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Subject: Fire damaged books

Fire damaged books

From: Jeff Illingworth <baskets>
Date: Monday, August 7, 2000
Lindsay Helen <helen.lindsay [at] corpoflondon__gov__uk> writes

>We have forty 19th century parish registers with various amounts of
>fire damage. Some are also water damaged, but most not. All have
>paper text-blocks and there are a mixture of stiff-board parchment,
>leather and cloth covers. In general the text-blocks have survived
>with only minor charring around the edges, although the paper is
>brittle and some have darkened, especially at the edges. The boards,
>covering material and spine are very badly burnt throughout. Many
>covers have shrunk and are blackened, distorted, charred, brittle
>and are fragmented at the edges.

I have only moderate experience with the conservation of books.
However, I have done some work on fire damaged books, papers, and
textiles. One of the techniques which I have used with good results
is parylene conformal coating. I know that this technique has been
used on charred Torah's which survived the Holocaust. It has also
been used on burned evidence documents held by the American Federal
Bureau of Investigation. Probably the best person to contact
concerning its application is Bruce Humphry. He can be reached at

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to
contact me.

J. S. Illingworth
Analyst and Conservator
Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute
501 East 38th Street
Erie, PA  16546
Fax: 814-824-2594

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:12
                  Distributed: Friday, August 11, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-14-12-007
Received on Monday, 7 August, 2000

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