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Omni William Penn Hotel chandeliers get special holiday shine

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, 3:36 p.m.
Shontall Blue, a member of the housekeeping staff at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, cleans one of the three crystal chandeliers in the hotel's lobby. Each chandelier is 12 feet high and eight feet wide and weighs approximately 450-500 pounds. There are 84 bulbs and 1,754 crystals on each.
JOANNE KLIMOVICH HARROP
Shontall Blue, a member of the housekeeping staff at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, cleans one of the three crystal chandeliers in the hotel's lobby. Each chandelier is 12 feet high and eight feet wide and weighs approximately 450-500 pounds. There are 84 bulbs and 1,754 crystals on each.

Let there be light.

The three chandeliers in the lobby of the historic Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh are known as Maria Theresa Chandeliers, named after Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria.

In 1746, a new lyre-shaped crystal chandelier was delivered to the empress' palace, and she was thoroughly enchanted. From that point forward, this type of crystal chandelier has carried her name.

The hotel's chandeliers are made of Czechoslovakian Bohemian lead with hand-cut crystal prisms.

The three chandeliers are lowered annually — this year on Nov. 2 to get ready for Light Up Night (Nov. 17) — so workers can hand clean more than 1,000 prisms so they really sparkle and shine just in time for Pittsburgh's sparkle season.

Each chandelier is 12 feet high and 8 feet wide and weighs about 450 to 500 pounds. There are 84 bulbs and 1,754 crystals on each.

Lowering the chandeliers for cleaning requires 386 turns, by hand, of a large crank located in the crawl space just above the lobby. Cleaning each requires five staff members for eight hours.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062, jharrop@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.

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