty. Superfast Steel comes in a pre-formatted 114g stick. The user cuts off the amount of putty required and then mixes it by hand, instigating a chemical reaction between the resin and hardener.

Superfast Steel has a work time of between 5-10 minutes. Whilst soft, it can be shaped and formed as desired. Once cured, it offers super-strength adhesion between different materials and forms a material as hard as steel.

A new candleholder fashioned for a 19th century lamp as part of a restoration using Superfast Steel Epoxy Putty
New candleholder fabricated from Superfast Steel. The platform has already been painted black

To create a new candleholder, Superfast Steel was moulded into the required shape to make the platform. Once the platform had cured, the spike was shaped and added. Whilst soft, the spike was pushed into the existing fitting to ensure it was a perfect fit.

The spike easily bonded to the platform, creating a new holder capable of supporting a modern candle inside the lantern and completing part one of the restoration.

The new candleholder enabled the lantern to hold a modern candle in place

To create a new handle for the door, a metal wire was bent into a T-shape by folding a strip in half, then bending the two ends at right angles. It was attached to the door via two plastic tubes which were bonded to the lantern using further Superfast Steel.

When the door was closed, this metal wire could now drop into an existing latch attached to the opposite side of the lantern, locking it in place and preventing the candle from blowing out.

The completed restoration of a 19th century lantern carried out using Superfast Steel Epoxy Putty
The completed restoration

A coating of black paint was added to the wire, the plastic tubing and the Superfast Steel to complete the restoration at a cost of under £15.

The lantern is now lighting up a garden in East Sussex and ready for another 120 years of service. Arthur J. Poole himself would have been impressed.

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