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This brings up a thought. Maybe the best storage for acetate tapes is in a somewhat "musty" 
(somewhat cold and damp) environment, but not in paper boxes, rather in metal (non-rusting) cans. My 
big caveat -- you must be very careful about mold. Mold will eat acetate tapes. In an extreme case, 
there were some reels of Scotch 111 in a very damp storage room in the basement of the house I grew 
up in. This room did not ever flood or get dripping pipes or anything like that, it was just an old 
rock foundation on the corner of the house, with a cement slab floor. Because it had no heat, it 
took on the general dampness of the stone walls and cement floor. These tape boxes were on the 
floor, original Scotch 111 paper boxes. The mold grew over years, I assume. I remember the boxes 
being in there when I was a kid and I didn't investigate them until I was a teenager. What I found 
was, the boxes were largely eaten away and what was left was covered in fuzzy mold. Inside, there 
were holes clean through the tape pack and what had been tape was reduced to a pile of rusty powder 
(evidently the mold could not process the iron flakes). So any sort of damp storage must be 
constantly controlled for mold, I have no idea what that process entails. I should add, the mold 
agent in that room, overwhelmingly, was the nasty tar-film on everything, since all of it had been 
in a smoke-filled studio and the room was next to a smoke-filled workshop. Smoking is one nasty 
habit!

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steven Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2011 4:20 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: [ARSCLIST] Treatment for Acetate Tapes


> I've done this successfully by putting a dampened- not wetted- paper towel
> in a film can with the tape on a reel, being sure the towel does not come
> into physical contact with the tape.  Do it on one side only.  If you do it
> on both, you have no way of knowing if the center has been rehydrated. This
> is slowly successful (days, not hours) but may also need repeated
> applications to be sure the water vapor makes it through the middle to the
> other side of the tape.
>
> If the dry tape has been tightened, be sure to rewind and wind it again
> after it is remoisturized to relieve the tape tension unevennesses that will
> occur.  Being even more obsessive, I'd suggest letting it sit a week after
> this rewind dance takes place to reduce any rippling effect as the tape
> passes the heads.  This is of particular importance with stereo to avoid or,
> at least, reduce phasing issues.
>
> Steve Smolian
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Don Tait
> ([log in to unmask])
> Sent: Friday, December 09, 2011 3:42 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: [ARSCLIST] Treatment for Acetate Tapes
>
> I agree with Scott Phillips. I'd like to read everyone's comments  about
> this on the ARSC site if everyone is willing. Because I have some acetate
> tapes from circa 1957 that are dried, curled, and that I want  to preserve.
>
>  I'll tell something that was told to me about a possible rescue  method by
> Mitchell Heller, who's been an engineer involved in recording since  the
> early 1950s: humidity. Mitchell said the basic problem is that acetate tape
> dries out, and curls as a result. He recommended putting a piece of wet
> cloth or  paper towel in at least one corner of a tape enclosure, the more
> corners the  better, trying to cover all openings of the enclosure with
> something like  plastic wrap to trap the moisture inside, and letting it sit
> for a while. He  said that would rehydrate the tape and cause it to flatten
> enough to be played  successfully.
>
>  Despite my problems with a few acetate tapes I've never had the  energy to
> try it, so I don't know whether it works. Others probably will. In any case,
> that's my contribution. I hope to read others' thoughts about the  topic.
>
>  Don Tait
>