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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 23 (xxiii)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 23
Page 23

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 23

and are available at extra costs with other makes.

Latex rubber upholstering for both seats and backs is available in addition to the other types mentioned above, but it is quite expensive.

Seat standards are available in varying lengths to coincide with the slope of the orchestra floor. Front legs of the standard never vary; the rear standard leg is shortened or lengthened to make the necessary accommodation to the slope of the floor.

Where second-hand seats are installed, chances are that the standards will not have the proper slopes for the floor on which they are to be re-im stalled. Steel washers can be used as shims in these cases to bring either the front or rear leg of the standard to a plumb position when fastened to the floor permanently.

Where seats originally used in the orchestra are to be re-installed in the balcony or mezzanine, where the individual steppings will be level, the need for steel washers under the standard legs will be especially evident. Also, it may be necessary to adjust the slope of the seat back to a more vertical position for extra comfort, and extra spacing if the balcony has steppings of more than 12 inches in height. In this particular type of installation, mechanics who specialize in balcony seating will most satisfactorily complete the job.


Velvet carpeting is the door covering best suited to theatre use. It has a short, tough pile, and is especially woven to withstand the abuse to which it will be subjected in most theatres. Moreover, velvet carpeting is available in a great variety of designs which fit in particularly well with theatre decor.

In order to get the maximum amount of wear out of carpeting, there are a few rules to be observed. Spaces to be covered should be accurately measured, and the carpet sewed to the approximate pattern of the floor in the carpet workroom in sections as large as can be conveniently handled, thereby reducing the amount of hand sewing required on the job.

Seams should be avoided at points which will receive especially hard wear, such as at the heads of aisles and stair landings. ln laying out carpet for the standee space, and the aisles, widths should run parallel with the aisles, and Should be continuous from the start of the aisles at the. stage to the rear wall of the standee space or foyer behind the last row of seats. While this arrangement may be difficult to achieve in some cas<\s, it will result in tho savmg of many hours required to repair and relay carpet at these points of heavy traffic.

Forty-oight-ouncc hair felt lining should be usod under all carpeting to Compensatc for any uneven or rough Spots on the floor, to produce a luxurious resiliency underfoot, and to protect the carpet from excessive wear on both sides.

By cutting stair carpeting sufficiently long, it may be turned under at the


ends and can be shifted the width of the tread to give double wear.

If carpet strips have not been installed in concrete floors, holes for wooden plugs will have to be drilled approximately every six inches around the perimeter of the auditorium and at other points where tacking may be necessary. Carpet should be turned under when tacked, with the exception of the selvage edge. During the tacking, carpet must be tightly stretched and laid even or later difficulties will arise.


The next important consideration in a remodeling project is the auditorium front or proscenium. Proscenium boxes serve no purpose in a motion picture theatre, and their removal will be a major step in giving the house a modern appearance. The area occupied by proscenium boxes can be covered over with plaster and painted in a decorative manner, or covered with drapes which complement the stage setting,

Acoustical Trea'l'men'l'

The side walls of the auditorium will have to be acoustically treated, in all probability. If no structural alterations are required, and plaster ornamentation, if any, is in good repair, it is wisest to develop a scheme of painted decoration. The old colors may be discarded, and the ornamentation can be subdued.

Most auditorium walls are divided into panels by the masonry or steel supports for the roof, with some plaster or wood mouldings forming borders. With these borders removed, the ens tire wall surface between the pilasters and above the Wainscot may be painted. If additional acoustical treatment is required, fabric may be stretched over the walls.

Most local fire laws require that wall fabrics be flameproofed at least once a year, and for this reason there are some objections to the use of fabrics. If flameproofing is not executed with care, the results are spotty, especially where fabrics have not been cleaned before being sprayed with fireproofing compounds.

Wall fabrics are difficult to keep clean, and represent a big item in the maintenance budget, but to date there has been no material developed which is quite as satisfactory in acoustical properties as fabric, as a material which is porous and yet decorative is required. Acoustical tiles or boards are also adaptable for use in theatres.

While acoustical plaster and other products which can be blown on the walls may be used, and are acoustically satisfactory, they are not as well suited to attractive decorative schemes. Any acoustical treatment is conducive to dirt absorption and will become, increasingly less effective as the pores become clogged with dirt.

Extreme care should be exorcist in the selection of paint to cover acoustical plaster, and in its application. Only a type of paint which is specifically recommended by the manufacturer of the acoustical treatment should be used. Generally, this will be a cold water, nonbridging paint. It is claimed by some manufacturers that their ordinary lead

and oil paint can be applied without affecting sound absorption qualities, but these claims are not always justified, and these products should be carefully tested before being used on the walls.

Installation of a feature panel, lighted dimly by concealed fixtures, serves well to break up the monotony of a plain side wall treatment. Another possibility in creating an interesting decorative effect is. the use of special paint which glows under infra red or black light. Most theatre supply houses carry this paint and the required light fixtures for mounting on the ceiling or in concealed spots.

In addition to the walls, it will be necessary to acoustically treat any surfaces on which sound waves may impinge, such as the face of the projection booth, the balcony or stadium facia, and the soffit of the mezzanine or balcony.

If the speaker horns are properly flared it should not be necessary to acoustically treat the auditorium ceiling, as the horns can be adjusted so that sound will not rebound from the ceiling.

Velour drapes on the orchestra side of glass screens used at the standee rail will prevent sound reflection, and may be hung on tracks so that they can be opened for standees, if required.

Too much absorption of sound is almost as bad as too little, and when a Hdead" house results from high sound absorption, amplification has to be increased and sound fidelity is sacrificed.

It is recommended that the auditorium be checked by an acoustical engineer whose experience covers reproduced and amplified sound problems, before any changes are made in the auditorium which will result in altered acoustics.

Pain'iing the Ceiling

Before any decoration of the ceiling is undertaken, a qualified person should be called in to determine the condition of the ceiling and its supporting structure. It will often be found that the ceiling is not only in a safe condition, but also needs little more than a good cleaning and a coat of paint. Some old ceilings often have well designed plaster ornamentation which, originally treated with gold leaf or dutch metal, needs only a cleaning to bring out its original glitter, if desired. However, the trend is toward subduing ornamentation by painting over it.

If the ceiling shows no sign of peeling because of leakage from the roof, a single coat of paint may be all that is needed to recondition it. It is usually not necessary to apply two or three coats of paint to a ceiling to achieve a good appearance, since the auditorium ceiling is far removed from close observation and actual contact. A good cleaning, one coat of paint, and possibly another coat in some spots, will do the trick quite satisfactorily.


Unlike new ceiling plaster, the old ceiling plaster will not need a sealer coating, nor will it require a preservative coat of paint. Painting where not actually necessary is a waste of money and time.

Architects and designers: seem to make a point of using classic designs,

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 23