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Subject: Mold


From: Martin Strebel <m.strebel>
Date: Monday, January 4, 1999
At present I have an incunabula in my workshop which is unique in
the world and which is damaged by mould. The last page consists of
fragments only and as a result of the mould some of the fragments
stick to the inside of the cover. Is there a way of removing these
extremely fragile fragments without causing any loss.

In the case of this incunabula loss would be particularly tragic
since the book is not available in any other library. The binding is
in full leather. I thought of freezing the places in question with
dry ice in order to crack the mould crust, or else deep freezing
followed by freeze drying as applied with water damaged objects.

Radiation with gamma rays represents a further possibility. This
treatment has been very helpful in a case where the pages of the
whole bulk stuck together as a result of mould. I had the book sent
to the University Library of Leipzig in Germany. This library had
started to treat a great many of their books affected by mould with
gamma radiation for health reasons. After the treatment the pages
could be separated by means of a Teflon spatula. Naturally, I am
well aware of the fact that gamma radiation can have a degrading
effect on organic material such as paper and leather. In the above
mentioned case, however, it was the only solution to save the six
volumes of a Diderot Encyclopedia.

Martin Strebel
Atelier fur Buch- und Papierrestaurierung
Bahnhofstrasse 15
CH - 5502 Hunzenschwil
+41 62 897 39 70 p
Fax: +41 62 897 00 46

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:56
                 Distributed: Tuesday, January 5, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-56-020
Received on Monday, 4 January, 1999

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