Let's talk about this...could you please describe flaking off?

Is it completely falling off as you try and play the tapes?

Do you end up with clear basefilm, or just a load of stuff you need to
vacuum up?

What brand/part number?

Presumably they are acetate (hold it up to a light--can you see light
coming through?).

Are they the standard reddish-brown oxide?

Is there any back-printing on the tapes?

How were they stored?

How were they made? Equipment?

What kind of boxes are they in? What condition are the boxes in--especially
related to crumbling from apparent high-acid content?

Do you smell any vinegar?

What attempts (on what equipment) have you made to play any of these? What
were the results?

What speed and track configuration were they recorded at? (15 in/s
full-track mono would be nice <smile>).

That should get us all thinking.

I think there are many people on the list who can gently play tapes. I can
on Studer (A810 or A807) or Sony (APR-5003V) equipment. I've played tapes
dating back to a 1935 Carbonyl Iron tape, but while I've had to sweep up
after them, I've not encountered an early tape with oxide totally flaking
off. This is very interesting.

Good luck!


At 09:22 PM 2/1/2004 -0800, you wrote:
>Would there be anyone in the group with the equipment and know-how to
>transfer crumbling audio tape? I have some incredibly rare tapes from the
>fifties that I'm afraid to even look at because the oxide just flakes right
>off.  Any pointer in the right direction would be appreciated.
>Tom Brown, Director
>First Generation Radio Archives
>Preserving Radio's Past for the Future