On 20/04/07, andy kolovos wrote:
> Last week I opened up a plastic shopping bag that contained to things:
> a slide carousel filled with 35mm slides and a reel of tape. The pair
> form a slide-tape show on the topic of, apparently, maple sugaring.
> The first thing to greet me was the pronounced stink of vinegar. Very
> I assumed the tape was the culprit and put it aside to reek on its
> However, upon holding it up to light later, I did not encounter the
> usual acetate translucence--the pack was totally opaque.
> This got me thinking about the slides again. Did Kodak (or anyone for
> that matter, since the slides in the carousel seem to be a slightly
> mixed bag) produce acetate slide film? Could the slides be going
> And about the tape--it's a 7" reel of 1/4" tape. Poorly packed. the
> backing of the tape has "Eastman Kodak Co" printed on it. It's in a
> black plastic Sctoch 211 box (the kind with the smoked plastic drop
> front) and on a blue plastic Scotch reel. It is my guess that the
> recording dates from the mid 1960s--this is going on information from
> the donor (whose father made the recording).
> This whole thing confuses me a bit because it undermines two basics of
> what I've been taught on the matter::
> 1. Only acetate will develop vinegar syndrome
> 2. Acetate tape will appear translucent when held up to light.
> I am forced to consider that it could be a polyester tape with a
> vinegar problem /or/ an acetate tape that is opaque when held up to
> If the slides are going vinegary, could the vinegar problem have an
> impact on polyester-backed tape? Did Kodak make a non-translucent
> acetate backing?
> In any event, after separating the tape from the slides, the slides
> still stink, but not nearly as bad, while the tape (which admittedly
> is somewhat sealed in it's case) stinks as bad as ever.
> Any thoughts?
Having used a wide variety of photographic films over the decades, I
have never come across any kind of smelly decay. Dyes may fade, and
residual fixer can attack a silver image, but no smell.
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