Restoration of Decorative Aisle Columns

Pequot Library, Southport, Connecticut

Among the striking details in Robert Robertson’s Pequot Library are the cast iron, copper plated decorative columns which head each aisle of the two story stacks. Before restoration, these were covered with layers of soot from the first years of the Library’s existence when the stacks were lit with coal gas, and with the dust of benign neglect – one of the most welcome conditions the restorer can come across, because the pieces had not been altered, with one exception, since the Library’s creation.

Newmans, Ltd.’s challenge was to gently remove the residues and the original protective film, carefully highlight the polished copper, and apply a new protective film.

Three columns ready for removal of the soot and old protective layer.

A copper plated cast iron capital at the top of an aisle column before disassembly and restoration.

A capital after restoration

A column base before restoration.

A base after restoration. Note the freshly cleaned copper plate, highlights and darkened recesses.

In the early 20th century, individual switches were replaced by a central switch. We removed the unnecessary switches, then designed and manufactured a set of plates to cover their holes.

Preparing the columns for highlighting of the polished copper plated sections.

The fifty columns complete and ready for installation.