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Subject: Conservation of toilets from shipwreck

Conservation of toilets from shipwreck

From: Nicola Smith <nicola.smith>
Date: Wednesday, June 17, 1998
In the December 1994 National Geographic (vol 186, no 6) there is an
article by Max Guerout on "The Wreck of the C.S.S. Alabama" which
sank in 1864. Some artifacts were raised from the shipwreck and
treated in conservation laboratories in Crownsville, Maryland and
France. Among the artifacts were 3 stoneware flush commodes. We have
2 very similar toilets from a shipwreck of similar age, 1865.

These toilets are composite objects of lead and glazed ceramic with
a flush made from copper, iron, lead, leather and wood. The toilets
are currently being desalinated in low chloride tap water
(approximate pH 5.5 - 6) using cathodic protection with impressed
current to further protect the lead.  However we still have some
lead corrosion occurring.  We would prefer not to use inhibitors in
the water as we are concerned that this may leave residues in the
ceramic.  We feel reluctant to disassemble the toilets as due their
construction, this is likely to cause damage.  We would like to
contact the conservators who worked on the C.S.S. Alabama toilets or
anyone else with similar experience, to discuss treatment options.

Nicki Smith
Conservator, Heritage Victoria
27 Francis St, Melbourne, 3000
61 2 9628 5755
Fax: 61 2 9628 5837

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:4
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 18, 1998
                        Message Id: cdl-12-4-023
Received on Wednesday, 17 June, 1998

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