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Thread: Radium relumes

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Default Radium relumes

    Hi all,
    Some help or advices sought please.
    Is there such a thing to have an old dial restored with old radium paint from say old clocks? I believe it is and was very dangerous (radium girls) but they ingested it front their paint brushes.
    Please pm me if you know of anyone who does this type of restoration in Europe or know of an expert top class person that can help me with a perfect relief job no dial restoration required just vintage looking burger bun lume.

    Kind Regards,

  2. #2


    Good luck and an interesting question. I don't think in this regulatory world that you'll find anyone permitted to do such. I think that's why some take the non-radioactive paste and dye it to appear that tan color.
    I think what you would need (if at all even possible) would be to develop the 'salted' paste into which the radium is added, these are what absorb the radioactivity and release photons. Given that there isn't likely a way to refine the tiny bits of radium out of the older broken down salts, you would have to add the mess to the new paste and this would still result in a diluted effect. Just my ignorant opinion though!
    Will be watching to see if it is possible!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    I have now moved your thread to the Main Forum so hopefully you will now get some more views and opinions but personally I think that the answer is a big no-no..

  4. #4
    Moderator lambstew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Michael - I once had an elderly watch maker with an assorted tray of spare 1930-50's lumed hands use the harvested lume from some of those hands to create a vintage lume mix to restore the hand lume in one of my watches as an experiment many years ago.. He didn't mind working with radioactive dust as he was totally old school about it and the job turned out great.. I think that is the scenario you are looking at.. The trick would be finding someone willing to work with old lume who has a bin of old hands and knocking the old lume out to create a vintage mix.. Otherwise, specialists such as Michael Young in HK make a non-glowing vintage mix which looks vintage and would be the best option..

    This was the watch in question..

  5. #5
    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Northern California


    There used to be a product that was a paraffin based radium restorer. The hand frame was cleaned and set on a piece of this stuff and a match under the tray would melt the wax and the hand would sink into the melted wax. After a few seconds the hand would be filled with a new flawless radium. The hand was then scraped and trimmed up with a razor blade and was ready to mount. There was also a radium paint available like a modern Bergeon product. Find any prewar watchmaker's kit and it will have cards full of radium hands and these products.

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