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Who the heck made these fixtures? quest

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by ship, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Finally finished re-wiring the last of my current stock of old fixtures. Last of them were four Fresnels that were very similar to two Lekos. None had brand names on them, yet I could swear I had seen them before. My boss also had used them while in school but couldn't confirm the brand. Went up and down the chain of command at various lighting suppliers and manufacturers, schools, theaters and lamp companies and finally someone gave the brand it is for sure.

    New fixture manufacturer for me - Grand Stage. Been a theater supplier for about a hundred years now, at some point during that they were also making fixtures before they sold out that wing to Major who later went out of Business.

    Clearly remembers being brought into the factory area in being shown the standardized parts raw stock four piece fluted side plates which are universal with the front casting. Excellent!!! after driving me crazy for a week or more a brand.

    Was a very difficult search given only Strand, Altman and Kliegl have archives. Oldest Colortran/Berkey catalog I have is from the 70's and these fixtures are mid to late 60's and while the yoke knobs on the Lekos were confirmed to be L&E as the only part on them with a name, they had no knowledge of the fixtures. No stamps stickers or castings on lenses, reflectors or plates saying Major as normally done by them and suspected to be as Major. Major might have started making the fixture after buying out the design from Grand Stage - some remembered them to be Major, but these without stamps have to be Grand Stage. Especially the Fresnel lenses and all reflectors should have been stamped Major not Kopp if Major because all their brand was made by them. Slight hanging point with this original conformation to be Major.

    Working on getting old light fixture catalogs from the other than above brands and scanning them into the computer. At that point I'll work with Dave on him making a section of this website for old fixture catalogs so others hopefully in the future won't be faced with fixtures of other brands not in Photometrics catalog or otherwise able to find.

    By the way, the one to the left of the Grand Stage Fresnel is from Display Stage Lighting as marked on the lens. Interesting fixture, has no bottom area for the lamp base slider assembly and uses a medium screw lamp instead of medium pre-focus. Dates back to about the early 1930's I think as opposed to about 1967 for the Grand Stage fixtures.
     

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  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Sorry, [user]ship[/user], but I think someone's mistaken. Grand Stage Company says "Serving the Midwest's Entertainment Needs since 1947." Until around the mid-80s, the company at 630 W. Lake St. was known as Grand Stage Lighting.
     
  3. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    your correct, my bust in thinking them older for a company.

    further notes:
    Grand Stage Lighting..... later the manufacturing business became Lighting Equipment Company and was finally sold to one of the bigger companies, Major.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  4. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Are you re-building those for your employer or just for fun? If it's your employer, can you say if they are having you do it for a specific event/job, or just in case?
     
  5. SAWYeR

    SAWYeR Active Member

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    Oh man! The dance company in my hometown I work for uses those EXACT Lekos in their Rep Plot. I have been wondering for YEARS as to who the heck made them, they're so obnoxiously heavy and...obnoxious :p I'm so glad to finally see something about them. On another note, Ship maybe you'll know what these instruments are, they're made by Century, and for all intents and purposes they look just like a fresnel, but they have no lense, no where to put a lense, and the insid the fixture looks very much like a Mole-Fay Teenie Mole. It's a cone of what appears to be steel or aluminum, but it's not polished or reflective, and the lamp (750W EHG?) sits with the base facing the side of the instrument. Oh and they're green :mrgreen:. Big, green Century floods of some sort. Anyone got any clues?
     
  6. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    If Grand it won't have markings, if what was later Major, it should have markings on lens, reflector and possibly casting that survived over the decal that was supposed to be on my yokes and might still be along with the IA and UL inspection stickers plus one I cannot read.

    On the other fixture, can you do a photo of it so we all could figure it out? Century is failrly well in the Photometrics Handbook also. Mole FAY single light fixtures I have at work, they don't look anything like a Fresnel. Not sure what you describe overall.


    "On another note, Ship maybe you'll know what these instruments are, they're made by Century, and for all intents and purposes they look just like a fresnel, but they have no lense, no where to put a lense, and the insid the fixture looks very much like a Mole-Fay Teenie Mole. It's a cone of what appears to be steel or aluminum, but it's not polished or reflective, and the lamp (750W EHG?) sits with the base facing the side of the instrument. Oh and they're green . Big, green Century floods of some sort. Anyone got any clues?"
     
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    The boost to start me re-wiring was for a gig. Client wanted a bunch of old pre-1940's fixtures and it was known that I collected them by the Equipment Manager. Most of mine at this point had their asbestos removed but after that were in a state of me waiting to service. Some were oiled up etc where needed to save but not functioning.

    Gig came up and the rep. saw my follow spot in the lobby in thinking the company owned it... nope mine and while it works you cannot use the lamp that's in it - way too rare in working condition. Don't make them any longer. Besides that, it's dated to about 1962 by graffiti on it and not old enough.

    At that point it was more for the old look, plus a few real antiques such as the Ovelitte that can't be anything but, or could be but is early 20's. Anyway, at some point I came up with at least 40 fixtures between the shop, I and local theater owned that could do the show. They were looking for like a dozen, I wanted more... put the 2K Century 8x16's with Molepsoidals on the front porch of the place and have your search lights to create atmosphere, after that.... away we go. More than 40 I have access to in the end including a second Kliegl Dynabeam.

    Anyway, long story short, month away, I started wiring as it would not be done in time otherwise and didn't otherwise have any other projects at the moment for home projects.

    Show date was the second of this month. After sending photos to the project manager of the range of fixtures to choose from and an inventory, he never got back to me. I did check the front lobby that day to verify that my follow spot was still there - wouldn't be unlike him to take what I told him he could not use short of me re-lamping and changing the seat height on the lamp for the new one - an easy project but necessary if I didn't want the origional lamp to be used.

    In the end, no old fixtures or rental fees came my way. Project no doubt got dowsized or something.

    Still, it was good to get them all wired up, preserved and ready for the museum. Gained a few more contacts for old fixtures and put further pressure on work to clear me up some space in the ceiling to hang the museum. This much less a few contacts in the search for who made these fixtures for some book I hope not to write but help with on fixture history. Just finished Linda Essig's "The Speed of Light", the perfect way to present such a fixture history book given most that invented the fixtures are long since past and much while written down would otherwise be very dry in read.

    In addition to actively collecting old fixtures and old lighting books, plus that "users guide to lamps" I guess at some point I'm going to have to work on getting a bunch of people together in writing a fixture history book. After all, what ever happened to Chicago Stage Lighting??? Got their address and phone number, even one of their fixtures... Display Stage Lighting... Major etc. Know what happened to Kliegl, Century, Colortran and a few others - only somewhat fleshed out but not enough either on them. One part of "The Speed of Light" discusses Kliegl's acceptance of DMX 512 standard but not going with it. A few lines later they note them going out of business. That's it, short detail in why they went under amongst many reasons no doubt. A book with such a format so at least what is known would be useful.

    Those with insite into lighting fixture and lamp history can email me or pm me . I'll store your insites into my drafts section for use later. Could be another thirty years until I have time to write a book more than help with one but such info would be saved and useful. On the other hand... book who knows. I find such tales I hear at times fascinating. And Altman started out by.... (unconfirmed and can't post.)

    Old fixtures fascinate me. Fuch's 1926 "Stage Lighting" (just finally finished it this past weekend cover to cover... mentions Ovalites getting internal reflectors much like what a Scoop now would be as an upgrade for 1926.

    Next question than comes up for me at least in seeing Derekleffew's icon, granted we can assume at some point say Kliegl decided they didn't need the outer frame any longer and came up with the round scoop - one can assume if not than someone else. Who, and what's the history behind this design change? Just a small detail but no less a detail as the RSC based new Halogen Leko's in design concept that some history and story about in fleshing out would be nice for. Can get histories of the HPL and HX-600 from Theater Crafts and Lighting Dimensions. That's good stuff and history, but even for them for me more new advances, stuff that needs to get into a book so one can still see such info for study.

    My thoughts at least. Need a fixture/lamp perhaps even plug history book. What's the story behind the stage pin, than twist lock than back to stage pin plug?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
    Jay Ashworth likes this.
  8. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Good points, [user]ship[/user]. Is there something inherent I'm missing that makes control systems more glamorous than fixtures? Even that, not much seems to be documented before memory control systems beginning in late 60s/early 70s. Who made the first piano board? Kliegl, Ward-Leonard, Century, or other? Fixture manufacturer Duwico has been mentioned here in passing, but I have not found much on them other than the origin of the company name (from founders ‘Gus’ Durkin and Harold Williams, Company, two well known figures in metropolitan stage lighting activity. ). Did the company also do lighting under that name in 1948 or is was it a person?

    A History Project (ESTA's history of leading lights) (History PROJECT) seems to have died on the vine, the most recent reference appears to be Michael Gold Named History Project Manager. Wonder what happened to the $5000 raised? Board donates $5,000 to Industry History Project

    Sadly, most of the people who know the answers have already passed, and more will certainly be lost if histories are not documented/collected somewherem and soon.
     
  9. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Maybe I should switch majors into anthropology or something...
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Perhaps paleontology would be more accurate?:twisted:
     
  11. Reggie

    Reggie Member

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    It looks very similar to old Arnold and Richter (pre ARRI labeling) fixtures I've seen. But thats just based on the "look" of the of the housing, hardly conclusive on its own.
     
    Jay Ashworth likes this.
  12. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Nope, fairly confirmed that they are Grand Stage.

    On the other hand just reding a book this past weekend that says Major comes from the UK as a brand.

    Any sort of conformation on that front?
     
  13. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Could it be a beam projector?

    Photos?
     
  14. Esoteric

    Esoteric Well-Known Member

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    This is a BP (we called them pageants in school).

