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Renovation of a Cubism ceiling light from 1920

I have recently renovated a Cubism ceiling light that was manufactured in about 1920. In this article, I will reveal to you how exactly did I do it what surprised me during the renovation.

A thorough inspection

When discovered, the ceiling light was simply in a pitiful condition. As is obvious from the pictures, it was greatly damaged by the ravages of time. It had deformed and rumpled upper part plating, joints were cracked and the whole piece was heavily oxidized all over.

Several components were missing from the ceiling light, such as the original glass shades, leaded glass panels and mainly the actual point lights that were located all over the edge of the light. The holding piece, including the system for mounting and lighting of the whole ceiling from inside, was no exception.

The following picture shows that the edge of the light had only one point light that was preserved. This point light served as a sample according to which spares were made.

Renovation proposal and procedure

Once overall damage was assessed and analysed, a renovation procedure was proposed as follows:

The whole piece had to be degreased completely, oxidization removed and dirt cleaned. Subsequently, the hem that sustained the upper part of the central shade needed to be removed.  It had suffered considerable damage due to which it could not be upheld. Therefore, honing and polishing became an inevitable part of the renovation process.

The following step consisted of mounting point light holders on the edge of the ceiling light.

(This picture shows the condition of the light in the aforementioned stage of renovation.)

Fitting of hem for attachment of the light and subsequent galvanizing were steps that followed.

All inner joints needed new soldering which would provide for greater strength of the light. Old methods and tools were used for soldering (blow torch). The work is depicted in the following picture.

This picture shows the ceiling light fitted with shades and ready for polishing.

Design of the mounting system

The whole mounting system design, including electric wiring, was not omitted as it was an important part of the reconstruction process. The original holding piece did not preserve, and so a 3D model of the ceiling light had to be drawn in order for the holding piece to be designed.

The holding piece as such has a octagonal base from which related plates (leaded glass) come off gradually. It is finished with a cross and three clamps that lead off it.  These clamps illuminate the central (the largest) shade. The whole system of the ceiling light, including the point lights on the edges, contains 27 bulbs.

(The following picture shows the final 3D draft of the holding piece.)

Precise manufacturing drawings were made after this step, based on which individual components of the light were made. One of these drawings is seen in the following picture.

After individual parts had been manufactured, the raw components were fine-tuned and adjusted so that they had their final appearance; threads were cut or holes to fit other components into were drilled etc.  The entire holding piece was then galvanized, and looked like this:

Electric wiring

V dalším kroku se přistoupilo k natažení nové elektroinstalace. Na následujících několika fotografiích je možné vidět zachycený průběh při instalaci elektroinstalace.

This picture shows the final appearance of the holding piece.

After the holding piece was finished, the system was tested, and the whole piece was lit for the first time, as is seen in the following picture:


Polishing of the surface of the ceiling light body followed. The following picture is of the ceiling light being polished.

And the next picture shows the light after it was cleaned completely.


Galvanisation of the entire inside surface of the ceiling light followed. This step was performed mainly in order to prevent the inside surface of the light from oxidizing again; also, it ensured that the body of the chandelier would be protected from inside.

Electric wiring was installed into the light body and into the point lights that are on the hem of the light. This step is shown in the following picture.

Once the electric wiring was installed in the ceiling light body, the body was attached to the holding piece, and the electric circuit in the light was switched on. The result is depicted in the following picture.

The body of the ceiling light was connected to the upper covering part, and glass shades and leaded glass plates were fitted. After this, the ceiling light was polished by hand for the very last time so that any fingerprints and traces of manipulation would disappear.

The final appearance

This is the final appearance of the ceiling light.

This picture shows the ceiling light after being installed in the room.

Several final facts and observations

The final part of this article will focus on several facts and observations to be made based on the actual renovation:

  • The chandelier was made in approx. 1920. Considering the level of technologies and procedures available in these days, the artisan who made this light must have spent more than two years progressively working on the actual design and manufacturing of the ceiling light.
  • Therefore, this fact makes it rather obvious that a very limited number of these chandeliers was made. I reckon it cannot have been more than five. However, it is quite possible that this is the only piece of this light ever made. These are just my considerations and thoughts, and we shall never know the exact answer, unless a time machine is invented.
  • The renovation of this light only took more than 8 months of incremental work that meant about 400 work hours (i.e. from what you see n the first photo, to the stage shown in the last picture in this message).
  • More than ten people cooperated during renovation, design and consulting related to making this light appear like new.
  • We are 100% sure that this light (in this renovated condition) is the only piece of its kind in the world.
  • More than 500 litres of natural degreaser were used to degrease the surface of the light.

For polishing of this light, about 3 kg of polishing paste and more than 20 polishing discs of various kinds were used.

Are you interested in having a light renovated?

I will be happy to renovate your antique light. Contact me so that we can discuss all details.

Find out more about renovations

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