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Subject: Storing liquids

Storing liquids

From: George Brock-Nannestad <pattac<-at->
Date: Friday, March 8, 2013
Juli McLoone <juli.mcloone [at] gmail__com> writes

>Our department recently acquired the archive of a local flavoring
>extract company.  Included with the records are several original
>boxes containing glass bottles of numerous flavors of extracts, many
>of which have never been opened.  We need to decide whether to
>retain the liquids or open and dispose of all liquid prior to
>placing the collection in long-term storage. ...

I realise that this is far from what a book specialist would
normally come across.

The essence is the preservation of information for providing answers
to future questions that we cannot even imagine. For instance, the

>One further note that may be of importance: the company claims that
>its formulas have not changed in the past hundred years, so on one
>hand, retention of the liquid for possible future chemical
>analysis/reproduction doesn't seem necessary, but on the other hand
>it is not clear that they will/would actually provide us with the
>recipes for their extracts, and who can tell what will happen in the
>next hundred years?

is most important, because the raw materials available for the
manufacture of the extracts will in many cases have changed over the
years while retaining their trade name, so what we have here is a
window on the past, provided proper, modern and future, analysis is

The sealed bottles are obviously the most important to preserve, but
using archival quality plastic bags is not ensuring longevity. Glass
jars would be the vessels of preference, glass with ground glass
tapered stoppers or lids, no gaskets--the sealing would be by means
of a vacuum compound such as Glisseal, which does not contain
silicone oils or fats. Sadly, it will take up a bit of space, but
the essence is that the contents are not contaminated, nor able to
contaminate. In glass jars of this type, the collection of bottles
would survive a flooding. An alternative that only has few plastic
parts may be found in the Schott Duran GLS 80 series laboratory
glassware with PTFE gaskets.

Photo-documentation and consistent numbering will ensure that the
original place in the original boxes is traceable.

Take advice from a senior chemist (retired?) from the company
concerning the opened bottles and ensure that if any unsealed
bottles are to be kept, they are not represented by sealed bottles
of the same vintage. Also, that chemist might be good to give advice
on which bottles might be kept together to fill out the space
provided in the glass jars, so as to minimise waste of space.
Suitable filling material should be used to keep the sample bottles
separated from each other and the glass walls of the storage vessel.

You have here a much too infrequent collection of materials from our
industrial past, and it would be a pity to deliberately destroy part
of it because the present organisation may not be able to provide a
suitable environment--space-wise and economically. Thank you for
having reflected on the situation.

George Brock-Nannestad

                  Conservation DistList Instance 26:42
                 Distributed: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
                       Message Id: cdl-26-42-003
Received on Friday, 8 March, 2013

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