Hi, Steve,

The Audio Engineering Society has some information on tape 
type/manufacture - at least from 3M on their Web site and Del Eilers 
(sp?) and Bill Lund ex of 3M tape are on the Ampex mailing list.

I'm wondering if perhaps Wikipedia might be the right venue for doing 
this? It is a good idea.

I'm keeping all the emails and I can do a boolean search through 
them, but I'm not organized enough nor motivated enough to make this 
grid. I do maintain a who-can-play-it grid at but it's in need of updating.

My VS tape is safely in the computer and back in its box (but not 
bag). The box is not showing signs of acid degradation. My theory is 
that even an unbuffered box will absorb a fair amount of the acid.

And, yes, Eric, it is auto catalytic at some point. Worst seems to be 
35mm and 16mm mag film on acetate base. Good suggestions, but I'm 
just pulling the tape out of the bag and putting it back in the box.

Well, at least it cleared out my sinuses.




At 10:34 PM 9/9/2005, Steve Green wrote:
>At some point in the past there was a discussion on this list about 
>Kodak tapes and Vinegar Syndrome. I am assessing a university 
>collection right now that has a 7-inch reel of "Eastman" brand tape 
>with noticeable VS and also radial stress lines emanating from hub 
>outward through the entire pack. I have come across quite a few 
>Kodak acetate-based reels over the years and most have had a 
>pronounced vinegar smell--  stings the eyes and nose, etc. I also 
>have seen some incredibly loose packs--  literally sagging off the 
>reel--  and I suspect that quite a few of those were also Kodak 
>quarter-inch tapes.
>I realize that VS shows up in a wide range of acetate-based tapes, 
>not just Kodak, but others besides me have reported similar 
>experiences with Kodak reels from the 1960s. I think someone from 
>Kodak may have responded to some of the earlier postings (a 
>discussion of what was meant by "auto-catalytic" and that other 
>tapes in proximity could be "infected") but it was a few years ago 
>and I haven't gone to check the list archives to investigate. Just 
>thought I'd chime in with more anecdotal comments about finding 
>Vinegar Syndrome (and loose pack winds) in old Kodak acetate tapes. 
>Come to think of it, though, while the VS may be exacerbated by lack 
>of venting, the tapes I have found have just been in regular 
>cardboard boxes, ok, perhaps a few in plastic bags inside, I can't 
>remember. I have long suspected that the formulation used for Kodak 
>tapes made them highly susceptible to begin with, even if "vented."
>I have been wondering if someone is keeping some kind of grid or 
>journal noting problems or issues encountered with specific tapes? 
>It would be great to have a handy reference for such a thing. In my 
>travels I have come across so many strange brands of tape and wish 
>too that there was definitive tape guide where a person could look 
>up a brand and "model" number and see approximately it's dates of 
>manufacture, parent company, lengths available, and other salient 
>information that might aid in identifying and addressing 
>preservation or playback. I can imagine a web site where photos or 
>scans of tape boxes could be contributed by anyone to serve as a 
>kind of visual catalog or encyclopedia of tape brands? Does such a 
>site exist already I wonder?
>Whatever. Thanks for the update and have fun with the VS reels.
>Steve Green
>Western Folklife Center
>On Sep 9, 2005, at 6:12 PM, Richard L. Hess wrote:
>>An update on Vinegar Syndrome in audio tapes. More anecdotal 
>>evidence that helps support the well-known rule of storing film in vented cans.
>>I received four reels of Kodak sound recording tape that were 
>>recorded in 1962 and 1963. All are Triacetate backing. Two are 1.0 
>>mil on 5-inch reels and two are 1.5 mil on 7-inch reels.
>>All of the reels were very loosely wound. The two 7-inch reels were 
>>in plastic bags inside their boxes. One of them reeked of vinegar 
>>when I opened it and when I rewound it. I had to move away from the 
>>prep machine during initial rewind.
>>It did not seem to suffer from any of the loss-of-lubricant we've 
>>started to see in Sony reel-to-reel tapes and 3M dictation 
>>cassettes (among others).
>>The outside of the tape pack could be easily depressed 1/4 to 3/8 
>>of an inch, the pack was so loose. I wonder if that much material 
>>was lost? The tape still played fine and appeared dimensionally 
>>stable, but this is as far gone as any I have seen judging from the odor.
>>I have never seen this before with tapes stored in the more usual 
>>cardboard boxes without being sealed in a bag. Doug Nishimura of 
>>IPI has more examples than I, but I am concerned that we're going 
>>to start to see significant degradation of acetate-based tapes. The 
>>risk of this tape is growing, IMHO.
>>I'm glad these are getting transferred. They are interviews with 
>>people who were at one of the Shaker communities in the early 1900s.
>>Apologies for the cross posting. I'm not looking to get into a 
>>major discussion about this -- just a heads up for those who are 
>>keeping track of at-risk media. Probably if we do discuss it, it 
>>should be on AMIA-L as that is where most of the knowledgeable VS 
>>people reside (due to the issue surfacing in film archives a bit 
>>more than in tape archives). If you are interested in the list go 
>>Richard L. Hess                           email: [log in to unmask]
>>Vignettes Media                           web:
>>Aurora, Ontario, Canada             (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
>>Detailed contact information:

Richard L. Hess                           email: [log in to unmask]
Media                           web:
Aurora, Ontario, Canada             (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: