A few years ago, our construction firm was doing emergency work on the roof of the New York State Capitol to repair a bad leak. At the same time, a renovation was underway in the assembly chambers below that required one of the large chandeliers to be lowered and removed. The antique chandelier (circa 1913) was ornate and very heavy (estimated weight of one to two tons with its translucent alabaster and brass construction). Because we have rigging experience and specialize in unique projects, and because we happened to be in the right place at the right time, the field engineer at the capitol building offered us the task of lowering the chandelier approximately 60 feet from the chamber ceiling to the floor below. We jumped at the chance.

The chandelier was one of nine hanging from the ceiling. The job wasn’t as difficult as we had initially thought. When we went into the attic space, we found that the chandelier was attached to a permanent heavy-duty, gear-reduction winch assembly. We just needed to disconnect the wiring and carefully hand-crank the fixture to the floor. It took...

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