THE DE-ELECTRIFICATION AND RE-ELECTRIFICATION OF HISTORIC LIGHTING FIXTURES AT WINTERTHUR MUSEUM
BEVERLY N. PERKINS
3 THE USE OF AGATEEN LACQUER
The effectiveness and stability of Agateen Lacquer no. 27 (cellulose nitrate, used with thinner no. 1) became evident as lighting fixtures came into the laboratory for treatment. Most of the brass, silver, and silver plate lighting fixtures were polished and lacquered during the coating program that began at Winterthur in the early 1970s under the direction of conservator Don Heller (Heller 1983). Silver, silver plate, and brass objects that had been coated with Agateen Lacquer in the late 1970s still held a unified polish. The effectiveness of various coatings (including Agateen) in resisting the transmission of sulfide vapor is presented in a report submitted by Chandra Reedy (Reedy et al. 1998).
The Agateen Lacquer appeared to have protected the metal surfaces from corrosion problems that could have been caused by years of proximity to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) wiring or beeswax candles. This finding was very important to the re-electrification project because PVC wiring and beeswax would, once again, be placed next to metal surfaces.
The use of Agateen Lacquer no. 27 and thinner no. 1 was continued in the rewiring project because of Agateen's leveling properties when applied as a brush coat, the near invisibility of Agateen on the metal surface, and Agateen's evident success at protecting a polished surface. The solvent system used with Agateen Lacquer is very toxic and should be used with a ventilation system (Agate Lacquer 1986).