Last week I opened up a plastic shopping bag that contained to things: a 
slide carousel filled with 35mm slides and a reel of tape.  The pair 
form a slide-tape show on the topic of, apparently, maple sugaring.

The first thing to greet me was the pronounced stink of vinegar.  Very 

I assumed the tape was the culprit and put it aside to reek on its own. 
  However, upon holding it up to light later, I did not encounter the 
usual acetate translucence--the pack was totally opaque.

This got me thinking about the slides again.  Did Kodak (or anyone for 
that matter, since the slides in the carousel seem to be a slightly 
mixed bag) produce acetate slide film?  Could the slides be going vinegary?

And about the tape--it's a 7" reel of 1/4" tape.  Poorly packed.  the 
backing of the tape has "Eastman Kodak Co" printed on it.  It's in a 
black plastic Sctoch 211 box (the kind with the smoked plastic drop 
front) and on a blue plastic Scotch reel.  It is my guess that the 
recording dates from the mid 1960s--this is going on information from 
the donor (whose father made the recording).

This whole thing confuses me a bit because it undermines two basics of 
what I've been taught on the matter::

1. Only acetate will develop vinegar syndrome
2. Acetate tape will appear translucent when held up to light.

I am forced to consider that it could be a polyester tape with a vinegar 
problem /or/ an acetate tape that is opaque when held up to light.

If the slides are going vinegary, could the vinegar problem have an 
impact on polyester-backed tape?  Did Kodak make a non-translucent 
acetate backing?

In any event, after separating the tape from the slides, the slides 
still stink, but not nearly as bad, while the tape (which admittedly is 
somewhat sealed in it's case) stinks as bad as ever.

Any thoughts?



Andy Kolovos
Vermont Folklife Center
3 Court Street ; P.O. Box 442
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 388-4964
akolovos @