An update on Vinegar Syndrome in audio tapes. More anecdotal evidence
that helps support the well-known rule of storing film in vented cans.
I received four reels of Kodak sound recording tape that were
recorded in 1962 and 1963. All are Triacetate backing. Two are 1.0
mil on 5-inch reels and two are 1.5 mil on 7-inch reels.
All of the reels were very loosely wound. The two 7-inch reels were
in plastic bags inside their boxes. One of them reeked of vinegar
when I opened it and when I rewound it. I had to move away from the
prep machine during initial rewind.
It did not seem to suffer from any of the loss-of-lubricant we've
started to see in Sony reel-to-reel tapes and 3M dictation cassettes
The outside of the tape pack could be easily depressed 1/4 to 3/8 of
an inch, the pack was so loose. I wonder if that much material was
lost? The tape still played fine and appeared dimensionally stable,
but this is as far gone as any I have seen judging from the odor.
I have never seen this before with tapes stored in the more usual
cardboard boxes without being sealed in a bag. Doug Nishimura of IPI
has more examples than I, but I am concerned that we're going to
start to see significant degradation of acetate-based tapes. The risk
of this tape is growing, IMHO.
I'm glad these are getting transferred. They are interviews with
people who were at one of the Shaker communities in the early 1900s.
Apologies for the cross posting. I'm not looking to get into a major
discussion about this -- just a heads up for those who are keeping
track of at-risk media. Probably if we do discuss it, it should be on
AMIA-L as that is where most of the knowledgeable VS people reside
(due to the issue surfacing in film archives a bit more than in tape
archives). If you are interested in the list go to
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Media web: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm