Print

Print


George and Dennis:

Some possible sources of information would be old newsletters and brochures put out by the 
disk-recording manufacturers such as Presto, RCA and Western Electric. Also, old technical magazines 
aimed at the broadcast business. I believe there are collections of such magazines at the LOC and 
also at places like the Pavek Museum in Minnesota. I have no idea about analog sources in Europe and 
elsewhere, I'm only speaking of the US business.

Basically, if the makers of recording blanks felt that removing nitrate from the recipe was a 
selling point, there is marketing material about it somewhere. Never sell archive.org short for this 
sort of thing, too. Their collection is not as well organized as some, but there is material up 
there, for instance many old Audio Devices newsletters (I think Audio Devices entered the disk-blank 
business long after nitrate wasn't used anymore).

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dennis Rooney" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Transcription discs and nitrate lacquer


> Dear George,
>
> Like so much concerning our area of interest, the information is not
> documented. My knowledge comes from conversations over the years with
> veteran studio engineers, who at various times individually corrobarated
> the details posted earlier.
>
> DDR
>
> On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 10:34 AM, George Brock-Nannestad <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>
>> From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
>>
>>
>>
>> Hello Dennis [Rooney],
>>
>> you wrote
>>
>> > Although the first instantaneous blanks were cellulose nitrate, the
>> > formula was later changed to cellulose acetate, hence the use of
>> "acetate" as a
>> > cognomen for discs which are properly called "lacquer(s)". The change was
>> > prompted by some unfortunate accidents involving mastering engineers who
>> > smoked while cutting lacquers. The vast majority of surviving lacquer
>> > discs are cellulose acetate. No worries (at least not about
>> combustibility).
>> >
>>
>> ----- now, I have been chasing information like that for quite some time.
>> Could you quote some sources, please? Newspaper reports are fine, but
>> technical litereture would be better. The only reference to non-inflammable
>> acetate lacquer discs I have been able to find concerns home recording
>> discs
>> from ca. 1938. All other sources, in particular for professional use, have
>> referred to nitrate as the major constituent.
>>
>> The reason there is no need to worry about your lacquer discs in the
>> archive
>> is -- as Steve Greene surmised -- that the volume of nitrate to cooling
>> carrier ratio is so small. Just like Blue Amberols. The reason mastering
>> engineers sometimes had fires was 1) they were not using vacuum for
>> removing
>> the swarf and were careless, 2) if they used vacuum, as was the
>> professional
>> way, they deliberately set fire to the content in the can for swarf - wax
>> was
>> just as inflammable, and if you light steel wool it will continue to
>> smolder
>> until it is all iron oxide - it is the fine division that gives the
>> problems.
>>
>> Best wishes,
>>
>>
>> George
>>
>> -----------------------------------------------
>>
>>
>>
>> >
>> > On Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 9:20 AM, Steve Greene <[log in to unmask]>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > > Hello,
>> > > First time poster here.  How big a concern is the storage of
>> > transcription
>> > > recordings, a majority of which are made of coated cellulose nitrate
>> > > lacquer? Coming from a moving image background, the "n" word (NITRATE)
>> > is
>> > > scary, though presumably the volume of nitrate in even a large
>> > collection
>> > > of coated discs is tiny compared to even a small collection of nitrate
>> > > film.  Were there components in the "recipe" for nitrate lacquer that
>> > > tended to make them less combustible?
>> > >
>> > > Thanks in advance for your advice, perspectives.
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > Steve Greene
>> > > Archivist
>> > > Office of Presidential Libraries
>> > > National Archives and Records Administration
>> > > (301) 837-1772
>> > >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> > Dennis D. Rooney
>> > 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
>> > New York, NY 10023
>> > 212.874.9626
>>
>
>
>
> -- 
> Dennis D. Rooney
> 303 W. 66th Street, 9HE
> New York, NY 10023
> 212.874.9626
>