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Hello everyone.  Apologies in advance for the length
of this post, but I'm kind of feeling my way around in
the dark here and am hoping for some good advice from
people who have done this type of work before.

I'm currently doing an internship at the USC (that's
east coast, not west coast, y'all...) Music Library. 
My focus is on the preservation of old sound
recordings, and currently I'm attempting to do
something with a collection of about 70 cylinders,
about half of which have mold on them.

I've done some research and read through this
listserv's archives, and I've found some info that I
think I can use.  For cleaning, I plan to use the
method described here:
Does anyone here know if this method is safe on all
types of cylinders, or just certain ones?  The
majority of the ones here are the Edison Gold Moulded
cylinders variety, black wax as far as I can tell, but
others are the celluloid kind with the plaster cores.

I'm starting to wonder if I'm approaching this project
completely wrong, though.  The idea so far has been to
catalog the cylinders, clean them up if possible, and
maybe even try to transfer their content to digital
format.  Is this impractical?

When I play some of the cylinders on the Edison
machine we have, I notice that the area on the
cylinder that has just been played looks considerably
shinier, which makes me think that the stylus is
cutting into the cylinder and damaging it.  I'm also
having a hard time getting the player to maintain a
consistent speed; it often wants to slow down too much
or even stop.  Am I a complete boob for attempting to
play these cylinders, that is, am I just contributing
further to their destruction?  Should I just back off
and be content with cleaning and cataloging them?

And does anyone know of some sort of manual
(preferably online) for an Edison machine?  It's the
Model K one with the combination stylus.  Is there
some way to adjust the speed?  Is the speed problem
I'm having a sign of a faulty machine, a dirty
cylinder, or what we might call operator error (e.g.,
I don't know what I'm doing)?

Lots of questions.  But it's the only way to learn. 
I'd appreciate any insight.  Thanks.

Trey Bunn
Folklife Resource Center
McKissick Museum
University of South Carolina

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