    [​IMG]

    Mike
     
  15. SAWYeR

    SAWYeR Active Member

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    I'll try and get pics the next time I'm back home, however I'm almost 100% sure they're not beam projectors.
     
  16. ETCspot

    ETCspot Member

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    When I saw the pictures... I felt like I'd seen old friend (well an old friend you tossed in the basement because newer, brighter, lighter friends came along). We have a few dozen of the these lights (lekos and fresnels) in our basement. Our secretary uses one as a flower pot. Our lighting system was installed in 1967 by Major, including these fixtures. The ones we have are virtually identical to the ones in your picture. I'll post some pics for you to compare. They make nice heavy buckets, weapons or flower pots.
     
    Jay Ashworth likes this.
  17. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    On the Fresnels, it's like throwing away a bunch of S-4 Lekos - todays Fresnels are not more efficient in a Fresnel than an older one. I would recommend re-claiming the flower pot and using it on stage again. The note of Grand verses Major in brand by way of Major will have marked them better. On the Lekos, got them two hanging in my garage. Got a few sample Juno light fixtures still I have not used on other things and plenty of lamps. One of my next experiments is going to be, this given the antique MR-16 box spot project worked out really well in efficiency making one of those Grand Stage as confirmed radial Lekos into a say 250w/120v MR-16 fixture. If I can reproduce the bench focus on it correctly, I have a feeling this fixture will be just as efficient as a 500w incandescent version if not more efficient. A question of beam spread of the lamp correct for the gate etc. in some R&D but in not even going low voltage on the fixture it should be possible for at least lobby photo lighting to make something useful, this much less artistic in look out of the fixture. This much less a lighting fixture even if radial that now that it's MR-16 and would bench focus in the same way a incandescent lamp would with plate, a fixture that in radial (one would be surprised at how efficient and good they could be properly focused), could become useful again. This beyond even given inefficiency still useful if one needs say an amber lighted beam angle or wash next to other fixtures. All paint brushes... No Leko or fixture is a boat anchor. 8x16 Leko as a linenbacher projector or Leko etc. all have use be it prop or useful. None are trash.

    Interesting note I found this past weekend in the Preface to Rollo Gillespie Williams "The Technique of Stage Lighting" 2nd ed. 1960. Denotes Major Equipment Co., LTD., "for allowing photographs of their apparatus to be reproduced." He was writing with UK lighting in mind and hoping the US audience would be able to sutibly find usefulness in the book even given the cross over on stuff like gel etc. Unfortunately I have the second edition where most of those photographs were changed for more modern ones. 1st ed. 1947 is on my collection list for books now. Still, given how saturated much of the older Chicago area is for Major lighting fixtures and gear, what's this UK. company doing out here and even buying out Grand Stage's lighting wing? This assuming this buy out from Grand Stage was not the start of why Major got so saturated in the area. (This given I have some 1920's Major fixtures and Major Equipment Company in Fuch's 1926 book lists a Chicago address for them.) Black holes in history, as one can see there is just so much out there that is not known but should be. And is fascinating.

     
  18. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Further note on Major, Reid's autobiography doesn't mention Major but Bentham's does. P80, 84, 90, 93, 110, 115 and especially page 84 does. Noting on page 84 that "Early in the thirties Major Equipment published a superb catalogue properly bound as a hardback in a golden cover with an Art Deco design embossed upon it."

    That's a catalog I want!!! but also confirming Major at least was UK also if not in both areas which is than further interesting in that given Strand during the same time period crossed over to the US, while dealing with Kliegl and Century, what happened to Major in Major even supplying lamp sockets, control panels and dimmers back when??? Major equipment was Strand's major rival in this book... where did they go?
     
  19. Lightingguy32

    Lightingguy32 Active Member

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    I've used those before some where, the Fresnels for some reason took EHD lamps and even though they were non axial lekoes, they took EHGs. I too would like to know what company these lights are from.
     
  20. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Lightingguy32, it has been established with reasonable certainty that these fixtures were designed and manufactured originally by Grand Stage Lighting, and later by Major Equipment Corporation. The non-axial use of the TP22/FEL-family of lamps is not unique. The best example is the Kliegl 1355 series, where they essentially just retooled the lamp burner to take the TP22 socket, without changing the huge hole in the reflector or the step lens common at the time.

    [user]ship[/user], I'm fairly certain Major(US) and Major(UK) are two separate and distinct companies. I recently found on the 2004 SML a discussion:
    I'm only guessing Ross Major is the son, or grandson, of Major the company founder.

    Members with theatres built before 1980: look at your floor pockets, connector strips, and borderlights. It's highly likely some say "Major" on them. If they do, please tell us when the theatre was built. Here in Las Vegas, the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts, opened in 1972, had 12" 2000W ERSs similar in construction to those pictured above, on the Balcony Rail, until the building was remodeled in 2000. They were four feel long and weighed almost one-hundred pounds.
     

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