Colonial Instruments now offers museum conservation work on 18th century surveying instruments from England and the American colonies in addition to 18th and 19th century microscopes from England and the United States. Our conservation work maintains the integrity of the original instrument and we provide proper documentation of the whole process, including any replaced pieces.
The types of conservation work we perform are:
- Patination Restoration – re-patinating of previously polished areas
- Oxidation Correction - removal and stabilization of oxidized areas, preventing erosion of the original brass surface
- Manufacture – creation and replacement of missing or incorrect elements on the instrument
- Re-Assembly - re-assembly of instruments to correct errors from work done on the instrument previously
Since each museum’s needs are different, please contact us to discuss your project.
Jeff Lock’s knowledge of 18th century surveying instruments is impressively vast and is only surpassed by his infectious passion on the topic. Having a conversation with him about these instruments is like reading a very engaging and expressive encyclopedic entry. We have been very happy with the work he has done on surveying objects in our collection and will continue to seek out his knowledge and skills again and again.
Mary Grace Wahl
Project Director for Collections Care and Management
American Philosophical Society Museum
I first met Jeff in the spring of 2010 when he came to the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center to examine the John Heilig 18th century Vernier compass in our collection.
Jeff was able to take our compass apart quickly and carefully, and examine it for condition problems.
It is very important to me as a curator that minimal cosmetic work is done on a collection’s objects, and Jeff is of the same mind.
I was very pleased with the outcome. The oxidation had been removed, and the patina not altered. Additionally, he had made a replacement screw that matched the original. Also, I feel very comfortable asking Jeff questions when they arise, and knowing that he will always be patient and generous with sharing his expertise. All in all, an excellent experience, and I would recommend his services without reservation.
Candace Kintzer Perry
Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center
On behalf of the Board of Directors, it is with great pleasure and gratitude that I thank you for the amazing work you did on our David Rittenhouse surveyor’s compass. While subtle, your careful restoration of the patina has only further enhanced the beauty and interest of what was already a truly special part of our collections.
In particular I am impressed with the care with which you removed the old, drippy shellac and the patient process used to unify the aged look of the brass. Your respect for the object and its history is clear and greatly appreciated.
I look forward to future opportunities to work together, and would be delighted to discuss our experience with others, serving as a reference if necessary. Please do not hesitate to contact me.
Germantown Historical Society
Jeff Lock contacted me in January 2010 about a compass made by Camm Moore of Guilford, North Carolina. He had one in his shop by this silversmith and was eager to see other examples and learn more about this relatively unknown artisan. When I explained to Jeff that the Greensboro Historical Museum had three Camm Moore compasses, he became extremely excited and requested images of them for study and comparison.
During our initial phone call and subsequent conversations, I realized that Jeff was extremely knowledgeable about Colonial instruments and, equally important, that he had many years of experience in metalworking and the cleaning and restoration of these pieces. I sent all three compasses to Jeff for closer examination and study, and ultimately for cleaning and repairs. We discussed the condition of each compass, including missing and non-original elements, prior repairs, and, in one case, damage to the original finish from over-cleaning. I appreciated Jeff’s thoughtful and candid approach to determining the appropriate level of treatment for each piece. The museum’s compasses now look terrific and I am especially pleased with the finish on the piece that had been previously damaged.
Without hesitation I would recommend Jeff Lock to other curators. His knowledge and skills are exceptional and his approach to restoration ranks among the highest ethical standards.
Jon B. Zachman
Curator of Collections
Greensboro Historical Museum
Greensboro, North Carolina