conservethis: Doing some spray deacidification with our Bookkeeper system here in the conservation lab. cemeteryconservation: Tell us more, what is the process? Well, first you spend about 15 minutes trying to remember how to turn on the mixer (you have to loosen a nut on […]
Whoa. What a difference! Same publisher/printer/year/everything. Same library binding. Same library building, even.
Very, very different results.
The copy on the bottom is very, very brittle and brown. The copy on the top has paper that is still nicely flexible and white.
It’s possible the copy on the bottom was kept in a big city, or someplace where it was exposed to more air pollution than the copy on the top. This is particularly likely if it was gifted to the library after being owned for several years by its original owner first and not bought BY the library for the collection.
Another explanation is that the copy on the top was library-bound much earlier than the copy on the bottom. If the copy on the bottom had a very acidic original cover, this could have hastened the embrittlement of the paper. However, in this case this is not the cause, as these items were bound at the exact same time, according to the bindery shipment sticker in the back.
It’s also possible that the printer switched to a different kind of paper halfway through their print run, so the bottom copy may be a different type of paper than the top copy.
So, an update about this pair of music books….I was not a very observant conservator when I wrote this post! Just today, I was looking at them again and noticed that the one on the top had been de-acidified in 2005 (it had a sticker on the back cover that said so)!
But, there you go – tangible proof that if you can get to it BEFORE it’s gone brittle, de-acidification really works!