East End, Crown Deli and Other Recent Restorations

21 August
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With acquisitions often comes restoration.  Here are some updates on some of our signs in varying state of repair.

Although we acquired the iconic East End Café sign last year, it wasn’t until just recently that we had the resources to restore the sign to its original glory.  As anyone knows who has visited the museum, we don’t generally re-paint signs, but this one was an exception.  And not only did  we re-paint it, but we completely restored it beginning with scraping the sign down to bare metal, splicing in aluminum in the areas where the sheetmetal had rotted out,  priming it and painting the background color and then handlettering the copy and Art Deco borders, and of course, re-wiring and restoring the neon (see photo progression).

Tim McComas begins scraping off the layers of paint to find original lettering

Tim McComas begins scraping off the layers of paint to find original lettering.

It was a real team effort: Martin Wartman, son of Neonworks’ co-owner Tom Wartman, generated the elbow grease to scrape off the paint by hand.

Martin Wartman finalizes scraping of paint, revealing lettering

Martin Wartman finalizes scraping of paint, revealing lettering.

United-Maier Signs—our go-to sign guys down the street—had their sheetmetal man,  Bobby Ellis, cut and splice-in the aluminum and  Steve Allegree primed and painted the cabinet.  But before any painting took place, Tim McComas of Brushworks, made patterns from the still visible lettering on the stripped metal.

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New aluminum is spliced in to replace rusted out sheetmetal

Once the background color was sprayed, he handlettered the copy and borders.  And finally, the Neonworks team of Tom Wartman with the help of son, Martin, wired the sign and Greg Pond bent the glass.

It was amazing to both McComas and founder Tod Swormstedt that the original graphics were still visible enough on the bare metal to make patterns.  Even the background color was apparent.  The neon colors were an educated guess.

New lettering and borders about 80% complete.

New lettering and borders about 80% complete.

Original installation of the Crown Deli sign

Original installation of the Crown Deli sign

Work has begun on the Crown Deli sign (Brooklyn, NY) and a Cleveland Torridheat—a Kolux porcelain enamel sign purchased a year ago at one of the Coin-Op shows in St. Charles, IL.  Both the Crown Deli and Torridheat porcelain enamel signs will need sheetmetal spliced into the cabinets where the original metal has rotted out, as well as full re-wiring and neon replacement.

The Torridheat sign is undergoing a complete restoration including new wiring, transformers, housings and neon in addition to sheetmetal.

The Torridheat sign is undergoing a complete restoration including new wiring, transformers, housings and neon in addition to sheetmetal.

 

And last but not least, the R.H. Tugs sign has now been fully restored.

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