GEC Clearmain 'Difractor' Z8128B Restoration
Restoration of the lantern began on Sunday, 3rd June 2007.
I discovered that the top part of the lantern's body was actually removable - this helped immensely as the lampholder assembly was now more accessible. I managed to free the assembly using a lot of 'persuasion' - only the thicker of the two focusing rods managed to defeat me! The top of the assembly can be seen bottom-right. I discovered that several other screws were fitted to the internal rim of the lantern's body - they were positioned on the underside at 120 degree intervals which I can only assume would be to hold a reflector in place. If one was ever fitted in this lantern, it is long gone now. The bowl securing ring (visible top-right) simply unclips from the frame.
With the main body of the lantern now in pieces, I now concentrated on the porcelain GEC lampholder. This was filthy and the copper of the thread was heavily corroded.
There turned out to be more components in the lampholder than I first expected! The porcelain appears relatively clean here as most of the dirt had transferred to my hands at this point!
A lot of dirt and grease had managed to get trapped around the text on the underside of the lampholder. The majority of this was removed by soaking the porcelain in bleach and then water containing washing powder...
One (almost) squeaky-clean piece of porcelain!
Meanwhile, the metallic components had been dipped in vinegar to remove as much corrosion as possible. Although not perfect, the end result was better than I had expected.
The components were then re-fitted to the porcelain body...all ready for a lamp - whatever that may be..!
The lampholder assembly was also cleaned up - I was surprised to discover that it was actually made of brass.
The lantern's frame returned from having new grub screws fitted on Wednesday, 20th June 2007. Apparently the old grubs put up a real fight due to them being made of hardened steel. The new screws are stainless steel and are metric rather than imperial. The jammed support rod was also freed.
What was left of the original bracket was retained - albeit with with two fresh drill holes from when the grub screws were removed.
The replacement bracket consisted of a special side-entry AC Ford AC184 with a 42 mm sleeve had already been ordered and installed - all ready for the lantern!
Once the lantern had returned from receiving new grub screws, I decided to temporarily fit it to the bracket to see how it looked. As I didn't have the lantern frame available when I was fitting the bracket, I had to guess at what height to mount it at. Bizarrely, the height I eventually went for was just right. The bowl had been thoroughly cleaned out by this time, although it will be cleaned again when the lantern is ready to be powered up. Surrounding the lantern are other GEC models - the Z8896 on the left; the Z8260 just below and the Z9481 on the right.
The terminal block had also been released from the frame - when turned over, yet another GEC logo stared back at me!
The canopy, frame and bowl ring were bead blasted on the weekend of Saturday 23rd-Sunday 24th June 2007. When they returned on the 25th, I fitted the lampholder support poles and then the lampholder assembly itself.
The components were then fitted together although this was again only temporary as the metalwork now required painting.
The screws for holding a reflector in place were now much easier to see:
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