The storage of flat discs and audio CD's has been the topic of late, but I'd
like to raise a question regarding the safe storage of wax cylinders.  My
question has to do with the original factory cylinder cases.  These cases
have a cotton lining inside to protect the surface of the cylinder.  This
may have been the solution in the late 19th century, but is it appropriate
for today?
For instance, I came across a case that had clear stone-like objects stuck
on the inner cotton walls.  It turned out to be drips of glue.  These drips
of glue probably came from the Edison factory since there are signs of even
more glue at the bottom of the case.  (Perhaps the factory worker sneezed
when applying the glue) :-)  With these hard particles being in this
container, the surface of this particular wax cylinder is now irreparably
damaged from taking the cylinder out & back in over the years.  Fortunately
I have only noticed this one example as I work my way through the 3300
cylinders in this museum's collection.

I have also found that the cotton lining particles can get in between the
grooves of a cylinder, and can blend in with dirt or the like.  This is a
larger problem regarding brown wax cylinders.

Can anyone tell me if it is best to store wax cylinders in their original
containers, or is it better to replace them?  I know that there is an
archival quality cardboard container that exists, but is this the best


Colin Schlachta
Audio-Visual Archives
Canadian Museum of Civilization
100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec
J8X 4H2
Fax: (819) 776-7055
Tel: (819) 776-8466