One thing I have not seen mentioned is the role of iron as a catalyst in
vinegar syndrome. I understand that it is. That is why steel film reels
and steel film cans are NOT recommended for acetate elements.
As has been stated elsewhere, getting the gasses away from the acetate
elements is key. Having good air exchange in the vaults is very
important as apparently the off-gassing can act to spread VS to adjacent
elements. It's not like a biological virus/bacteria, but rather a
chemical reaction where the off-gassing vapors are a catalyst.
I believe the recommendation is vented plastic cans, stored horizontally
(and arranged so drips do not enter).
The only 111 that I have seen with serious vinegar shrinkage was from
the Mullin-Palmer collection which probably dated to the beginning of
its production in the late 1940s. The outer layers at first look like
they were almost slit as 0.20 inch width instead of 0.25!
And YES on Kodak tape. It all stinks (in the olfactory sense, I'm not
making judgment otherwise), but I have been able to play all the reels
I've been sent.
On 2015-03-01 2:43 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
> John -- one more interesting data point about vinegar and Audiotape. All
> of the few times I've encountered is was 1/4" 1.5 mil Audiotape from the
> early or mid 1950s. I've never encountered it in 1/2" Audiotape from
> 1956 to about 1961, and I don't recall hearing any reports of it out of
> the hundreds of Mercury reels remastered in the 1990s. I have
> encountered it with Scotch 111 from the early 50s but never Scotch 111
> in the familiar 1960s package of white and plaid. I've encountered
> almost always with Scotch and Audio Devices 35mm magnetic film, and in
> every case with Kodak media. I have no idea why this is. I would think
> cellulose is cellulose, but apparently something else is going on in the
> case of Audiotape. There could be something in the oxide or binder that
> staves off vinegar syndrome, but then I don't know why it happens
> Interesting case in point -- the 1956 1/4" master tapes for the mono
> Mercury "1812 Overture." Side 1, the overture and the spoken narration
> by Deems Taylor, the master tape is a mess. It's badly edge-warped and
> smells of vinegar. Side 2, the Capriccio Italien, the master tape is in
> perfect condition. Both Audiotape, both made at the same time. Both
> tapes have been treated and stored the same because they are of one
> single album. Why has one fallen apart and the other not? Very strange!
> Have you seen any such things with acetate media in the Hollywood vaults?
> -- Tom Fine
Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.