Modern lasers key to restoring Fort Wayne statue

The Anthony Wayne Statue in Freimann Square (file).
The Anthony Wayne Statue in Freimann Square (file).

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Crews working to restore a nearly century-old statue of Fort Wayne’s namesake are using a modern technique to preserve history.

A Forest Park, Illinois, company is using light to clean the bronze statue of Revolutionary War Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne. The work is part of a project to restore the statue and improve its visibility.

The Wayne statue had been damaged by time and vandals over the years. Its last makeover was in 1993.

Bartosz Dajnowski and his father, Andrzej Dajnowski, are using a laser-cleaning technique to remove two decades of dirt from the statue.

The technique results in better detail preservation than using harsh detergents or blasting abrasives. It also poses less risk to workers, passers-by and the environment, the duo told The Journal Gazette.

“It’s completely environmentally friendly. There is no chemical waste. We’re using light,” Bartosz Dajnowski said.

He noted that other methods carry the risk of simply smoothing over the opening, leaving it looking good but still full of material that could damage the statue.

“From the top looking at it . it will look shiny and clean because you can’t see you just trapped something inside,” he said.

The Dajnowskis also will replace missing or damaged parts of the statue, including its spurs, reins and part of a sword blade.

When the work is complete, the statue is expected to have a historic bronze finish.

Money for the restoration is coming from part of $100,000 the courthouse preservation trust gave the city for improvements to the statue and Freimann Square.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry had proposed moving the 96-year-old sculpture from the city’s Freimann Square to the Courthouse Green, arguing that doing so would improve its visibility. But he dropped that proposal in August after members of the trust and others insisted the statue remain in its current spot.

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net

 

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