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Subject: Odor in architectural drawings

Odor in architectural drawings

From: Sarah Talley <stalley>
Date: Sunday, January 27, 2002
We have recently acquired a number of architectural drawings in a
variety of formats.  Mylar, vellum, diazos, etc. were all shoved in
folders together. Some of the drawings smell like old fish.  Where
it is present in a folder, the smell has permeated everything in
that folder, so I can't quite tell which format is the source of the

I've worked with items with "vinegar syndrome" and I know what
ammonia smells like, and this odor is different.  I have not worked
with nitrate, which I'm told smells like old socks.  I'm afraid I
lack the olfactory training and experience to identify the problem,
and I don't have access to many reference materials in my workplace.

This collection is being weeded and will air out a bit as the
overstuffed folders are sorted into smaller ones, so I think the
odor will dissipate. However, since it is probably a symptom of some
kind of deterioration process, it would be nice to ID the
odoriferous items and segregate them.

Sarah Talley
The Presidio Trust
Project Archivist
GGNRA, Park Archives and Records Center
Building 201, Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA  94123

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:54
                 Distributed: Tuesday, February 5, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-54-036
Received on Sunday, 27 January, 2002

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