Years ago, I played around with cleaning Edison Voicewriter discs (red
acetate dictation discs about the size of 45) by immersing them in
deionized water and Photo-Flo. After an hour, I gently scrubbed them along
the grooves with a soft sable brush and decades old fingerprints lifted off
like translucent scabs). After drying 24 hours on acid-free blotter paper,
I was able to make a good playback pass. Not sure I'd have the gumption to
try something like that today, knowing what we know now about the effects
of humidity on acetate.


Steve Greene
Audiovisual Archivist
Office of Presidential Libraries
National Archives and Records Administration
(301) 837-1772

On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 4:44 PM, [log in to unmask] <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I have had the same experience with lacquers. Play them wet, then see if
> there is not a glob of your record clinging to your stylus. The record will
> never play properly again unless you wet it, and thus remove more of the
> lacquer. So you lose record and stylus.
> I have often wondered if there is some liquid that can be used for playing
> a lacquer or shellac 78 to reduce surface noise without damage to either
> record or stylus.
> IIRC, Seth once said at a conference presentation that he had applied
> pinch roller cleaner to a problem transcription and the results he
> demonstrated proved his point. However, that was to a problem point on the
> record, so I don't know if it was intended to reduce surface noise as much
> as clean that problem area.
> joe salerno
> On 12/18/2013 3:05 PM, Michael Biel wrote:
>> You cannot play shellac records wet, or even damp.  Shellac discs will
>> eventually dissolve in water, and by playing them wet you are allowing
>> the stylus to gouge out some nice soft shellac.  Once played wet a
>> shellac record will never play properly dry again.
>> Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]