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ARSCLIST  February 2009

ARSCLIST February 2009

Subject:

Re: Cleaning of grooved discs

From:

Garry Kling <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 2 Feb 2009 23:37:46 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (87 lines)

On Feb 2, 2009, at 9:27 PM, Michael Biel wrote:
>>
>> The fluid was excellent on 78's, LPs, and stable acetate  
>> transcriptions. It was especially good at removing the vinegar  
>> syndrome dust that is so common with transcriptions.
>
> What in the world are you talking about???  What you are calling  
> "acetate transcriptions" are NOT ACETATE, they are NITRATE.  Vinegar  
> syndrome is specific to cellulose acetate, which was used in motion  
> picture film and recording tape.  Since these discs are not made of  
> cellulose acetate, what you are seeing on them has nothing to do  
> with vinegar syndrome but has everything to do with the leeching of  
> the plasticizers used to make cellulose nitrate.
> It makes no more sense to call it "vinegar syndrome dust" than to  
> call it "pixie dust."   And these discs should not be called  
> "acetates", if only to keep people from thinking a lacquer disc can  
> develop vinegar syndrome.
>

These discs were indeed acetate, perhaps nitrocellulose acetate. I  
stand corrected on the "vinegar syndrome" nomenclature, but I stand by  
the tergitol solution. It worked very well. The white dust was  
removed, and the sound quality was much better. I don't remember  
mentioning pixies, though.


> Let me expand on what I tried to explain a few days ago.  Prior to  
> the introduction of cellulose nitrate lacquer coated recording discs  
> in 1934, there were two types of solid (non-laminated) plastic  
> PRESSINGS made of cellulose acetate.  One was the transparent discs  
> made by Flexo, and around 1933 this material was used by Brunswick  
> for 16-inch pressings.  The other was a flexible opaque disc with a  
> slightly greasy feel that was used by World Broadcasting System.   
> These were clay-colored and were supplied by World with a special  
> filing case that had a spring-loaded pressure plate in order to keep  
> them flat when stored.  Around 1935 World started to offer stations  
> an option to get the discs on a thicker and stiffer vinyl pressing  
> that did not need the pressure plate in the file drawers.  But  
> broadcasters had already gotten into the habit of calling any  
> plastic discs "acetate."  I have never smelled any vinegar on the  
> Flexo or red World discs, but have smelled vinegar on a special  
> commemorative Western Electric pressing made around 1933 for Arthur  
> C. Keller of one of his twin-groove Phila Orch stereo masters, and  
> on a set of 16-inch ETs pressed by World's manufacturer on an opaque  
> blue material also around 1933.  Now these discs ARE acetate, and  
> can be considered at risk for vinegar syndrome, but are totally  
> unlike the lacquer coated recording discs you are familiar with.   
> There was no dust, no deterioration, only the vinegar smell.   
> Remember, these are pressings, not recording discs.

The discs I dealt with were locally recorded at a radio station  
studio, and not pressings. The oldest were from 1938. Most of them  
appeared to be of the "Audiodisc" variety, which are, correct me if I  
am wrong, some form of acetate. I found these discs in our special  
collections by smelling for them. I caught a whiff, I found the discs.  
Maybe I was smelling something else?

>
>> The transcriptions, of course, need to be handled very delicately  
>> in the cleaning machine, or cleaned by hand.
>>
>> We did not have any shellac transcriptions in our collection, so I  
>> can't speak to it's efficacy there, but I would test on a blank  
>> side if one is available by hand with a cotton swab to see if it  
>> would remove any of the shellac. I would be wary.      Garry Kling
>
> You did say you had 78s there.  Weren't these usually shellac?  What  
> wouldn't harm a shellac 78 wouldn't harm a shellac transcription.   
> 16-inch ETs and motion picture soundtrack discs were pressed of  
> shellac from the 1920s into the mid-30s.  And cleaner reaction isn't  
> like removing any of the shellac like a shellac coating on  
> furniture, it usually results in the affected material turning white  
> on contact of the alcohol.
>
> Mike Biel   [log in to unmask]

I suggested the testing because I wasn't sure of the effects of  
Tergitol on shellac. Not all 78's are made of shellac, particularly  
later ones. Different manufacturers used different formulas that may  
or may not have included shellac. But I do suspect, as you do, that a  
mild surfactant would not harm shellac. I would just err on the side  
of caution..

Best Regards,

Garry Kling

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