I'm keeping all fingers and toes crossed the grant funding comes through for a very large transfer
project. If that happens, I'll be transferring hundreds of 406 reels which have been stored in an
archival vault, cold and dry, almost from the day they were recorded. I will definitely report on
baking times, and you can bet I will be conservative at the start, going longer than I would expect,
just to be safe and not do any harm to a client tape. In that vault, I noticed a few NOS reels. I am
very curious about those, because I think they were vault-stored almost from the time of purchase.
This would be a good test if vault storage has anything to do with preventing sticky-shed, which I
doubt. What may be the case, though, as I think Peter Brothers mentioned, is that cold/dry vault
storage may cause some sort of limit to the hydrolysis, so the tapes only go "so sticky" and thus by
my theory would require normal baking times (8-12 hours).
Richard, your theory about different formulas for Commonwealth Ampex-branded tapes may well be true,
but you'd need to suss out for sure where all that tape was manufactured. I'm not aware of any Ampex
plant except Opelika AL (formerly Orradio Industries). For that matter, did 3M have tape-making
plants other than in Minnesota? I always thought that Ampex and 3M tapes were made in USA; Sony,
Maxell, TDK and maybe Memorex were made in Japan; BASF was made in Germany and Agfa was made in
Germany and Holland. As I understand it, there was a Russian tape manufacturer in the Cold War era,
but Soviet and Eastern Bloc recordists also bought a lot of Agfa and BASF tape.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2016 12:57 PM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Baking times for Ampex 456 increasing? How Much? Why?
> This has been a great thread--and I'd like to focus on one part of it.
> Perhaps there was a different version of Ampex 456 sold into the Commonwealth? Could that be?
> Although I think all of the 456 I have had has come from Opelika.
> Ted in the UK, Marie in NZ, and I'm in Canada and we are all seeing extended baking times for 456
> and related tapes much of the time.
> The problem is it's easy once you see the need for extended baking times to make it part of your
> protocol. It does no damage, whereas insufficient baking can create a problem.
> But, we have Tom saying he hasn't seen the need and that concurs with the Library of Congress's
> When I discussed it with the LoC, they were quite surprised, but in the conversation, they
> indicated that all of their material was coming from their climate controlled vaults and had been
> there for extended periods.
> I know that some of the tapes I have received from Canada, Bermuda, and the USA have had horrible
> storage profiles. I suspect that is true for some of the 456 etc that I have received, but the
> worst tape I ever received was a reel of 201 1-inch that had absorbed so much moisture it had
> extruded through the slot in the hub sending a bump an inch into the tape pack. That recording of
> John Allan Cameron (his first) was salvaged partly through my efforts and substantially polished
> by the flying fingers of Paul MacDonald in covering each individual blurp.
> Can we see if we can come up with enough data about baking times that we can better understand
> this increase that is not uniform?
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada 647 479 2800
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.