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Re: Paper deacidification



Betty Storz asked me to share some of my observations and experiences with
Preservation Techologies, the company that developed and markets Bookkeeper,
which utilizes magnesium oxide.  They have a plant in Pennsylvania, where they
do mass deacidification, and the process is quick, reasonably priced, and they
will receive and treat small orders as well as large.  They can also handle
archives and manuscripts, as well as other kinds of single sheet batches.  I am
not certain just how these are processed, but I was assured that the order of
the papers is preserved.

Books are suspended by the covers within large chambers, which can be closed
and sealed.  The Bookkeeper fluid is pumped into the cylinder, bathing the
books for a specific period of time (minutes), then removed.  The pH is
monitored, and each shipment is returned with a report.  Unbound books can be
sent sewn with temporary or permanent boards attached, facilitating the
treatment.  Books without boards must be treated (sprayed, I think) by hand,
which costs more.

The cost of treatment is affordable.  In most cases there is a "flat fee", but
for larger, heavier books, is weighed and the cost figured accordingly.
Shipping and handling each way is additional, of course.  Service has been
pretty efficient--return within 4 weeks, including travel time (between Oregon
and Pennsylvania) by UPS.

I have used the service twice for clients and have had no particular problems.
Small difficulties included the small losses to some gold tooling (leather
labels), a broken-off flyleaf (easily repaired), and some made endpapers which
cockled along the fore-edge (but these were not grain-vertical).  The company
says that leather is not negatively affected by the chemicals, but I am not
completely convinced about this.  A sample of my own that was sent (early 19th
century calf) shows some, but not extensive darkening and hardening along the
edges.  It developed some days after the book was returned, and I suppose it
could have been caused by some other unknown effect.

Before sending things off I did some in-house testing (initial pH, ink
sensitivity, etc.).  I wrapped each piece individually, and provided a shipping
list of the books.  They were returned to me in the original wrappings and
packing.  Other than the anxiety of having clients' books off-site for a while,
there was no problem.

The company's phone number is 1-800-416-2665.  Bob Strauss is the customer rep
I know, and he is knowledgeable and helpful.  Betty Storz found a website with
email, but I don't have an address for it.

I believe that Wei T'o also offers mass deacidification services, but I've no
experience with them and can't offer comments.  Perhaps someone else can
provide some wisdom here.

Carol
Eugene, OR

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