Restore the King

Delaware's Gambrinus Statue


By on June 1, 2016

The Delaware Gambrinus statue is only one of five statues known to exist that were cast from the same JW Fiske mold. The other four statues are currently on display in Baltimore, MD; Breinigsville, PA; Syracuse, NY; and Toluca, Mexico. At present, the more than 60 pieces of the fractured zinc Gambrinus statue are in storage awaiting restoration.

Dr. Carol Grissom, Senior Objects Conservator at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute and author of “Zinc Sculpture in America, 1850-1950,” evaluated the statue’s pieces in August 2014 and confirmed that restoration was possible. Two nationally recognized conservation firms provided preliminary estimated quotes of between $60,000 and $100,000 to complete restoration work. The final total could be higher, depending on the amount of replication work required and other unforeseen factors.

Maryland Historical Society's Gambrinus statue, Baltimore
Maryland Historical Society (Baltimore)

Statue restoration will involve constructing a metal skeleton atop which the statue’s pieces will be fused. Because portions of the statue were destroyed beyond repair or are otherwise missing, those sections will need to be replicated using laser scanning/3D computer modeling or rubber molds from existing statues made from the same J.W. Fiske design mold as the Diamond State Brewery statue.

Onondaga Historical Society's Gambrinus statue, Syracuse
Onondaga Historical Association Museum (Syracuse, NY)

Once work is completed, the statue will need to be painted. The goal will be to match the paint as closely as possible to the colors on the original statue, based on the remaining paint on the statue, archival written descriptions, and old Diamond State Brewery advertisements and artwork.

Boston Beer Co.'s Gambrinus statue (Fogelsburg, PA)
Boston Beer Company (Breinigsville, PA)

Additionally, a sturdy support base will need to be created at the museum destination to support the 1-ton-plus statue. A bronze plaque describing the significance of the statue will be affixed to the support base.

Modelo Museum of Science & Industry's Gambrinus statue (Toluca, Mexico)
Modelo Museum of Science & Industry (Toluca, Mexico)