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Subject: Cleaning lead type

Cleaning lead type

From: Simon Green <simongreen22<-a>
Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Alayne Alvis <alayne.alvis<-a t->sydney< . >edu< . >au> writes

>I have had an enquiry about cleaning lead type.  The person
>concerned is concerned about the toxicity inherent in any process
>that involves lead.  Would anyone with experience in this area be
>able to respond directly?

Is this a conservation question or a practical one for printing?

If it is a conservation question, what are you actually trying to
conserve? The implication is you or your correspondence wish to be
so efficient that the type is left as a pure alloy with no traces of
ink, oil, pigment, oxidation products etc.  However those are all
part of the history of the type, not exactly patina but do you
actually want as chemically clean as new type although it will be
mechanically worn? Oxidation will of course recommence at once
unless you protect the type and with what?

Whilst my area of knowledge is papermaking and not type, its seems
to me that for preservation purposes a vigorous dry brushing might
suffice as anything chemically based, including soapy water, may
take you in an unexpected direction.  Incidentally you do not
mention whether it is foundry type or monotype etc.  The chemical
composition of types vary enormously.  All components are poisonous
but whether they will harm you depends on whether you do something
to make them soluble or airborne.


gives information of chemical composition of some types of type.

If the correspondent want to clean the type to use it for printing,
then two of many reference easily found on the internet are given
below.  One includes an answer to toxicity but may not comply with
the editorial standards.



Simon Barcham Green

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:31
                Distributed: Thursday, February 6, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-31-004
Received on Thursday, 30 January, 2014

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