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Restoring Copper or Brass Antique Lamps

"Firefighting Collectibles"

on AbeBooks

or eBay

or Amazon

(affil links)


I have 3 Copper w/Brass old Fire Extinguishers (circa 1950's). In 1976 I converted them into table lamps. At the time they were polished and then "Coated" with aerosol Lacquer Spray paint. They are now very 'yellowed' and dull.


1. What is the best (and easiest) method to remove the lacquer finish.
2. What is the best (and easiest) over-the-counter polish to shine them up ? NOTE: I do have a 10" buffing wheel mounted on a motor.

Thanks for your advice.

Josh Walker
- Colfax, Calif., USA

Use a paint stripper then use a clearer or polish.

Simon Dupay
- Roseville, Minnesota

Ok I have many of these style tanks. Some have the old clear and some have paint, First test each tank with a chemical called C-L-R [on eBay or Amazon] , rub a test area and you should see a little shiny copper, if so use the C-L-R and finish the tank.

The other with paint if C-L-R didn't work get a good paint remover [on eBay or Amazon] .

Use gloves on both and take your time, you can re clean the one you used paint remover with some C-L-R this will insure all the stuff is off....

Dry and get to a buffing wheel, you will need the black and the brown Rouge, rouge is hard and you rub it on the buffing wheel, while buffing the more the better for the bad spots, then you will see the big shine. now use the brown on the other wheel and rebuff again it should take about 3 buffings.
Now get Brasso or Mothers chrome polish and clean the tank again this will give the final shine.

Spray a sealer on if you want; I didn't -- I like to hand polish them every now and then. Robert E

Robert Elwell
- Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
July 12, 2010

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