Little Stage Lighting c.1965 Radial Leko Restoration.


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This is going to be a long post and its’ written over many weeks.. I’ll break it up into chapters into how the restoration as done and with what parts. For first post, sorry, long observations on it but details to get out. Light is done, just the details on how and observations to post.

Ready, start.
Thanks Derek for the early B-Day present which I finally got to start and a month of nights here and there to get thru. But I learned a lot from it and even developed some new techniques I’ll use on work stuff and antiques from that learning - thanks. The 6" 100 Series #E106 Leko is fascinating. Of the catalogue page sent with it, this one lacks the Gobo slot option, instead it has an iris. Both concepts were a new thing from a past era in that period of time, and I have never seen a radial Leko with a iris. The iris replaces the gobo slot in apparently a later model option.
Interesting also the catalogue photo doesn’t have those round holes in the lens train I noted earlier. I assume they were a later concept for helping to cool the iris. (This fixture seemingly only had a few years of usage but it’s iris suffered from a bad bench focus - see below.) Very inventive and inventive fixture - even if not completely thought out in many ways. This Little Stage Lighting Fixture is lacking some things the Altman and Century type fixtures of the day were doing well.

Also in now realizing why there was two sets of holes in the base plate for the iris and which to use given I didn't have a photo of which was used... Little Stage Lighting took a commercially normal iris and re-drilled it to fit their gobo slot opening - a thing I wondered about in "two gobo pin holes" not normal. Little Stage Lighting engineers were somewhat brillinant in realizing they had less a range to do the iris in slot cut for gobo to change it into an Iris move lever in needing more room. They re-drilled the holes in a way that works for a smaller lever arm movement but for all intensive purposes the same iris movement. Brilliant and worked out great other than someone put pan head screws into countersunk holes for mounting the iris. Could have been later modification as per below with the step lens mounting ring. This re-deilling of the iris holes in the base plate took some amount of accuracy and engineering - great job for hard to do and not something done much in concept.

Lamp cap casting is the entire thing to screw into to the “pineapple” - no sub-casting mounted to the top or cast top the lamp cap is mounted to. And without keyways to set it’s fit specificaly and large amounts of play in how it fits - this concept was a flop for it’s concept in now not just because of lamp inconsistences you now have a lamp cap with no bench mark or keyway for itself aligning in focus. Literally, you could put a modern lamp into it - much more accurate in not always having to bench focus, and you would still have to do it because of the lamp cap assembly with not keyway/bench mark mounting. See the knobs in the photo... those are 1/4-20 screw knobs, they fit into 3/8" slotted grooves.
A fold instead of flat in the shutter design to make them a spring tension part of the design is a good idea, but the folded down gate assembly clips retaining them are a clear flaw. So you have the various plates between shutters, you have the shutters themselves doing the tension... ok, could be as good as the dimples in most last plates for a similar Leko. It’s just the riveted on fold down retention clips retaining the entire assembly which is unnerving. Obviously a metal clip to retain the entire assembly - not even spring steel is going to bend with pressure - use. Dia. of the spreader plates in near proximity is the thing that keeps these clips tight to their fold. With time the clips will loosen. Interesting concept but not completely thought out as per a fixture other than one which will be replaced or be in need of major repair for a stupid reason in a few years. Really, metal fatigue for the clips that retain the shutters.... and how long will a school apply gaff tape or duct tape to the shutters so as to retain them until they get this repaired?
The step lens is sticking out of the fixture into where the gel frame is for as of those days of lower temperature gels. Lens retaining ring is out of round in blocking light, has no recess to retain it and tight to get in - this hurts focus of the lenstrain in moving. And when found the lens retaining ring not doing so properly given it was out of placement/slid up some at am angle. This lens train was clearly designed for something else??? Missing parts like a spacer? Perhaps there is a missing concept of spacer between lens and gel frame bracket... Might have a spacer in stock that I can cut down and correct with. Such fixtures with step lens were crappy enough in beam, you can kind of bench focus them without the proper optics in place. Given the iris, doubt more than light coming out of it, they bench focused which was really bad for this fixture design.
Obvious the asbestos wiring, but by than in the 60's grounding was an option in most fixtures and there was at least a pre-designed tapped hole for grounding it. Not in this case. Most fixtures by now have a hinged pineapple to gate/lens train assembly so that if a lamp has a catastrophic failure you can get the remains out. This one has four 6-32 tapped holes into aluminum to remove in getting at the lamp which is never the best choice in during that age they were using un-zinc plated screws directly into the aluminum.
At least this fixture has a gate baffle (pre-date to the gate reflector which returns the light to the main reflector for added efficiency in output). This baffle is black in as normal just absorbing the stray light waves. Interesting that in the past I have added gate reflectors atop such baffles and they are about the same concave angle. Quick upgrade in the output in output in adding the gate reflector to the otherwise heat sink baffle in this assembly.
No way to tell on the lens sticking out and lack of slot for lens retaining ring issue given no other fixtures to compare with, but there is a recess higher up serving no purpose now to retain the lens noted. No UL listing or wattage rating for the light.
Onto the fixture:
I thought it was a 8" Leko, lens trained down to 6", but the body measures 8" which would be too small for a 8" fixture body. Why such a large body than step down to lens train reality?
Cob webs aside, it’s in amazing condition - can only have been used say under 10 years if not 5. No need to re-paint the body once cleaned (Lens train inside of the light itself and gate baffle exceptions etc. internal), some wear marks might do a clear rust reformer, but in this case the wear is so limited that I won’t do anything like re-painting to the outside other than perhaps on the gel frame mounting lens train front. Even all nuts and bolts are in good condition which is very unusual - suspect this fixture only had a few years of service.
Duct tape... especially old duct tape if not burnt in too deeply can once in a while be removed ok say from the yoke, but after un-bending and removing on the lens train, with the heat, this duct tape in addition to some rust forming, will require some sand blasting.
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