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Subject: Paige Miracle Box

Paige Miracle Box

From: Ellen McCrady <abbeypub>
Date: Tuesday, March 14, 1995
Lisa Mibach asked about the Paige Miracle Box, which is made of "virgin
kraft acid-free material."  This is a fudge phrase that seems intended
to cover up for the fact that it does contain lignin (otherwise it
wouldn't be brown) and doesn't contain a buffering material (otherwise
they would have mentioned it).  Virgin wood pulp is fine, but old
corrugated cartons recycle very nicely.  The fiber is improved by the
recycling process.  "Kraft" has two meanings: a) brown paper & board,
and b) the pulping process used for most printing and writing papers,
with bleaching as a routine second step. Almost all paper and board in
the U.S. is made by the kraft process.

The corrugated board is probably acid-free because it is not sized with
alum and rosin.  I understand that most corrugated board is manufactured
at a neutral pH.  So what they are telling you is that their boxes are
ordinary but unrecycled.

In fact, there are few alternatives to ordinary boxes. I store the back
issues of my newsletters in ordinary boxes, which I replace every 10
years or so for no particular reason.  High-density polyethylene boxes
like Linda Nainis uses, or polypropylene ones, or buffered boxes from an
archival supply house, are the only alternatives that I can think of.
Maybe boxes could be bought flat and sent for deacidification before
being put into use.

Wax is used generously on boxes that have to hold wet foodstuffs like
frozen chicken and lettuce, but I don't know why it would be used on
other boxes, except to keep the box from losing compressive strength and
crumpling on a loading dock (or in a storeroom) because of RH
fluctuations.  This is a big, common, problem, apparently unrelated to
aging effects.  But for protection of the material inside, the box will
do just as good a job if it is very absorbent.  The handholds in the
ends admit air freely in any case.

Ellen McCrady
Abbey Publications
7105 Geneva Dr.
Austin, TX  78723

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:76
                  Distributed: Sunday, March 19, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-76-002
Received on Tuesday, 14 March, 1995

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