Since the platicizer in acetate recording tape is moisture, low humidity
tends to draw it out, creating the familiar brittle tape. I remember Bill
Storm showing me a "rehumiditizing" box they were usuing at that time for
A wet sock round a sponge in a tight dresser drawer would work as well,
keeping the tape out of contact with the sock.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Hodge" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2004 10:50 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] storage media
I know that this is off topic , but I just wanted to make the difference
know to those who might not be aware of it.
Safety Film of that vintage is cellulose diacetate as opposed to celulose
acetate and ( for all of it that I'v handled as a projectionist for 2 film
festivals for several years ) suffers from none of the decompository
effects such as vinegar syndrome that acetate film does - It does shrink
somewhat , occational warpage , but never to the extent to being
Some folks misinterpret the strong odor it gives off as being decomposition
, but is just the normal odor of camphor , or as I smell it sometimes,
mothballs . I have unearthed some vintage cans with blotters in them that
contained camphor, used to keep the film pliable. Also moth balls in 35 mm
acetate film cans to do the same thing - and it does work. I'v never turned
up 35 mm film stored in this manner with Vinegar Syndrome ( VS ), but then
most projection booths have low humidity to begin with , and that is where
the film would have been stored for long periods of time anyway.
High humidity seems to trigger the onset of VS . Molecular Sieves kept in
the can will absorb the Acetic Acid , slowing the destruction. Unfortunately
it cannott be stopped .
But then it seems to indicate that the proper storage for acetate tape is
a low humidity environment, and the use of sieves to absorb the Acetic Acid
given off would be applicable as well.
Other Thoughts ?
>>> [log in to unmask] 06/10/04 09:54AM >>>
In a message dated 6/9/04 3:33:01 PM Eastern Daylight Time, [log in to unmask]
> Speaking of storage media, can anyone tell me whether reel-to-reel should
> put in special storage cases? Most of our tapes are currently in the
> the tape comes in.
My opinion is that nitrate or acetate materials should not be stored in
containers that let them stew in their own juices. Cardboard boxes that
diffusion seem to be the best.
I have Kodak Safety Film rolls from the mid 1920s that still run through a
projector just fine, that are still in their original cardboard return
However a friend of mine just went to great expense salvaging his home
from a highly deteriorated state from having been sealed in metal cans for
I also have samples of nitrate based sheet film (oscillograph recordings)
which were inserted into laboratory notebooks in the early 1930s which show
absolutely no deterioration.
I would use sturdy, acid free cardboard in a temperature-humidity controlled
environment to preserve these materials for another 50-75 years.