Lecture 011.004

SAVING THE MASS PRODUCED
BY MARGO DELIDOW, ERIC MEIER

This case study examines the methods for creating exhibition copy components for a 1930’s Eileen Gray Tube Lamp using digital imaging and industrial manufacturing technologies to produce a more exact copy to the original than was previously possible. The plastic components of design objects embrittled and yellowed from age and exposure are candidates for replication for both aesthetic and structural reasons. The use of exhibition copies reduces the exposure of original components to light and heat, allowing the original components to be archived thus greatly extending the viable life of that component, while maintaining the look of the original work. Subsequently, retaining the specific characteristics that result from mass production of an object is an important consideration for loss compensation and replacement parts. In order to replicate the surface, techniques used in the component’s original fabrication can be identified and emulated when fabricating the replacement. Through the example of the c. 1930’s Eileen Gray Tube Lamp in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, this paper explores the historical and modern characteristics of com- pression and injection molding processes that were used to create the electrical sockets for the lamp, along with manufacturing methodology and specifications for determining mold design. In conjunction with Computer Aided Design (CAD) this paper also explores the use of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) to replicate the Tube Lamp’s plastic parts. Lastly, the benefits and drawbacks regarding the use of similar casting techniques as the original versus different methods for reasons of cost and availability are also explored.

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