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Subject: Fire damaged paper

Fire damaged paper

From: Jack C. Thompson <jct>
Date: Sunday, January 9, 1994
In CDL 7:48, Jane Klinger inquired about fire damaged papers. In
general, if the paper is only scorched a bath in a solution of water,
alcohol, and glycerin will help, provided the media are fast to these

A couple of interesting articles on the topic were written by Donald Doud:

    "Charred Documents,  Their Handling and Decipherment:  A Summary of
    Available Methods for Treating Burnt Papers."  <Police Science> 43
    (1952-53) pp. 812--826.


    "Report of the Reconstruction of Two Time Payment Ledgers Damaged by
    Fire and Water."  <Police Science> 50 (1959-60) pp. 291-295.

It is worth remembering that information can be recovered from badly
burned paper, even if it is not possible/practical to preserve the
original. Inks, graphite, etc. and paper have different temperatures of
ignition and some contrast is maintained as the paper burns.

Jack C. Thompson

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:50
                Distributed: Wednesday, January 12, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-50-002
Received on Sunday, 9 January, 1994

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