Maintenance Committee – Dolphin Statue

As Paul Harvey would say on his nightly broadcast, “and now for the rest of the story.”

In 1996 a Men’s Club Dolphin Committee composed of Don Ellis, Rick Foth and Jerry Pearl started a fund raising campaign to replace the topiary dolphins at the entrance of Mariner Drive. Frank Turner, a local artist, volunteered his considerable skills to sculpt the dolphins and residents donated $20,000 to cast the bronze dolphins. A deep sense of community pride was felt by the residents participating in the formal dedication of the dolphin statue July 4, 1997. It became the task of Maintenance to care for and polish the dolphins. However, the staff was not experienced in the proper polishing and care of bronze art work. It wasn’t long before Frank expressed his dissatisfaction with our care of his artistic creation. Frank provided Maintenance with a “special wax” and explained how we were to use this “special wax.” It was green in color and provided a patina green to the statue exactly as Frank wanted.

He did not reveal what it was or where it could be purchased but assured the staff not to worry; he would provide the wax that would be needed, and he did just that for many years.

Frank Turner passed away in 2012 without revealing the source of this special, and soon to be needed, wax. Enter the wax detective, George Cooley, and his computer search skills. There was no label on the can, only some scotch tape that Frank had labeled “midnight green.” The first search for midnight green wax or bronze wax came up with only one hit. Lincoln shoe polish made a midnight green wax.

Searching further, George learned that carnauba wax was best for statues but it must not contain certain petroleum additives.

A search for the ingredients of the Lincoln Wax revealed that it did contain carnauba wax with acceptable petroleum ingredients.

But the container for the Lincoln Wax did not look like the container provided by Frank.

Another search for “midnight green shoe polish” came up with a rare match for an obscure wax product called Angelus perfect stain Shoe Wax Polish. It comes in midnight green and the cans match perfectly. Angelus Wax has a peel away label which Frank had removed.

So Frank, we broke the code. It’s shoe wax! The dolphins continue to look good with just the right patina as directed by a very special artist. We are sure you are smiling, as we do, when we look at our dolphins and remember your contributions to Niguel Shores and the “rest of the story.”

—Jack Christiansen

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